Marco Mostert is Professor of Medieval History at Utrecht University. He has held teaching positions at the University of Amsterdam and has been visiting professor at Florence and Budapest (CEU). He led a 5-year ‘pioneer project’ on ‘The rise of literacy in early medieval society, c. 400-c. 1200’), in which the introduction of writing in the European (early) Middle Ages was investigated. This project was co-funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Utrecht University. He is the editor of Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, in which more than forty volumes have appeared so far.
The social history of communication in the Middle Ages; manuscript studies; the medieval history of the Low Countries; the historical anthropology of premodern Europe; the interdisciplinary study of the Middle Ages.
Communication in the Margins of Medieval Society
There exists a huge bibliography on medieval communication. This massive scholarly output has been produced mainly from the 1960s onwards, with the tide rising in the 1980s and 1990s. At present the interest in the topic, which was new and therefore extra exciting a generation ago, has become mainstream; there seem hardly any aspects of medieval studies that are not affected by the questionnaire of the developing discipline of the social history of communication. And yet there have hardly been any attempts to study communication in the margins of medieval society. My research project aims at remedying this. First, I need to explain what is to be understood by the ‘margins of medieval society’. Secondly, I will consider the term ‘medieval communication’ and what it may stand for. Medievalists usually are content to leave discussion of this concept to other disciplines. When, as is the case of my project, the concept is central, an explanation of what it refers to is necessary. Next, I will collect data that may serve the study of ‘communication in the margins of medieval society’. Finally, I will see how this new field of study may be developed.