Research Publications


Immersive Environments for Medieval Languages: Theory and Practice

Ramey and Wenz look at the possibilities and promises for using video game engines to create historically appropriate medieval worlds for research and teaching.

Lynn Ramey and Steven Wenz

Summer 2016

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Validation by Holiness or Sovereignty: Religious Toleration as Political Ideology in the Mongol World Empire of the Thirteenth Century

Christopher Atwood discusses whether the Mongols had a religious policy, in what spheres it may have operated, and how long such a policy may have lasted. Atwood discusses how the answer is found in documents that demonstrate an identical religious policy being applied—in both fourteenth-century China and among the fourteenth-century Golden Horde—by rulers who adhered personally to Buddhism or Islam.

Christopher P. Atwood 

June, 2004

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The Legacy of Nomadic Empres in Steppe Landscapes of Northern Eurasia

Chibilev and Bogdanov provide an exposition of the impact of nomadic peoples on the landscapes of the steppe zone of northern Eurasia in the 18th–19th centuries.  The authors set their inquiry against a wide historical–geographical background in order to substantiate the objectives of a new scientific discipline: historical steppe studies.

A. A. Chibilev and S. V. Bogdanov


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The Kitan People, the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) and their World

Valeria Hansen sketches the Kitan world by starting with the neighbors they knew best—the Chinese and the Koreans—and gradually moving out to more remote peoples. The Liaoshi, upon which all historians continue to depend in spite of its rushed compilation and errors, remains the fundamental starting point because it names the countries from which envoys came and the gifts they carried. By pinpointing the origins of unusual imported commodities, Hansen reconstructs the outer edges of the Kitan world, which extended well beyond the homelands of the peoples mentioned in the written record. 

Valerie Hansen


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The Great Explanandum

Roger Hart analyzes Alfred W. Crosby’s The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250–1600, which is a broad survey of measurement animated by captivating examples drawn from four centuries of mathematics, astronomy, music, painting, and bookkeeping.

Roger Hart

April 2000

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5 Ivory Things

"5 Ivory Things" explores things and their essences—narratives found in objects, the physical memory of "thingness," and object biography itself. The paper directs our attention to an essential telling couched within layers of meaning that have come to overlay the object—a “thingness” that will be our true object of discussion.

Rick Hauser

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The Global Middle Ages: An Experiment in Collaborative Humanities, or Imagining the World, 500-1500 C.E. 

In an effort to reconcile a post-September 11 fear of a resurging "neo-medieval" crusade and racialization of religion, Geraldine Heng delineates an innovative and alternative kind of teaching. Through collaboration with faculty members from different departments, centers, and programs, and two visiting faculty, Heng introduced graduate students to a "decentered world" in order to set the stage for exploring a "multilocational past," thus examining a truly global Middle Ages.

Geraldine Heng

Summer 2009

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A Global Middle Ages 

The current focus in this volume is Middle English literature. What might a global Middle Ages signify for the literary artifacts of insular medieval England? Not usually understood as belonging to the ambit of ‘‘world literature’’ or sought out for attention by literary transnationalism’s comparatist-globalist heuristics, these examples of nonmodern literature are not the wandering lyrics of Chinese poetry, Arabic cycles of heroic epics across Dar al-Islam, or migratory Jataka tales. In "A Global Middle Ages," Heng outlines ways to consider how various methods of reading might grant access to what medieval England’s literature self-consciously tells us about globalizations.

Geraldine Heng

November 2012

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Pathways of Portability: Islamic and Christian interchange from the tenth to the twelfth century

Eva Hoffman considers the role of portable monuments in cross-cultural interchange between the Islamic and Christian medieval realms in the Mediterranean and beyond from the 10th to the 12th century. The focus is defined not by the style and subjects represented on these works, but rather by the circumstances of portability, shifting the emphasis from "production" to "circulation."

Eva R Hoffman 


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Early Globalism in Asia and Africa

Chapurukha Kusimba discusses ancient Chinese ceramics excavated at Kenyan historic sites and discusses the potential of the long-term collaborative research agenda on ancient and contemporary relations between China and East Africa.

