Toward a Global Middle Ages: “All Maps Are Inherently Political”

Sponsored by The Getty

Recorded on 12/16/2019
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 103

Is it possible to pull apart the Eurocentric perspective long cast upon the Middle Ages to not only include, but focus on other parts of the globe? Bryan Keene of the J. Paul Getty Museum certainly thinks so. In this episode, Keene discusses how contributors used illustrated manuscripts as a tether to dive into the medieval period in his monumental edited volume Toward a Global Middle Ages. Using broad terms like “the book,” “identity,” or “itineraries” as a guide, this work breaks out of its art history concentration to include the multidisciplinary perspectives of its many contributors, and redefines the word “medieval” to establish a fresh, modern take on the Middle Ages.


About the guest:

Bryan C. Keene
Associate Curator
J. Paul Getty Museum

Bryan C. Keene is the associate curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He specializes in Italian manuscript illumination and the global Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the nexus of Afro-Eurasian book culture, portable objects, and materials. His edited volume Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts is available from Getty Publications (2019). He is currently working on exhibitions about Indigenous traditions of storytelling in the Americas, the fantasy of the Middle Ages, and on queer medievalisms. He began his career at the Getty in the Education Department and cares deeply about teaching and interacting with visitors. Keene holds a PhD from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London and is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University.


Listen to the rest of the series: