University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

The Invention Of Race In The European Middle Ages

Thursday, April 1, 2021
3:00pm – 5:00pm

Storrs Campus

Please join us for the digital campus visit of University of Texas Professor Geraldine Heng. The focus of the talk will be her recent book.

Her book, The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, (Cambridge, 2018) argues that the medieval period was not a pre-political, pre-racial era. Religion then (and now) – as much as science, in later eras – was selectively deployed to identify differences among humans that were essentialized as absolute and fundamental, distributing positions and powers differentially to human groups in practices that we would today call acts of race. The book has won numerous prizes including the 2019 PROSE prize in Global History, the 2019 Robert W. Hamilton Grand Prize, the 2019 Academy of American Religion prize in Historical Studies, and the 2020 Otto Gründler Prize.

Geraldine Heng is Perceval Professor at the University of Texas in Austin, and Founder and Director of the Global Middle Ages Projects (G-MAP): Heng co-edits the University of Pennsylvania Press’s new book series, RaceB4Race: Critical Studies of the Premodern, and Cambridge University Press’s 40-title Elements series on The Global Middle Ages. She is also the editor of a forthcoming volume in the Modern Language Association of America’s Options for Teaching series, entitled The Global Middle Ages. The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2018) is Professor Heng’s second book. Her third book is England and the Jews: How Religion and Violence Created the First Racial State in the West (Cambridge, 2019). Her new title for Cambridge, The Global Middle Ages: An Introduction, will appear in 2021. Heng is currently researching and writing a fifth book, Early Globalities: The Interconnected World, 500-1500 CE.

Free copies of her book are available to UConn faculty, staff, and graduate students.

Contact Professor Fred Lee for book copies and/or WebEx links.

This event is sponsored by Indigeneity Race Ethnicity Politics/Political Science, Medieval Studies, and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute.


Fred Lee (

History Department (primary), Asian American Studies Institute, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Humanities Institute, Political Science, UConn Master Calendar

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