Introduction: Early Medieval Studies in Twenty-First-Century America

  • Celia Chazelle
  • Felice Lifshitz
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


When the University of North Carolina administration commissioned a study of humanities teaching at UNC in the early 1940s, it turned to Loren MacKinney, the author of a book on European medicine between 600 and 1100—the “early medieval” period, as he designated it—to lead the project.1 Published in 1945, the review eloquently pleaded for the importance of a humanities curriculum, ascribing to it the power to prevent dictatorship, among other attributes.2 In 1943, Charles Rufus Morey, founder of the Index of Christian Art (1917) and chair of Princeton’s Department of Art and Archaeology from 1924 to 1945, who had also published in early medieval European history, joined other scholars of the humanities at the symposium, “Approaches to World Peace,” to explore how their disciplines could foster international unity. An article Morey subsequently published in 1944, amidst “the horrors of the present war,” predicted that “medieval culture will play its part in the formation of a new humanism, as custodian of values whose worth becomes more clear as the disaster of modern materialism develops the fullness of its catastrophe.”3 Morey spoke in glowing terms of the state of medieval art history in the United States, praising such specialists of the early Middle Ages as George H. Forsyth, Kenneth John Conant, and Richard Krautheimer.


Sixth Century Eleventh Century Baltic Amber Late Antiquity Early Century 


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© Celia Chazelle and Felice Lifshitz 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Celia Chazelle
  • Felice Lifshitz

There are no affiliations available

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