The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Medieval Studies – A Global Digital Medievalist Symposium

The era of COVID-19 has been transformational for medieval digital humanities. Medievalists have come to learn the limits and possibilities of online scholarship, whether in the virtual classroom or in the transfer of knowledge among specialists. Although direct access to material sources and the easy face-to-face exchanges with colleagues are deeply missed, we have come to understand that digitally-inflected scholarship can be more economical, more global, and –in limited ways– more equitable for many medievalists. And because we have come to this inflection point, members of the Digital Medievalist Board are launching a conference series that marks this turn and aims to build upon what we have learned.

Our theme, The Past, Present and Future of Medieval Digital Studies is both retrospective and prospective in scope, bringing digital medievalist practitioners into conversation with each other as we step into a new scholarly environment where digital methods take on a new importance.

Our new global awareness has inspired us to plan three conference dates, each of which is aligned with a geographic space and accommodates scholars from three time zones grouped as The Americas, Asia & Oceania, and Europe & Africa. 

The Americas conversation, Images and Imaging, will take place on Monday, 24 May 2021. The goal of this conference is to reflect on how access to images — whether limited or open — has shaped how medievalists in the Americas have worked in the past and the present, as well as how they may do so in the future. Register here for the Americas event.

The Asia & Oceania conversation, Digital Transformations, will take place on Friday, June 11 2021, and it will aim to offer a fresh perspective for digital medievalists, since the Middle Ages and the scheme of historical periodisation that applies to Europe has little relevance to the historical timelines which unfolded in Asia and the region of Oceania. This panel seeks to offer a small taste of activities undertaken in the sphere of scholarship broadly termed digital humanities, and to introduce new topics and questions to our Digital Medievalist audience. Register here for the Asia & Oceania event.

The Europe & Africa conversation, Diving Into Sources, will take place on Monday, June 21 2021. For medievalists worldwide, digital media has fundamentally changed the way how we access our sources and work with them: digital editing, digital imaging, databases, text mining and visualisation are but some keywords that have gained relevance over the last decades and have influenced and inspired new research directions in the field. This conference is dedicated to reflecting on the past, present and future of medieval studies and its transformation thanks to these methodologies. Register here for the Europe & Asia event.

For more information on all three strands, please visit the symposium home page.