Loyola University Chicago

Medieval Studies

Lecture series

Medieval Studies Lecture Series

Class, Caste and Race in the Global Middle Ages:

Negotiating privilege and exclusion in medieval societies


“The Middle Ages” was not a mythical place, populated with an isolated and homogeneous society.  Medieval Europe maintained important connections with the peoples of Africa and Asia, and itself comprised perennially shifting mixtures of cultural affinities, languages, religious identities and ancestral origins, due to migration, trade, conquest and traffic in humans. Throughout the medieval millenium, communities found various ways to construct social hierarchies to create both privilege and exclusion. By looking broadly at “class, caste and race”, the speakers in our lecture series will offer us ways to talk and think about the varied and complex ways medieval societies organized themselves to the benefit of some and the detriment of others.




(Topics of lectures are still tentative, subject to change)


Fall 2023

Christopher Fletcher and Yasmine Hachimi,

(Newberry Library) Sept 25

[“Learning to See Race before Race: Medieval Witnesses at the Newberry Library”]


Lauren Beck (Mount Allison Univ, Sackville Canada) Nov 6

[“Orientalizing the Medieval Spanish Epic through Book Illustration: Race, Gender, and the Cid”]


Spring 2024


Kathy Lavezzo (University of Iowa) February 19

["Bad Medievalism, or how we feel about the Middle Ages."]


Sarah Davis-Secord (Univ New Mexico) March 18

[“Muslims and the Making of Medieval Sicily”]


Sierra Lomuto (Rowan Univ) March 25

[“Of Fremde land: Mongol Exoticism and English Rhetoric in ‘The Squire’s Tale’”]


Elissa Weaver (Emeritus, University of Chicago) April 15

[“Seeing Through Clothes: the social, economic, and symbolic value of clothing in Boccaccio’s Decameron”]