Community Engagement

Image of knight and tailgate tent with banners at 2018 Medieval Institute tailgate
Join us (and maybe our knightly friend!) for Medieval Institute Tailgating each fall

How does the Medieval Institute engage with the community?

At the Medieval Institute we are committed to bringing the Middle Ages not just to campus but into our local community (and beyond!) through our Medieval Studies Research Blog, special gameday gatherings in the fall, our partnership with South Bend's Adams High School, activities at the St. Joe County Public Library, and public-facing roundtables across the academic year.

Why do the Middle Ages Matter?

The Middle Ages profoundly shaped the modern world! The years between the end of the Roman Empire and the start of the Renaissance (roughly 500 to 1500 A.D.) witnessed the birth of our modern love song; the invention of spectacles and mechanical clocks and new ways of maritime navigation; the rise of the university and representative assemblies; the creation of masterful illuminated manuscripts; and the establishment of hospitals.

Many theologians and thinkers who are still deeply influential—whether Thomas Aquinas, Moses Maimonides, or al-Ghazali—flourished then; and many of our most beautiful buildings—the gothic Cathedral in Chartres, the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Sinagoga del Tránsito in Toledo—were built then.

Gameday Tailgates

Read more about our exciting fall gameday tailgates:

September '21: "Medieval Combat Lecture and Demonstration Thrill and Delight"

September '21: "Falcons and Hawks Visit Notre Dame for Medieval Institute Tailgate" and featured in Notre Dame Magazine's "Held Aloft: The noble medieval discipline of falconry still thrives, but the modern world threatens the regal birds"

October '21: "Persian Rock-Crystal Vase, German Prayer Book, and Italian Devotional House: what do these objects tell us about the Middle Ages?"

October '21: "Thor's Swordsmith Brings Forge and Fire to MI Tailgate"

October '21: "Boo! Ghost Stories and Pumpkin Decorating Bring Seasonal Fun to MI Tailgate"

November '21: "Gold-Covered Boarshead and Meat Paste Castles: Final Tailgate of the Semester Offers a Taste of Medieval Feasts"

Community Roundtables

October '21: "Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Justin Hicks Moderates 75th Anniversary Roundtable "Post-Pandemic Labor Markets"

Nov '21: "The Common Good and the Creation of the Cosmos: MI Home Game Activities Provoke Discussion on Big Ideas"

John Adams High School Course

In our "Why the Middle Ages Matter" course in Spring '22, led by our Public Humanities Fellow Dr. Annie Killian, scholars from the Medieval Institute will guest-teach at South Bend's John Adams High School on three series of topics: Medieval Empires, Religions, & Cultural Encounters; Education & Governance; and Literature & Culture. Students will learn about medieval innovations that impact their lives today, be introduced to diverse methods of historical research, and engage in the material culture of the Middle Ages, both through digital collections and through visits to the Snite Museum of Art, the Notre Dame Basilica, and the Hesburgh Libraries' Rare Books and Special Collections.