Coronation as Legible Practice
Essays in Medieval Studies, vol. 13 (1996)
We medievalists are more complacent about our crossdisciplinarity than we have any right to be. To be sure, we are unique among academic fields in the extent to which our journals (such as Speculum) and our conferences (Medieval Academy, Medieval Institute) foster cross-disciplinary encounter. But such encounters are more often “shoulder to shoulder” than “face to face.” We most often read the article or attend the paper in “our field” without actually leaving the security of our disciplinary home (with historians, for example, returning to their “sources” and literary people to their “text”). Such are the emotional and material comforts of the disciplinary home that little explanation need be offered for the academic reluctance to leave it, or, leaving it, the disposition for a prompt return. The question, rather, is how the more adventurous (but more fraught and less rewarding) state of interdisciplinarity is to be sustained against the constant temptation of a return to more familiar environs.