Debates in medieval studies about race and the global Middle Ages parallel past debates in comparative literature. Both comparative literature and medieval studies struggle with their Eurocentric origins while simultaneously trying to negotiate a non-Eurocentric approach to their respective disciplinary boundaries. While trying to globalize medieval studies, medievalists have remained in disciplinary silos, especially in regard to a transnational and transtemporal understanding of race. This article's author argues that a comparative approach to periodization, rather than holding onto a concept of the “medieval,” is a more productive way to understand premodern race.

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