History Brown Bag Seminar: Thu 1 Sept, 1-2pm AEST

Professor Megan Cassidy-Welch, “Emotional baggage: early thirteenth-century crusading and the mobility of feeling”.

In both military and spiritual terms, crusading was a mobile activity. Always associated with the practice of pilgrimage, crusading also involved more intangible forms of travel and connection. Memory and emotion, in particular, were significant ‘interior’ aspects of crusading as crusaders located themselves in a multitemporal environment, imagining themselves as part of an eschatological project that brought together sacred and earthly time. Crusaders thought they were new Maccabees, using biblical exemplars to justify and express the activity of holy war while, over the course of the twelfth century, they also connected their activities with those of their crusading forebears. A large literature on crusade and memory now recognises the power and importance of remembering during this time. More recently, insights from the history of emotions have drawn attention to the many ways in which the crusades were not only fought, resisted and remembered, but also felt. This paper will consider the early thirteenth-century crusades as formative moments in the history of medieval emotions and its connections with mobility. I concentrate on the emotional register of papal crusade calls together with representations of emotion in crusade sermons and Latin narratives. My suggestion is that reading the crusades through an emotional lens also helps us to understand ‘religious mobility’ as a category of analysis that entails not just physical and intellectual movement, but also the movement of feeling. 

Megan Cassidy-Welch is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Director of the Medieval and Early modern Studies program at the Australian Catholic University. Her research is in the broad area of thirteenth-century social and cultural history, most recently the history and memory of the crusades. Her most recent book is War and Memory at the time of the Fifth Crusade (Penn State UP 2019) and she has another book in press entitled Crusades and Violence (Amsterdam UP 2022). She is currently developing a new project on a global history of the crusades. Megan has held positions as head of school at Monash University and the University of Queensland, and in the dim dark past was also once a lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Melbourne.

Registration details: The Brown Bag Seminars will be held in Arts West North Wing-453, University of Melbourne. We will also be streaming the session live on Zoom here. For queries, please contact Annabelle Baldwin.