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“[The police] are a very real menace to every black cat alive in this country. And no matter how many people say, ‘You’re being paranoid when you talk about police brutality’ — I know what I’m talking about . . . It could happen to my mother in the morning, to my sister, to my brother… For me this has always been a violent country — it has never been a democracy.” — James Baldwin, 1969

I remember hearing about the story of James Byrd Jr. being lynched in Texas, on the brink of my adulthood in ‘98. I was…

Image made by artist Mike Middleton. See more of his work here:

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” — Angela Davis

This is the final part of the three-part series on the term “Anglo-Saxon.” Here you will find your starter pack on the term “Anglo-Saxon”. The bulk of this work is primarily from when the discussion of the term really started to take off in recent years. The pieces are also primarily open-access writings to make them accessible to the widest audience. I’ve largely excluded books unless they are discussed in this series. To help get you started with some online resources, I’ve compiled a list…

Image made by artist Mike Middleton. See more of his work here:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin

This is a continuation of the three-part series on the term “Anglo-Saxon.” To view part one which provides a synopsis of the problematic term “Anglo-Saxon” go here. To view part three for a biblio and useful links go here. Part two is a compilation of common questions about the term and rebuttals that you can use and build on. Think of this as a work in progress that we are all contributing to.

Part 2 of 3


Isn’t this…

Image made by artist Mike Middleton. See more of his work here:

“We have to work with what bites into our existence.” — Stuart Hall

Welcome to your three-part series and list of resources on a very special topic close to my heart: the term “Anglo-Saxon.”

This is meant to be a resource and can be used as a cheat-sheet to teach with and/or learn from. As historians (in the broad sense of linguistic, literary, and material cultural), we often study the past to try and make sense of today’s world. In our quest, sometimes we discover our scholarly forefathers (or otherwise) were wrong in their conclusions. We update our scholarship based…

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

*This list was compiled by Dr. Erik Wade & Dr. MRO. The authors in the first list are organized chronologically to emphasize that the field of Early Medieval Studies has benefited from and built on the work of race scholars in Early Modern Studies, particularly Black women, for decades. These scholars have often been erased, but they are finally being given the recognition they deserve. The second list below entitled “Other Essential Readings” offers a list of foundational Critical Race scholars. We truly are standing on the shoulders of giants as we continue this important work. …

The side panels are from a manuscript image of the earliest known depictions of the Bubonic Plague. From 1349 the images reveal people carrying coffins of those who died of the illness in Tournai, a city in what is now Belgium. I added the center image as a continuation of the ‘Black Death’ throughout history. The center image is a young Black woman protesting in Minneapolis in response to the murder of #GeorgeFloyd. Center image courtesy: Obi Onyeader @thenewmalcom at unsplash.

(A condensed version of this essay is also available at the blog here)

In trying to understand our present day and the world that will come out of COVID-19, many people are drawing parallels between this current pandemic and the Black Death (also known as the Bubonic Plague) that began in the mid-1300s in Asia and peaked in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa from 1347 to 1351.[1] According to medical geneticist Professor Mark Achtman, the disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis “evolved in or near China” and transmission depended on flea vectors to carry and transmit…

Medievalists have been interrogating the history of the field, how it is structured, and, in recent years, querying the field’s survival in academia. Like most other disciplines, medieval studies is infected with racism, sexism, bigotry, and exclusion which corrupts the field and hinders scholars and scholarly output. I have written about how my own subfield of early English studies is grappling with racism and gatekeeping; and, in separate pieces I queried the use, relevance (co-authored by Prof. Matthew Gabriele), and accuracy of the term ‘Anglo-Saxon.’

As scholars, we know terminology is important, and it is becoming increasingly clear that ‘…

The first time I read Beowulf, I was hooked. Set against an ominous backdrop, the flawed hero immortalized for his pride just as much as his courage piqued my interest along with the complexity and foreignness of the archaic language in which the poem is told. It’s like that for a lot of us: One spark starts our journey into academe. That was nearly two decades ago. Today I am one of the only active scholars of color specializing in Early medieval England* in the native-English speaking world. I’ve struggled to prove my worth as a scholar, as my skin…

M. Rambaran-Olm

Literary Historian. Palaeographer. Antiracist Activist. Dual Citizen. WoC. Resident of the 5th Circle of Hell. Lover of 80s cartoons. Twitter: @isasaxonists

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