MemberGeraldine Heng

Geraldine Heng is Perceval Professor of English and Comparative Literature, with a joint appointment in Middle Eastern studies and Women’s studies.   Heng’s research focuses on literary, cultural, and social encounters between worlds, and webs of exchange and negotiation between communities and cultures, particularly when transacted through issues of gender, race, sexuality, and religion.  She is especially interested in medieval Europe’s discoveries and rediscoveries of Asia and Africa.   Her first book, Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy (Columbia UP, 2003, 2004, 2012), traces the development of a medieval  literary genre—European romance, and, in particular, the King Arthur legend—in response to the traumas of the crusades and crusading history, and Europe’s myriad encounters with the East.   Her second book, The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (Cambridge UP, March 2018), questions the common assumption that race and racisms only began in the modern era.  Examining Europe’s encounters with Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Mongols, and the Romani (“Gypsies”) from the 12th through 15th centuries, the book shows how racial thinking, racial law, racial practices, and racial phenomena existed in Europe before a recognizable vocabulary of race emerged in the West.   Analyzing sources in a variety of media, including stories, maps, statuary, illustrations, architectural features, history, saints’ lives, religious commentary, laws, political and social institutions, economic relations, and literature, the book argues that religion—so much in play again today—enabled the positing of fundamental differences among humans that created strategic essentialism to mark off human groups and populations for radicalized treatment.  The volume also shows how race figured in the emergence of homo europaeus and the identity of Western Europe in this time.   Heng’s third (short) book, England and the Jews: How Religion and Violence Created the First Racial State in the West, also with Cambridge, is currently in production.   She is completing a fourth book: Early Globalities: The Interconnected World, 500-1500 CE.     Heng is editor of an MLA Options for Teaching volume on the Global Middle Ages, and co-editor, with Susan Noakes, of the 40-volume Cambridge University Press Elements series on the Global Middle Ages, as well as co-editor, with Ayanna Thompson, of the Penn University Press series on early critical race studies.   Heng is also founder and director of the Global Middle Ages Project (G-MAP):   For more of her work, see her page at:   Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}  

MemberJames Maertens

I am about five foot nine inches, about 40 lbs. overweight, thinning hair, gray beard, with a wide assortment of debilitating medical conditions.  My hair is about brown in color and I am about fifty-seven years of age.  Mentally, about seventeen.  My work as Dean of Creative Writing and History of Magic at Bardwood is characterized by a great deal of thinking and reading, especially in the field of history of magic, boarding school stories, nineteenth-century Brit Lit. and philosophy.  I am at present celebrating my tenth year as a Free Mason and soon to be retired Secretary for Lake Harriet Lodge No. 277 A.F. & A.M. in Minnesota.  I’m a practicing druid, which means I spend a lot of time bathing in the spirits of the trees, the birds, and the animals; and that I confer regularly with elves and other otherworld beings.  My head is most often to be found in the clouds (or vice versa) and my lap under Minerva, my tabby cat and too-familiar familiar.  My favorite color is aquamarine blue and my favorite Harry Potter character is Luna Lovegood.  My favorite poet is either Keats or Yeats (they have to work it out between them), and my favorite nineteenth century novelist is Jane Austen, followed by Anthony Trollope.  I’m quite a fan of Thomas Hardy too, but its hard not to get depressed by his endings sometimes.  My favorite author of magical fantasy is Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.  I can identify very strongly with Mr. Norrell. (Not that I wear a wig.) (Not usually.)