The Medieval Globe

a new biannual academic journal

Our Mission

The Medieval Globe (TMG) is a peer-reviewed journal launched in November 2014 with a special issue on the Black Death as a global pandemic. It explores the modes of communication, materials of exchange, and myriad interconnections among regions, communities, and individuals in an era central to human history. TMG promotes scholarship in three related areas of study:

  • the direct and indirect means by which peoples, goods, and ideas came into contact
  • the deep roots of global developments
  • the ways in which perceptions of the medieval past have been (and are) constructed around the world.

Contributions to a global understanding of the medieval period need not encompass the globe in any territorial sense. The Medieval Globe advances a new theory and praxis of medieval studies by bringing into view phenomena that have been rendered  practically or conceptually invisible by anachronistic boundaries, categories, and expectations:  these include polities, networks, affinity groups, artistic influences, identities, bodies of knowledge, faiths, and forms of association.

TMG invites submissions that analyze actual or potential connections, trace  trajectories and currents, address topics of broad interest, or pioneer portable methodologies.

The Medieval Globe will be published biannually in both print and digital formats. Thematic issues will alternate with volumes of selected articles submitted for consideration on a rolling basis.  Future thematic issues might address such topics as: pilgrimage, diasporas, race and racializing technologies, maritime cultures and ports-of-call, piracy and crime, knowledge networks, markets and consumerism, entertainment, spoils and spolia, global localities, comparative cosmographies, sites of translation and acculturation, slavery and social mobility.

For a more comprehensive introduction to TMG’s mission, please read the executive editor’s introduction.


TMG‘s Editorial Board is currently seeking submissions.
It encourages innovative and collaborative work in a variety of academic genres:

Full-length articles
Scholarly dialogues
Multi-authored discussions
Review essays
Editions or translations of source materials

Upcoming Issues

TMG 2.1 | Winter 2016

This issue features articles inspired by the conference on The Medieval Globe: Communication, Connectivity, Exchange held at the University of Illinois in April 2012.

Editor’s Preface – Carol Symes
Periodization and “The Medieval Globe”: A Conversation – Kathleen Davis and Michael Puett
Identity in Flux: Finding Boris Kolomanovich in the Interstices of Medieval European History  – Christian Raffensperger
The Geographic and Social Mobility of Slaves: The Rise of Shajar al-Durr,
a Slave-Concubine in Thirteenth-Century Egypt – Fairchild Ruggles
Towards a Connected History of Equine Cultures in South Asia:
Bahrī (Sea) Horses and “Horsemania” in Thirteenth-Century South India – Elizabeth Lambourn
The Painter, the Warrior, and the Sultan: The World of Marco Polo in Three Portraits – Sharon Kinoshita
Japan on the Medieval Globe: The Wakan rōeishū and Imagined Landscapes in Early Medieval Texts – Elizabeth Oyler
Tilting Toward the Light: Translating the Medieval World on the Ming Mongolian Frontier – Carla Nappi

TMG 2.2 | Summer 2016
Special Issue: Legal Worlds and Legal Encounters edited by Elizabeth Lambourn
Editor’s Introduction – Elizabeth Lambourn
The Future of Aztec Law – Jerome A. Offner
Land and Tenure in Early Colonial Peru: Individualizing the Sapci, “That Which is Common to All” – Susan Elizabeth Ramírez
Featured Source: The Edict of King Gälawdéwos against the Illegal Slave Trade in Christians:  Ethiopia, 1548 – Habtamu Mengistie Tegegne
Facial Mutilation and the Law in Early Medieval Europe and India:
A Comparative Study – Patricia Skinner
Common Threads: A Reappraisal of Medieval European Sumptuary Law – Laurel Ann Wilson
Toward a History of Documents in Medieval India: The Encounter of Scholasticism and Regional Law in the Smṛticandrikā – Donald R. Davis, Jr.
Encounters with Disruptive Substances: Chinese Porcelain and the Material Taxonomies of Medieval Rabbinic Law – Elizabeth Lambourn and Philip Ackerman Lieberman

