Why Study the Middle Ages?


It is so interesting how different things are looked at in the medieval time period versus when you start to actually learn about it and realize that not everything was how it was interpreted in movies and books.
Jorjia Tsilibocos

This practice drives home the idea that the Middle Ages is not some fantasy land of knights, rape, and alchemy, but instead just other humans before our time experiencing life just as we are today.
Kolby Beauvais

It is baffling to me in this day and age that many people believe that people of color can not be portrayed in Medieval times. This goes along with disabled people within Medieval times.
Chris Shaddock

I always pictured the Middle Ages as this time of castles, knights, and nobles that would wage these large conflicts against one another in the name of their king. But after reading the chapters of “Why Study the Middle Ages” I found out that most of my perceptions were nothing more than the over romanticized ones that everyone thinks of. It turns out that people in the Middle Ages didn’t act that much differently from us. These chapters really helped to inform and give me an accurate understanding of what the Middle Age era was actually like. It also showed me that they were just like any other people during any other era when it came to developing and growing. It helped me come to realize how important it is to know the context of the information before accepting it as a fact.
Amzie Hinkley

Instead of the world being full of crime, knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, and constant war, the Middle Ages was full of literature, progressive thinking, and learning. They were going through life just like we are now, just at a different time. It is very important to learn about this so that we can truly understand our ancestors and the ways that they were thinking as many of the ideas that we have today were based on the thoughts and beliefs of people in the Middle Ages.
Orion Daily

It was very cool to read something that basically picks apart the uneducated narrative that the Middle Ages was an all white person period of fighting and no development.
Andrew Rice

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.

Kisha G. Tracy is Associate Professor of English Studies and Chair of the General Education Program Area at Fitchburg State University, USA.

Additional resources:

Past Imperfect – Arc Book Series
Teaching in the Middle Ages – Arc Book Series
Significance of Studying the Middle Ages – Facebook Group
Significance of Studying the Middle Ages – Presentation