chapter  3
12 Pages

Anglo-Saxons, evangelization, and cultural anxiety

The impact of conversion on the margins of Europe
WithJeremy DeAngelo

This study looks at Anglo-Saxon conversions and their aftermath. Utilizing the theories of post-colonialist scholars such as Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi, it argues that conversion involved a tacit acceptance of a broader ethnocentric criticism of their culture. Converts internalized narratives of pagan inferiority, prompting them to seek religious conversion into a Christian community, which they perceived as superior and as the mainstream counterpart to their own marginality. Yet while they chose Christian normativity, Anglo-Saxons embraced their geographic marginality. They differed in their approach to conversion efforts from the Carolingians, recognizing common ethnicity with the Germans and espousing humility. Whereas the Franks had an imperialist motive of empire building in the conversion efforts, Anglo-Saxons retained a sense of their humble beginnings on the margins of Europe.