The study of the Middle Ages in every aspect of the modern liberal arts—the humanities, STEM, and the social sciences—has significant importance for society and the individual. There is a common belief that the peoples of the past were somehow exempt from (positive, especially) human nature, had less of a sense of morality (by any definition) than we do now, or were unaware of basic human dilemmas or triumphs. Relegating the Middle Ages to "primitive" distances us from close examination of what has not changed in society—or what has, which might not be for the better. Exploring and exploding these (mis)conceptions is essential to experience the benefits of a liberal education.
Introduction: The Middle Ages and the Liberal Arts
Chapter 1: The Middle Ages and the Humanities
Chapter 2: The Middle Ages and STEM
Chapter 3: The Middle Ages and the Social Sciences
Chapter 4: The Significance of Studying the Middle Ages
Conclusion: The Connections Among the Arts
Why Study the Middle Ages? is an inspired and inspiring read. It exudes an infectious kind of enthusiasm about how medievalists’ work can be enhanced by, and can enhance, diversity studies and disability studies, and thus it is bound to bring about new and different audiences for the study of medieval culture. It is well balanced when it comes to appreciating presentist and pastist perspectives, and it understands that faith and religion need to remain part of a convincing and responsible future medieval studies. Finally, it practices what it preaches about the need for a globally inclusive medieval studies by adducing global medieval and postmedieval sources and research throughout. Therefore, I recommend it warmly as a vademecum to colleagues who teach introductory courses as well as to all those looking for practical ideas about how to add diversity and disability modules to their courses.~Richard Utz, Perspicuitas: Internet-Periodicum für mediävistische Sprach-, Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft (2023)