M. Rambaran-Olm
7 min readJul 18, 2020


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. Please use and share this list freely and widely, and we will continue to update it.

Recommended Readings for Early Medieval Studies:

1994. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker. Women, ‘Race’ and Writing in the Early Modern Period. (Routledge).

1995. Kim F. Hall. Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England. (Cornell University Press).

1996. Margo Hendricks. “‘Obscured by Dreams’: Race, Empire, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 1, 1996, pp. 37–60.

1998. Jacqueline de Weever. Sheba’s Daughters: Whitening and Demonizing the Saracen Woman in Medieval French Epic. (Routledge).

2001. Sue Niebrzydowski. “The sultana and her sisters: black women in the British Isles before 1530.” Women’s History Review, 10:2, 187–210.

2002. Toni Morrison. “Grendel and His Mother.” Lecture at University of Toronto. Published in Mouth Full of Blood: Essays, Speeches, Meditations. (Chatto & Windus, 2019), 255–262. Published in the US as The Source of Self-Regard: Essays, Speeches, Meditations. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2019).

2005. Ananya Jahanara Kabir and Deanne Williams, eds. Postcolonial Approaches to the European Middle Ages: Translating Cultures. (Cambridge University Press).

2006. Kofi Omoniyi Sylvanus Campbell. Literature and Culture in The Black Atlantic: From Pre- to Postcolonial. (Palgrave MacMillan).

2006. Kim F. Hall. Othello: Texts and Contexts. (St. Martin’s Press).

2006. Ayanna Thompson, ed. Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance. (Routledge).

2008. Barbara Lalla. Postcolonialism. Caribbean Rereading of Medieval English Discourse. (University of West Indies Press).

2008. Imtiaz Habib, Black Lives in the English Archives, 1500–1677: Imprints of the Invisible. (Ashgate).

2008. Ayanna Thompson. Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage. (London: Routledge).

2009. Kathleen Davis and Nadia Altschul, eds. Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of ‘the Middle Ages’ Outside Europe. (Johns Hopkins University Press).

2009. Shelley P. Haley. “Be Not Afraid of the Dark: Critical Race Theory and Classical Studies.” In Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies, ed. Laura Nasrallah and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. (Fortress Press, 2009), 27–49.

2009. Michael R. Kightley. ‘Racial Anglo-Saxonisms: From Scholarship to Fiction in England, 1850–1960.’ Dissertation, University of Western Ontario, London ON.

2010. David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds. The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II: From the Early Christian Era to the ‘Age of Discovery.’ 2 parts (Belknap).

2012. Michael R. Kightley. ‘Hereward the Dane and the English, but Not the Saxon: Kingsley’s Racial Anglo-Saxonism.’ Studies in Medievalism 21: 89–119.

2015. Cord Whitaker, ed. postmedieval. Special issue on “Making Race Matter in the Middle Ages.” 6.1.

2016. Kim F. Hall & Peter Erickson, eds. Shakespeare Quarterly. Special issue on Early Modern Race Studies. 67.1.

2016. Sierra Lomuto. ‘White Nationalism and the Ethics of Medieval Studies.’ In the Middle. http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/2016/12/white-nationalism-and-ethics-of.html

2017. Adam Miyashiro. “Decolonizing Anglo-Saxon Studies: A Response to ISAS in Honolulu,” In The Medieval Middle, http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/2017/07/decolonizing-anglo-saxon-studies.html;

2018. Geraldine Heng. The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages. (Cambridge University Press).

2018. Mary Rambaran-Olm. “Anglo-Saxon Studies [Early English Studies], Academia and White Supremacy,” Medium. https://medium.com/@mrambaranolm/anglo-saxon-studies-academia-and-white-supremacy-17c87b360bf3

2018. Tarrell Campbell. “Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, Wakanda, and Why MOCs Are Welcomed at Quimbandas. Beyond the Margins. https://www.tarrellrodneycampbell.com/blog/erik-killmonger-stevens-wakanda-and-why-mocs-are-welcomed-at-quimbandas

2019. Kimberly Anne Coles, Kim F. Hall, and Ayanna Thompson. “BlacKKKShakespearean: A Call to Action for Medieval and Early Modern Studies,”, Profession.

2019. Margo Hendricks. “Coloring the Past, Rewriting Our Future: RaceB4Race,” at the Race and Periodization Symposium https://www.folger.edu/institute/scholarly-programs/race-periodization/margo-hendricks

2019. Matthieu Chapman. Anti-Black Racism in Early Modern Drama. The Other “Other.” (Routledge).

2019. Coral Lumbley. “The ‘dark Welsh’: Color, race, and alterity in the matter of medieval Wales.” Literature Compass. ed. Dorothy Kim.

2019. Adam Miyashiro. “Our deeper past: Race, settler colonialism, and medieval heritage politics.” Literature Compass. ed. Dorothy Kim.

