chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

WithAnn E. Zimo

The Introduction to this volume outlines how scholars in the late twentieth century conceived of the concept of “marginality” as a way to bring scholarly attention to those who had not hitherto received due consideration, in particular the poor and criminals. Since then, the study of marginal figures has grown to include a seemingly innumerable list of people, a phenomenon that prompted the question running through the chapters in this volume: if the majority of people in the middle ages can be qualified as “marginal,” where indeed did the margins lay and what did it mean to occupy them? The authors suggest that we scholars need to reexamine our use of a term that seems to have such broad applicability in large part to avoid designating people as “marginal” only on the basis of our own modern assumptions.