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  • Writer's pictureLogan Quigley

New Materialism and the Multicultural Middle Ages (Nuñez & Waters)

Updated: Feb 24

In this episode, Liam Waters (UC Berkeley) and Ana Núñez (Stanford) discuss New Materialism as a disciplinary approach to the Middle Ages. Focusing on examples from both their fields, our hosts discuss how the material culture (literary and physical) of Viking Age Scandinavia and Crusade-era Jerusalem generates new discursive spaces for reclaiming marginalized voices, understanding medieval perceptions of self, and understanding the enduring impact physical objects continue to have socially, politically, and individually. Rooted in the scholarship of materialist scholars such as Bill Brown, Jane Bennett, and Bruno Latour, Ana and Liam take us from Viking Age cosmogonic myths to the personal belongings of queens of Jerusalem, exploring the connections between medieval cultures, times, and places.

Timothy Liam Waters is a PhD candidate in the Department of Scandinavian and Program in Medieval Studies at UC Berkeley. He received his BA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic from the University of Cambridge in 2017 and his MA in Scandinavian Studies from UC Berkeley in 2019. During his time at Berkeley, Liam’s research and training has included medieval and ancient literature, medieval and modern languages, and a diverse array of literary theory. As an instructor, Liam has taught undergraduate courses on topics such as the representation of myth in modern media, Viking-Age travel literature, and Old Norse language. His current research interests focus on the study of the fantastic in Old Norse literature, New Materialism, post-Humanism, and the construction of space in the mythological and legendary corpuses. His work on mythology and the materiality of the body is published in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 18 (2022). His dissertation “Mythological Space as a Tertiary World: Place, Emplacement, and Fantasy in the Old Norse Mythological Corpus'' centers around these interests, particularly the ways in which imagined environments and material nuance our understanding of medieval mentalities.

Ana C. Núñez is a PhD Candidate in Medieval History at Stanford University. She is a Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence Fellow (Stanford University, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education), as well as a Writing Fellow, Distinguished Departmental Scholar, and Honors Thesis Mentor in the Stanford History Department. She is also an editor for Arcade, Stanford’s digital humanities salon run through the Stanford Humanities Center. Her dissertation examines the queens regnant of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Kingdom of Jerusalem from the perspective of their material culture, arguing that such objects and spaces performed dynamic functions in their unique political enterprises

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