Race as sedimented history
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I write this response to Cord J. Whitaker’s important edited collection ‘Making Race Matter in the Middle Ages’ as a scholar for whom the medieval seems rather remote, whose lodging is so firmly modern that I do not really think of this lodging as lodge. And yet I write this response as a scholar who is enthralled by (and often lost in) etymology dictionaries, enthralled by (and often lost in) the histories of words, histories that often leave me taken aback, as well as take me back. I write this as a scholar for whom race matters, for whom the idea of race is not simply an invention (I might have once, before reading this collection, thought of race as a modern invention), but an invention that lingers as and in life, in how we see things, in how we do things: how the world appears for us, falls for us; how we fall, in shadows, with shadows, in darkness, in light.
Something can matter without being something. Something can matter because it is made to matter. For, as all the...
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