Toward a Global Middle Ages: A Modern, Inclusive Process

Sponsored by The Getty

Recorded on 12/30/2019
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 105

Building a diverse contributor pool requires intentionality and—as Bryan Keene of the J. Paul Getty Museum discovered—a number of different perspectives to point out limitations, blind spots, and oversights. In this episode, Keene explains how he ensured Toward a Global Middle Ages is as inclusive as possible. Peer reviewers played crucial roles in suggesting diverse scholars and works, as did Keene’s own colleagues at the Getty. Thanks to the combined effort of his team of designers, editors, and his rights coordinator, Keene compiled manuscripts from every corner of the world from a host of unique backgrounds. Keene describes the practicalities of organizing such an exhaustive book, such as formatting the impressively-long reference list, standardizing spellings of titles across languages, and choosing which dating conventions were most appropriate for a volume that looked beyond European time lines.

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: