Making Contact: Maps, Identity, and Travel

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Glenn Burger
University of Alberta, 2003 - History - 284 pages
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When civilizations first encounter each other a cascade of change is triggered that both challenges and reinforces the identities of all parties. Making Contact revisits key encounters between cultures in the medieval and early modern world. Contributors cross disciplinary boundaries to explore the implications of contact. Scott D. Westrem examines the imagined Africa depicted in the Bell Mappamundi. Day-to-day accommodations between the religious identities of Vilnius, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, are explored by David Frick. Steven F. Kruger argues that medieval Christian identity was destabilized by the living Talmudic tradition. Individual Jesuits who were critical to the success of contact in Japan are evaluated by Nakai Ayako. Linda Woodbridge argues that Elizabethan attitudes towards aboriginals paralleled their attitudes towards English vagrants. Despite a nod to Arcadian conventions, travel narratives of Virginia were preoccupied with finding wealth, according to Paul W. DePasquale’s research. Rick H. Lee examines the conflicting loyalties of Pierre Raddisson in the New World. Richard A. Young demonstrates that the Florida shipwreck narratives of Cabeza de Vaca were groomed for intended audiences, past and present. This rich interdisciplinary collaboration contributes to the debate on boundaries between disciplines, as well as boundaries between the Middle Ages and the early modern period, and also between historical and theoretical perspectives. Making Contact draws our attention to the important ways in which historic encounters with contrasting ‘others’ have shaped the identities of both individual and corporate ‘selves’ over a span of five centuries.

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About the author (2003)

Glenn Burger, Lesley Cormack, Jonathan Hart, and Natalia Pylypiuk teach at universities across North America and are all members of the Medieval and Early Modern Institute. Glenn Burger teaches in the Departments of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research interests include issues of sex, gendre and sexuality in medieval literature, especially Chaucer, as well as East/West relations. He is the editor of Hetoum's A Lytell Cronycle (Toronto, 1988), co-editor with Steve F. Kruger of Queering in the Middle Ages (Minnesota, 2001), and author of Chaucer's Queer Nation (Minnesota, 2002).

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