WLC seminar today Wednesday 18 May 12n

Our May seminar features a presentation from

Dr Kavita Mudan Finn (Independent Scholar) & Dr Helen Young (Deakin University).

When: Wednesday 18 May from 12.00 noon to 1.00 pm.


Join Zoom Meeting https://deakin.zoom.us/j/85174357341?pwd=MnRYZTMzd0tOZUNrUVJQc2JiTXBmdz09 

Meeting ID: 851 7435 7341 Password: 52525390

Title: “Global medievalism and popular fiction: reimagining the future through the past


Popular culture medievalisms typically represent the European Middle Ages as muddy, bloody, and overwhelmingly white. In doing this, they re-tell a story about the past that has served imperial, colonial and racist power and ideology for centuries. Geraldine Heng theorises a ‘global Middle Ages’ that resists imperialism, colonialism, and racism by decentring Europe, disrupting European temporalities, and deconstructing the raced spatiotemporalities of ‘medieval’. This paper draws on Heng and others’ arguments to theorise ‘global medievalism’ as a mode of counterstorytelling. It argues that there are two major modes of global medievalism in contemporary popular culture: the first decentres Europe and whiteness; the second deconstructs a canonical Eurocentric narrative or metanarrative. The two modes are explored through discussion of historical fiction and fantasy novels, including: Skraelings: a Novel of the Old Arctic (2014), by Inuit authors Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley and fantasy Arthurian-retelling Legendborn (2020) by Tracey Deonn.


Dr Helen Young and Dr Kavita Mudan Finn are co-authors of Global Medievalism in Popular Culture: an Introduction, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Kavita Mudan Finn has taught literature, history, and gender studies at MIT, Georgetown, George Washington University, the University of Maryland College Park, and Simmons University. Her first book, The Last Plantagenet Consorts: Gender, Genre, and Historiography, 1440–1627, was published in 2012 and her work has appeared in Viator, Shakespeare, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Critical Survey, The Journal of Fandom Studies, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and a range of edited volumes. Helen Young is a lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. Helen’s current research interests include histories of race and racism, medievalism, and far-Right extremist fictions. She has recently published in postmedieval, Literature Compass, Game Studies and Continuum.