‚Medieval Animal Studies‘


Animals have long been in the focus of Medieval Studies. Yet, while there has been a significant conceptual shift in post-modern Animal Studies, an ‘animal turn’, according to which reflections, imaginations, and forms of practice of human–animal relations are studied from theoretically reflected interdisciplinary perspectives, their latest advances have not seen any large-scale response from Medieval Studies. Similarly, modern theoretical and methodological discussions in the field seldomly include findings from Medieval Studies. The question, then, is: where do Medieval Studies position themselves within current trends in Animal Studies and what potential do they have? With the contributions gathered here, we show that the latest methods, theorems, and critical reflections in Animal Studies are highly relevant for the analyses of medieval perceptions and conceptions. Also, by continually reevaluating animality and agency as well as the dynamics between real and allegorical or symbolical functionalisations of animals, Medieval Animals Studies move beyond semiotic frames and thus make a substantial contribution to the field. They may even allow for a historicisation and reconceptualisation of current human–animal relations and their study, helping to understand them as products of (cultural) animal history.


Agency, Human–Animal Studies, Medieval Animal Studies, Middle Ages