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Thoughts About Taxonomies: Whether the term 'Anglo-Saxon' works anymore and what changing it means for Medieval Studies

September 18, 2017
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM
Rossell Hope Robbins Library, Rush Rhees Library (4th Floor)

Sarah Higley
University of Rochester

This talk, which I hope will become a discussion between students and faculty who contribute to the strength of medieval studies here at the UR, is less about the drama surrounding the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS) held at Hawai'i this summer (followed by the horror of Charlottesville) and more about the merits of rethinking how we categorize periods and peoples we study. The Anglo-Saxons wrote both English and Latin; their prominent writers didn't all of them live in England. Nor did they call themselves "Anglo-Saxon." They identified as "Englisc." What cultural events drive taxonomy and naming; when is it appropriate to question terms, boundaries between, and classification of eras; and how may doing so enrich our study of a broader Middle Ages? 

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