Thematic Issues in Development

TMG 3.2 * Summer 2017
A World within Worlds? Reassessing the “Global Turn” in Medieval Art
edited by Christina Normore
Study of the migration of motifs, materials, personnel, and finished objects in Eurasia has a long pedigree within medieval art history, and the broadening attention to material culture as an alternative to purely textually-based historical accounts has likewise been integral to reshaping the current conception of a more interconnected medieval world. The past two decades in particular have seen a marked increase in institutional interest in promoting such work in art history. Yet despite this seeming support, and the valuable case studies and new conceptions of individual regions it has encouraged, numerous important problems remain to be addressed. These include not only the growing debates concerning the concept of “the global” throughout art history, but also the challenges to traditional art historical narratives, specializations, and scholarly training posed by the more complex picture of Eurasian and African societies and material culture that has begun to emerge in the past two decades. Moreover, while these problems affect Byzantine, Islamic, Western medieval, and East Asian art history alike, there has as yet been little sustained conversation among those working in all four fields, although such dialogue seems fundamental to the larger objectives of all. This thematic issue will feature cutting-edge work on global medieval art and offer a starting point for future conversations among scholars working on multiple cultural regions.
TMG 4.2 * Winter 2018
Seals: Imprinting Matter, Exchanging Impressions

edited by Brigitte Bedos-Rezak
This thematic issue will focus on seals and sealing practices: on the operations seals enabled; on the networks which seals fostered and in which they operated significantly; and on the information seals transmitted, coordinated, or challenged.  The production of seal impressions requires contact between a human hand, an engraved seal-matrix or die, and a malleable material to retain the image, text, and marks left by the imprinting process. Whereas the seal-matrix is an unicum, seal impressions issued from a single matrix were multiple, replicas inhabiting time and space in a serial and diachronic manner, thereby branding the fabric of human experience with expectations of long-term protection, recognition, and verification beyond the level possible on the basis of face-to-face encounters. A central goal of this issue, therefore, is to explore the ways that seals extended the spatio-temporal range of human action and communication within, across, and beyond the medieval globe.

Editorial Board

Executive Editor: Carol Symes

Lynn M. Martin Professorial Scholar & Associate Professor of History and Medieval Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

About the Editor:


Carol Symes is the Lynn M. Martin Professorial Scholar at the University of Illinois, where she is associate professor of History, Global Studies, Medieval Studies, and Theatre.  Educated at Yale and Oxford, she received professional theatre training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and pursued an acting career while earning the Ph.D in history at Harvard. The founding executive editor of TMG, she has served on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review, Speculum, and French Historical Studies. She has published widely on medieval manuscript cultures; the relationships among writing, orality, and performance as media of communication; the textual history of pre-modern theatre; and the modern construction and uses of the medieval past. Her first book, A Common Stage: Theater and Public Life in Medieval Arras (Cornell, 2007) was honored with four prestigious awards, including the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association and the John Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America.  Her current book project is provisionally entitled “Mediated Texts: The Work of Documentation in Medieval Europe.” In 2013-14, it was supported by a Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and a residency at the National Humanities Center. For more information on her research and publications, please click here.

editorial board

James Barrett
Reader in Medieval Archaeology & Deputy Director of the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge
Viking diaspora and the North Sea world

Kathleen Davis
Professor of English, University of Rhode Island
history and politics of  periodization, medievalism, and postcolonial studies

Felipe Fernández-Armesto
William P. Reynolds Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
the Atlantic world, global environmental history, the early Americas

Elizabeth Lambourn
Reader in South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies & Leverhulme Major Research Fellow, DeMontfort University
history and material culture of the South Asian and Indian Ocean world

Yuen-Gen Liang
Associate Professor of History & Founding Executive Director of the Spain-North Africa Project,
Wheaton College
the Mediterranean world and the Middle East

Victor Lieberman
Marvin B. Becker Collegiate Professor of Southeast Asian History, University of Michigan
premodern and early modern global Southeast Asia

Carla Nappi
Associate Professor of History, University of British Columbia
history of science and knowledge creation/transmission, Central and East Asia

Elizabeth Oyler
Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
medieval Japanese theatre and the performing arts in a global context

Christian Raffensperger
Associate Professor of History, Wittenberg University
medieval Rus’ and its neighbors, transnational kinship networks

