Recent Trends in the Study of the Middle Ages

Recent Trends in the Study of the Middle Ages

By Giles Constable

Annual of Medieval Studies at CEU, vol. 15 (2009)

Introduction: My talk this afternoon looks both backwards and forwards: backwards to the tradition of medieval studies and the influence of new approaches and methodologies in the second half of the twentieth century – my own professional lifetime – and forwards, more briefly and tentatively, to what appear to be the directions in which medieval studies are moving, both in Europe and in America. I shall not discuss other parts of the world, though interesting work is being done by medievalists elsewhere, as in Japan and Australia.

I shall concentrate on the history of medieval religion and religious life, in part because it illustrates some of the most striking developments and changes in medieval studies and in part because the CEU has made notable contributions in this field. It is also, I should admit, the area I know best and in which much of my own research has been done. You will forgive me, I hope, if I draw at places in my talk on my own experience and on a paper that I presented recently in England on the study of medieval religious life and spirituality.

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