chapter
Periodization
ByAdam Miyashiro
Pages 2

Over the past decade, challenges to traditional periodizations have flourished as a self-reflexive form of critique in medieval and early modern studies, as critics trace the foundations of our fields alongside the growth of European nationalisms and empires. A period label such as “the Middle Ages” or the adjective “medieval” conjures up images and ideas that are perceived as antithetical to the definition of modernity and can also be attributed to non-European cultures. At the end of the medieval period, the fifteenth-century conquests of Constantinople by Ottoman Turks and of Granada by Catholic Spain become two markers in the early modern period that redraw Europe’s periodized geography: in this modernity, Iberia becomes wholly “European” and Byzantium ceases to be Europe and reverts to “Asia.” Postcolonial medievalist criticism of periodization highlights Western assumptions about secular modernity that structure discourses about contemporary globalization and transnationalism.