About this Research Topic
Deciphering Secrets presents novel digital approaches, techniques, and interdisciplinary findings that explore the European Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries) and their connections to other regions of the globe. We believe that pioneering uses of technology to appraise medieval history will unearth new ways of approaching scholarship as well as fresh, unexpected insights. We seek original research that employs digital mediums to evaluate and describe the tensions, fluctuations, and continuities that characterized the medieval world. These include, but are not limited to, bursts of European connectivity to the Islamic Mediterranean, the Asian East, and sub-Saharan Africa; Europe’s political fragmentation and powerful desires for consolidation; distinct cultural, ethnic, and linguistic identities and communities; the regionalization of economic life that was peppered with international exchange and trade; Christianization of the continent, suspicion of heresies, and tenuous interreligious relations; and flashes of intellectual effervescence and administrative complexity.
Crucial to our work is an emphasis on the investigation and analysis of previously underutilized primary sources. The medieval world still lives on in vellum and paper manuscripts, paintings and works of art, timeworn streets and stone structures, and material culture crafted from precious stones and metals. Each substance communicating the secrets, beliefs, values, hopes, and concerns of many peoples and cultures. As such, we challenge scholars to re-animate medieval life using imaginative combinations of primary sources to compile a new understanding of social, political, cultural, religious, economic, geographic, and environmental dynamics.
We encourage the experimental, untested, and liberated use of digital technologies with the hope of melding the humanities, computer sciences, geographic, environmental, and social sciences in unexpected ways. Our collective endeavor is to showcase new representations of medieval history that speak to the full range of human senses, intellect, and emotions, which have substantive implications for researchers as well as educators. Any application of digital methods and technology are welcome.
Keywords: medieval, Middle Ages, history, Europe, Africa, sub-Saharan, Asia, China, Japan, America, Oceania, global, world, manuscripts, architecture, material culture, GIS, visualization, database, pedagogy, games, identity, religion, philosophy, culture, church, trade, economics, warfare, kingdom, kingship, nobility, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism
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