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Faculty Publication: Professor of History of Art Alicia Walker

October 10, 2023

Shifting Boundaries: Medieval Art History for Now

Authors: Thelma K. Thomas and Alicia Walker

Source: Out of Bounds: Exploring the Limits of Medieval Art, Edited by Pamela A. Patton, and Maria Alessia Rossi, Penn State University Press

Type of Publication: Chapter in a book

Description: Where are the limits of medieval art as a field of study? What happens when conventionally trained art historians disregard the chronological, geographical, or cultural parameters that both direct and protect their scholarship? Beginning with Thelma K. Thomas and Alicia Walker’s acute assessment of the need for a “medieval art history for now,” the essays in Out of Bounds ask what happens when the study of medieval art disregards boundaries that it once obeyed. The volume focuses on questions surrounding the production of knowledge and on how scholarly investigation beyond the conventional thematic boundaries of medieval art history is changing, demonstrating how the field can address the ethics of scholarship today by positing a global turn in response to growing demands for socially responsible medieval studies. Collectively, the contributors demonstrate how “going out of bounds” can transform modern understanding of the people, traditions, and relationships that gave rise to medieval works. As such, this book argues for the necessity of reshaping scholarly discourse about the nature and significance of medieval art and generates fresh scholarly interpretations and important new critical tools for teaching and researching the Middle Ages.

History of Art