MAA News – From the President

Dear Colleagues,

As my term as President of the Medieval Academy of America is coming to a close, I look back at a year that was challenging in many respects. You all know what these challenges were and are. Our Executive Director Lisa Fagin Davis and I have addressed many of them in our columns and direct messages to you. We started new initiatives and offered a number of targeted webinars (all archived on our website) in response to some of these challenges. All of us also had to reinvent ourselves as virtual beings for this past year and probably for many months to come. Everything – teaching, research, communicating, just doing our jobs and caring for our families – became more difficult. But all this time you never lost sight of what matters, so at this moment I want to focus on the positive aspects of our profession. Yes, Medieval Studies are embattled, yes, we seem to be an endangered species, but we also are extremely resilient, productive, and versatile. Take a look at the fantastic program of the upcoming MAA annual meeting, take a look at the Kalamazoo and Leeds programs, and you can see the enthusiasm, curiosity, and persistence that keep us medievalists going. It’s impossible to give even a sampling of the variety of topics we see here and of the wide range of perspectives that you have adopted in order to explore and understand the many centuries that make up the middle ages. The latest issue of Speculum alone has over seventy book reviews, testifying not only to the creativity of the book authors but also to the generosity of the reviewers, who take their colleagues’ work seriously and help us choose among the hundreds of titles that appear every year. For our time is limited. This has become clear to me like never before during this pandemic. I am looking forward to seeing many of your virtual selves at the annual meeting next week and then in person at UVA in 2022.

Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski
President, Medieval Academy of America

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