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Black Legacies looks at color-based prejudice in medieval and modern texts in order to reveal key similarities. Bringing far-removed time periods into startling conversation, this book argues that certain attitudes and practices present in Europe’s Middle Ages were foundational in the development of the western concept of race.

Using historical, literary, and artistic sources, Lynn Ramey shows that twelfth- and thirteenth-century discourse was preoccupied with skin color and the coding of black as “evil” and white as “good.” Ramey demonstrates that fears of miscegenation show up in all medieval European societies. She pinpoints these same ideas in the rhetoric of later centuries. Mapmakers and travel writers of the colonial era used medieval lore of “monstrous peoples” to question the humanity of indigenous New World populations, and medieval arguments about humanness were employed to justify the slave trade. Ramey even analyzes how race is explored in films set in medieval Europe, revealing an enduring fascination with the Middle Ages as a touchstone for processing and coping with racial conflict in the West today.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. List of Figures
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. 1. Remaking the Middle Ages
  2. pp. 7-24
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  1. 2. Medieval Race?
  2. pp. 25-38
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  1. 3. Biblical Race
  2. pp. 39-63
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  1. 4. Medieval Miscegenation and the Literary Imagination
  2. pp. 64-88
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  1. 5. Mapping the Monstrous: Humanness in the Age of Discovery
  2. pp. 89-110
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  1. 6. Conclusions: Medieval Race and the “Golden Age”
  2. pp. 111-126
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 127-152
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 153-166
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 167-177
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813055046
MARC Record
OCLC
892799284
Pages
192
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-30
Language
English
Open Access
No
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