This book brings together some of the most original and influential recent work in the field of medieval history. It provides a stimulating overview of current medieval historiography, demonstrating that history is not a collection of static facts, but rather a dynamic process of interpretation. This book is structured thematically under four key areas of scholarly discussion. Chapter 1, 'The Fate of Rome's Western Provinces' explores current thinking about the age that used to be called the 'decline of Rome'. Chapter 2, 'Feudalism and Its Alternatives', examines the debate on the very term' feudalism', which some historians would like to jettison altogether. The discussion in Chapter 3, 'Gender', turns to the rich array of studies about women (and men as defined as a gender category) that have been written in the last 20 years. In the final chapter, 'Religion and Society', the book highlights new ways in which medieval historians are connecting religious phenomena as diverse as formal doctrine, belief in miracles, and liturgical proliferations to transformations and preoccupations within secular society.
Each section comprises an introduction by the editors, discussing the significance of the topic and the history of its interpretation. There follows, for each, five to six readings from books or articles that reflect some of the most important current scholarship in the field. Several pieces are here translated into English for the first time.