We are pleased to announce Meeting in the Middle Ages, the Medieval Institute’s new podcast. The goal of the podcast is to answer the questions "what do medievalists do, and how do they do it?" Episodes—a new one each month—are built around informal conversations between our hosts, the Medieval Institute's own Will Beattie and Ben Pykare, and medievalist scholars and graduate students from around the world. Will and Ben will discuss with their guests how they became medievalists, what led them to their current research, the resources they use, and how they use them.
While other podcasts about the medieval world look at specific topics, from Byzantine battle-formations to Viking voting patterns, Meeting in the Middle Ages will peer behind the curtain to see what the academic lives of medievalists are like.
Will and Ben are both Ph.D. candidates in Medieval Studies at Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute.
Will studies the development of apocalyptic vernacular preaching in early medieval England, particularly through anonymous texts. Will hopes that the podcast will resonate with the general public by shedding light on the work that humanities scholars do, and that it also will be a useful tool for early career researchers and those considering graduate school. "In an environment where everyone is so focused on their own field, it's nice to have the chance to sit down and really learn about the work going on in other areas of medieval studies," he says. "I've learned so much already about how to improve my research: questions I can ask, resources I can use, and approaches I can take."
Ben studies mysticism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the late medieval period, examining competing political and religious claims, mutual influences, and shared spaces. He hopes that Meeting in the Middle Ages will impart some of the excitement and fascination that leads students and scholars to the field: "We want to share with others the wonders of all things medieval." Ben also expects that listeners will appreciate how the podcast illuminates the personal side of Medieval Studies. "In any professional setting," he says, "it's easy to forget that everyone around you has a unique story that led them to that place. Our podcast seeks to make top-notch medievalists and their ideas accessible and intelligible to the broadest audience possible. Selfishly, these conversations remind me that everyone started from somewhere: the experts I meet were once novices."
Meeting in the Middle Ages is sponsored by the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame and supported by the Medieval Academy of America’s Graduate Student Committee through their Community Building Award. Special thanks to Dr. Tom Burman and Dr. Megan J. Hall for their work to help launch and sustain Meeting in the Middle Ages.