Rein Raud
Professor of Japanese and World Cultures, University of Helsinki & Tallinn University
medieval Japanese literature in a global perspective

D. Fairchild Ruggles
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Art History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
the Islamic Mediterranean and South Asia

Alicia Walker
Assistant Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture, Bryn Mawr College
cross-cultural artistic interaction, art and the material culture of Byzantium

Guidelines for Authors

The Medieval Globe provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars of all world areas by focusing on convergence, movement, and interdependence. Contributions to a global understanding of the medieval period need not encompass the globe in any territorial sense. Rather, TMG advances a new theory and praxis of medieval studies by bringing into view phenomena that have been rendered practically or conceptually invisible by anachronistic boundaries, categories, and expectations: these include polities, networks, affinity groups, artistic influences, identities, bodies of knowledge, faiths, and forms of association. TMG also broadens discussion of the ways that medieval processes inform the global present and shape visions of the future.

In addition to being geographically and conceptually capacious, TMG’s purview is temporally open-ended. Although many contributing authors will focus on the era from c. 200 to c. 1500 C.E., others are encouraged to probe manifestations of the medieval globe that may not fit into this time-frame. TMG is also committed to supporting innovative, collaborative work in a variety of genres: full-length articles, scholarly dialogues, multi-authored discussions of critical problems, editions or translations of source materials, and other creative formats. The common denominator among articles accepted for publication will be their authors’ willingness to explore points of contact and forms of mobility (potential or actual), trace trajectories and currents, address topics of broad scholarly interest, or model portable methodologies.

Please note that TMG will not publish individual book reviews, but it will consider — and occasionally commission — review essays.  If you would like to bring a recent publication to our attention, or if you are interested in reviewing recent work in a relevant field, do contact the editors. We also welcome suggestions for future themed issues.

Preparing Your Manuscript

TMG‘s editors prefer to receive submissions in Word or WordPerfect formats. Manuscripts should be submitted via e-mail attachment to Given our commitment to publishing different genres of scholarship, there is no mandatory word limit; however, authors who intend to submit studies that are substantially longer or shorter than 8,000 words (excluding notes, tables, and charts) — or authors wish to attempt an unusually creative approach to a problem — are invited and encouraged to contact the executive editor in advance, to discuss the development of their ideas.

•  Please note that manuscripts being considered for publication by another journal or press are not acceptable.

•  When preparing your manuscript, please adhere to the guidelines set forth in the Chicago Manual of Style and TMG’s style sheet.

•  Authors who intend to include images in their work should be aware that permission to publish copyrighted material must be duly obtained from copyright holders prior to publication.

The Review Process

Authors will receive timely confirmation that their submissions have been received, and will be notified at various stages of the review process.

All manuscripts will be reviewed by the executive editor. Those that meet TMG‘s scholarly criteria will then be read and evaluated by members of the editorial board and by selected expert readers in the author’s field.

TMG has adopted a single-blind policy for members of the Editorial Board and a double-blind policy for outside readers.  (Some members of the Board may request that the identity of authors not be divulged during the evaluation process.)

Our Emblem

The mark of The Medieval Globe was designed by Matthew Peterson, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Each graphic element is derived from a different contemporary vision of the medieval world.


Global Medieval Studies at Illinois

Founded in 2001, the Program in Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois was created to foster the interdisciplinary study of medieval Europe and the Mediterranean. In 2011, under the leadership of its new director, Professor Charles D. Wright, the Program underwent a major global reconfiguration, embracing the study of co-eval cultures across the world and adding affiliated faculty specializing in East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. In 2012, it hosted a conference on “The Medieval Globe: Communication, Connectivity, and Exchange” which inspired the founding of The Medieval Globe.  Articles derived from this conference will be published in the second issue of TMG (volume 2.1)  in 2015.

Ongoing support for The Medieval Globe is provided by
the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.

4080 Foreign Languages Building
707 S. Matthews Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

Resources for Globalized Medieval Studies

The Medieval Globe aspires to be the journal of record for an emerging community of scholars invested in new approaches to the study of the medieval word. The links below connect to some of the initiatives that are advancing a globalized vision of medieval studies. Please contact us if you would like to have your project or program linked to our site.