On Friday May 6, 2022, Professor Marissa Galvez of Stanford University presented her recent research into different kinds of artistic and architectural endeavors that she terms “Unthought Medievalisms.” These range from neo-Occitan poetry with accompanying art drawn from the castles of the troubadour patrons to the presentation of gothic arches in non-traditional contexts. She compares these types of “Unthought Medievalisms” to the epistemology of the “Global South” which is a region where much of its history is tied up in oral traditions, not chronicles. Professor Galvez encourages historians to apply some of the methods that are popular in the study of medieval lyric song and poetry to different kinds of evidence from the Global South to help understand its history better.
As her case study, Professor Galvez discusses the gold artifacts from the Phillipines which are currently in the national museum there. She read some of the transcriptions of oral epics from the region to discuss the symbolism of gold in pre-Spanish Phillipine culture as well as the idea of only using as much gold as was needed. By comparing the two cases, the troubadour revival art and the oral traditions of the Phillipines Professor Galvez challenged all of us in the medieval studies community to broaden our interests and to rethink some of the possibilities of our methodologies for tackling problems of knowing in the Global South.
Before speaking, Professor Galvez took the time to visit our medieval studies course, Old French in the Medieval World where her expertise helped to shape the class discussion. Her talk was very well received by the Fordham community and following her paper there was a social hour with refreshments. This event also served as a forum for scholars of medieval French literature from NYU and Fordham to come together to hear an excellent talk. We are thankful to Professor Galvez for taking the time to come visit us at Fordham.