The period categories “medieval” and “modern” emerged with—and have long served to define and legitimate—the projects of western European imperialism and colonialism. The idea of “the medieval globe” is therefore double edged. On the one hand, it runs the risk of reconfirming the terms of the colonial, Orientalist history through which the “medieval” emerged, thus homogenizing the plural temporalities of global cultures and effacing the material effects of the becoming of the Middle Ages and its relationship to conditions of globalization. On the other hand, “the medieval globe” brings to bear a comparative focus that does not ask when and why a given culture did or did not start making the shift toward modernity, but rather asks what was going on at a given period throughout the globe. Such a history might undo the foundational narratives of European nations as well as give space to hitherto slighted histories. This conversation approaches the complexities of this problem from two perspectives: that of a scholar in European studies and a scholar in Chinese studies.
Davis, Kathleen and Puett, Michael
"Periodization and “The Medieval Globe”: A Conversation,"
The Medieval Globe: Vol. 2
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/tmg/vol2/iss1/3