this is the research and pedagogical site of the

Global Middle Ages Project, a collaboration

of scholars, universities, centers, and institutes

for the study of the world, 500-1500 c.e.




to see the world whole, across a thousand years


Welcome to Gmap

the Global Middle Ages Project is the name of an ambitious effort to study, teach, and research an interlinked world.

how the world is studied is fragmented—atomized into many academic disciplines, departments that concentrate on national literatures and histories, or divided up into area studies that focus on a continent, region, ocean or sea.

specialized knowledge and training are indispensable.  but gmap (pronounced “g-map”) was born from a lively desire to see what would happen when highly specialized scholars collaborate to deliver the world whole—reconstructing the planetary past as a web of crossings and encounters, global cities and villages, a world in dynamic exchange.

in 2004, 7 scholars attempted this in a teaching experiment at the University of Texas. clicking on articles will take you to reports on how the experiment worked. the exhilaration of our experience—for teachers and students alike—led to the initiatives collected on this site under the name of the global middle ages. In 2012-2013, the learning experiment was reincarnated as the Winton Seminar at the University of Minnesota, where 20 scholars came together over a year to study, teach, and track the early globalisms of the planet. a course description is archived under articles

we are conscious that clustering our initiatives under any kind of “Middle Ages,” even a global one, marks an imperfect choice. we welcome the continued problematization of the concept of a “MiddleAges.” but a global Middle Ages at least signals an intent to study a world without a center, and without an assumption of privilege for any location.

a global perspective reveals that different zones of the world produce structural change, new technology, and sophisticated transformations at different rates of speed.  we are particularly interested in how the western inheritance of historical time—history as divided into “modern” and “premodern” eras, with identifying features allotted to each era—can be re-thought and complexified in a global perspective.

our timeline of 1,000 years is flexible, and not meant to restrict. some of the investigations we undertake begin long before 500 c.e. and proceed past 1500 c.e.  gmap’s charge is merely to see the world whole in a large swathe of time— from the americas and europe in the west to china, japan and korea in the east, across islamic civilizations and africa, eurasia, india, and southeast asia—as a living network of interwoven spaces, braided into relationship by trade and travel, cosmopolitan religions, global cities, cultural borrowings, mobile stories, traveling technologies, international languages, and even pandemics and war.  

knotted to the great romance of this project is our commitment to rigorous analysis and the exploration of a variety of analytical, critical, and conceptual approaches and methods.


gmap news

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