Chapurukha Kusimba

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Journal of Spanish, Portugese, and Italian Crypto Jews: Volume 1

This is an academic journal published by the School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University, Miami Florida, USA, to desseminate research and developments in the study of Crypto Jews and their descendants in past and present manifestations, through publication of peer-reviewed articles, papers, reports, and other literature.

Roger Martinez

Spring 2009

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North Atlantic Climate c. A.D. 1000: Millennial Reflections on the Viking Discoveries of Iceland, Greenland and North America 

Astrid Ogilvie explores the environmental and climatic conditions of the North Atlantic region in the present and in the past. In particular, Ogilvie investigates the exploration and settlement of Iceland, Greenland, and "Vinland." This article focuses primarily on written records, mainly from Iceland, isotopic ice-core records from the Greenland ice-sheet, and marine sediment cores from Nansen Fjord, Greenland. These proxy climate records provide information about important factors such as relative temperature and sea ice in the years around A.D. 800-1100 and thereafter. 

Astrid Ogilvie


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Medieval Life in America's Heartland

The first chapter of Pauketat and Alt's book Medieval Mississipians: The Cohokian World investigates the founding of Cahokia (11th century) in the heart of the Mississippi Valley. By using archaeological and artifactual evidence, Pauketat and Alt trace this medieval civilization from its foundation to its modern-day descendants. 

Timothy R. Pauketat and Susam M. Alt


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The Pre-Columbian Discovery of the American Continent by Muslim Seafarers 

 Fuat Sezgin explores the very real possibility pre-Coloumbian discovery of the Americas. By astutely reformulating the various “questionable claims” Gavin Menzies asserts in his book 1421. The Year China Discovered the World, Sezgin argues for an Arabic-Islamic discovery of the Americas. As his primary evidence, Zegin cites three maps: that of Ottoman admiral Pīrī Re’īs, a Portuguese copy of a Javanese map, and one created by Juan de la Cosa, who was a navigator for Columbus on his first three journeys. Sezgin emphasizes that the exactitude with which the maps were drafted indicates that their cartographic predecessors were created by Muslim navigators.

Fuat Sezgin


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The "Liu/Menzies" World Map: A Critique 

A Chinese world map purportedly drawn in 1763, and allegedly based on an earlier version of 1418, was brought to public notice in early 2006 by Mr Gavin Menzies, author of 1421: the Year China Discovered the World, and Mr Liu Gang, the map’s owner. This map has been used to suggest that Chinese navigators circumnavigated and mapped the world in the early 15th century and that dual hemisphere maps were first created in China. Geoff Wade provides a context for the sudden appearance of this map, and its apparent evidence for Ming Chinese circumnavigation of the globe. Through a detailed examination of the cartographic elements on the “1763” map and its alleged 1418 precursor, the many anachronisms and other errors are set down. By demonstrating and enumerating the numerous impossibilities reflected in the representations of both China and the rest of the globe, it is concluded that the map is a modern fake.

Geoff Wade


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Foreign Vesture and Nomadic Identity on the Black Sea Littoral in the Early Thirteenth Century

Close examination of the textiles from the Chungul Kurgan has revealed that they almost certainly represent the reuse of imported silks, gold-woven bands, and gold embroideries that came into the possession of the nomadic Kipčaks as gifts, trade items, or spoils of their raids on their sedentary neighbors. A range of possible degrees of intentionality can govern the use of textile spolia—from strictly utilitarian reuse to the deliberately imitative, or victorious, appropriation of the insignia of another culture. The Woodfin, Rassamakin, and Holod explore the ways in which the textile elements were redeployed on the preserved garments. Their reuse for the decoration of riding caftans incorporates the symbolic language of power and prestige that these insignia conveyed among the neighboring courtly cultures while preserving a distinctive, nomadic sartorial identity.

Warren T. Woodfin, Yuriy Rassamakin, Renata Holod 


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