Medieval Self-Fashioning: The Middle Ages in African-American Scholarship and Curricula

  • Matthew X. Vernon
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In this chapter, Vernon follows how the political purchase of the Middle Ages could be marshaled to renegotiate the terms of belonging in the nation in ways that planted intercultural contact and fusion within the core of American identity. While white Americans often read the Anglo-Saxon period as an era of purity interrupted by the Norman invasion, these African-American scholars read the hyphen; they focused on the Middle Ages as a period of racial mixing and political possibility between Angles, Saxons, and Normans. Vernon then offers a historical reading of archival materials charting the earliest writing about and teaching of the Middle Ages among African-American intellectuals. He reveals how the philological approach that was important to early medieval research could be wielded to the political ends of African-American education, in particular as a set of tools for understanding African-American history through linguistic study.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew X. Vernon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, DavisDavisUSA

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