2019. Mary Rambaran-Olm. “Misnaming the Medieval: Rejecting ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Studies,” History Workshop. https://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/misnaming-the-medieval-rejecting-anglo-saxon-studies/

2019. Matthew Vernon. The Black Middle Ages. (Palgrave MacMillan)

2019. Cord Whitaker. Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking. (University of Pennnsylvania Press).

2019. Matthew Gabriele & Mary Rambaran-Olm. “The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far Right. Here’s Why It’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right.” TIME. https://time.com/5734697/middle-ages-mistakes/

2020. Sherif Abdelkarim. “This Land is Your Land: Naturalization in England and Arabia, 500˗1000.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Wan-Chuan Kao. “Identitarian Politics, Precarious Sovereignty.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Coral Lumbley. “Velut in sentinam congessit’: Refugees and Racism, Modern and Medieval.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Sierra Lomuto. “Becoming Postmedieval: The Stakes of the Global Middle Ages.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Mariah Junglan Min. “Judas Hermeneutics: Literary Character and Reading in Revolt.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Adam Miyashiro. “Homeland Insecurity: Biopolitics and Sovereign Violence in Beowulf.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Mary Rambaran-Olm. “‘Houston, we have a problem:’ Erasing Black Scholars in Old English Literature.” The Sundial: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. https://medium.com/the-sundial-acmrs/houston-we-have-a-problem-erasing-black-scholars-in-old-english-821121495dc

2020. Mary Rambaran-Olm, M. Breann Leake, & Micah Goodrich. “Introduction.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Elan Justice Pavlinich. “Revolting Sites.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Basil Arnould Price. “Búi and the Blámaðr: Comprehending Racial Others in Kjalnesinga Saga.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich, 2020.

2020. Eduardo Ramos. “Confronting Whiteness: Antiracism in Medieval Studies” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Erik Wade. “The Birds and the Bedes: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Bede’s In Cantica Canticorum.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2020. Helen Young. “Race, Medievalism and the Eighteenth-century Gothic Turn.” postmedieval 11.4. eds. M. Rambaran-Olm, M.B. Leake and Micah Goodrich.

2021. Paul Edward Montgomery Ramirez. “Colonial representations of race in alternative museums: The ‘African’ of St Benet’s, the ‘Arab’ of Jorvik, and the ‘Black Viking.’” International Journal of Heritage Studies.

2021. Renato Rodrigues Da Silva. “The Uses of the ‘Anglo-Saxon Past’ between Revolutions, Imperialism and Racism.” Práticas da História, n.º 12.

2021. Meg Hyland. “The Parishoner of North Elmham.Women of 1000 AD.

2022. Haruko Momma. “The Theatre of Race and Its Supporting Actors: A Tale of Two Islands.” New Literary History, 52.3/4.

2022. Mary Rambaran-Olm. “A Wrinkle in Medieval Time:Ironing out Issues Regarding Race, Temporality, and the Early English.” New Literary History, 52.3/4.

2022. Erik Wade. “‘As Black as They Were Before’: The History of Skin Colour and the History of the Holy Rood-Tree.Early Middle English.

2022. Mary Rambaran-Olm & Erik Wade. “What’s in a Name? The Past and Present Racism in ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Studies.” The Yearbook of English Studies, 52.

2023. Mary Rambaran-Olm and Erik Wade. Race in Early Medieval England (Elements series). Cambridge University Press. (forthcoming)

Other Essential Readings:

1897. W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Conservation of Races,” in W. E. B Du Bois Speaks: Speeches and Addresses, 1890–1919, ed. Philip. S. Foner. (Pathfinder, 1975).

1903. W. E. B. Du Bois. The Souls of Black Folk. (A.C. McClurg & Co.).

1938. Anna J. Cooper. “Angry Saxons and Negro Education in The Crisis.” Published Materials by Anna J. Cooper. 24. (republished 2017). Digital Howard. https://dh.howard.edu/ajc_published/24

1952. Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Richard Philcox. (Grove Press, 2008).

1961. Frantz Fanon. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox. (Grove Press, 2004).

1970. Frank Snowden. Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience. (Harvard University Press).

1983. Angela Y. Davis. Women, Race & Class. (Vintage Books).

1992. Stuart Hall. “The West and the rest: Discourse and power.” Race and Racialization, 2E: Essential Readings: 85–95. Republished in Stuart Hall: Selected Writings: Essential Essays, Volume 2: Identity and Diaspora, ed. David Morley. (Duke University Press, 2018).

1993. Toni Morrison. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. (Vintage Books).

2000. Dipesh Chakrabarty. Provincializing Europe: postcolonial thought and historical difference. (Princeton University Press).

2017. Toni Morrison. The Origins of Others. (Harvard University Press).

For more bibliography on race and medieval studies, see Jonathan Hsy and Julie Orlemanski. 2017. “Race and Medieval Studies: A Partial Bibliography.” postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 8 (4): 500–531.

This list was compiled by Dr. Erik Wade & Dr. MRO.



M. Rambaran-Olm

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