included men who were householders or residents of the ward but not necessarily freemen. Yet those elected to Common Council had to be citizens and, one might presume, that those who elected them would also have had to be citizens. 40 But the city records are silent on this point, and it may be that non-citizens had some say in the choice of the members of the Common Council. This suggests, again, that the wardmoots may have played a more political role than the city’s discreet custumals suggest. But if this grassroots democracy ever existed it seems to have been
campus unrest of the sixties and our
current crises around democracy, international relations and the role of
journalism, to name just a few) the idea of the medieval community of
scholars reappears, either as the utopian desideratum for academics, or
for those interested in restricting intellectual freedom, as an
irrelevant piece of nostalgia. There is nothing quite as terrifying to
Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies, and Miriam Czock
volume of data available; and, more recently, an awareness of the implications of settlement shift and of the significance of nucleation. We need to explore how far those common themes relate to what we now think happened on the ground and we also need to explore which of the issues identified in the several historiographies still have resonance. While primitive communalism and precocious democracy are nowadays unfashionable ideas, we do need to ask about equality, about the free/servile status of rural residents and about social and economic differentiation within the
Press, 2010), p. 6.
10 Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
(Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), p. 3.
11 Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology, or, What It’s Like to Be a Thing
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012).
12 Levi Bryant, The Democracy of Objects (Ann Arbor: Open Humanities
Press, 2011); Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology
after the End of the World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
13 Ian Hodder, Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between
Humans and Things (Oxford
Leif Eiriksson, the 1893 World’s Fair, and the Great Lakes landnám
Amy C. Mulligan
), with a Viking ship floating behind him in this Midwestern ‘fjord’, we witness an expert act of place-making, to use Basso’s term, of fusing narrative to landscape and past to present. Having set the appropriate spatial stage, and delineated the features of this collective place-world, Palmer further develops this fusion by delineating other defining characteristics shared by the Norse and Americans, those of democracy and freedom, law and liberty:
every man who has read history knows of those Vikings who started out at the time when Europe was held by a strong
University of Wisconsin-Madison and later US Ambassador to Denmark, in America Not Discovered by Columbus . 13 As J. M. Mancini has pointed out, the literature of Viking discovery in this period
made a number of claims about the Scandinavian origins of the American past. First, it argued that the Vikings had been the true discoverers of America. Second, it argued that Scandinavians, as the progenitors of the American ‘race’ and the creators of democracy itself, were America’s ancestors in body and mind. And, finally it argued not only that Scandinavians had arrived
Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 7–10.
5 Levi R. Bryant, The Democracy of Objects (Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, 2011), p. 32.
6 Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013).
7 For discussion of how Old English poets use writing to try to contain and control the natural world, see chapter 5 of Elaine Tuttle Hansen, The Solomon Complex: Reading Wisdom in Old English Poetry (Toronto: University of Toronto
democracy’. 7 Unsurprisingly, therefore, Jefferson was also
an ardent proponent of teaching early medieval history, law and
Anglo-Saxon at the newly emerging universities of North America. 8
Underlying such views of the early medieval – specifically Anglo-Saxon –
origin of American institutions was the ‘germ theory’, proposed in the
1880s by the historian Herbert Baxter Adams, under whom both Woodrow
democracy; while the radical revisionism of
this film means there is no Camelot as such, and while it purports to go
behind the Arthurian mythology, the film still manages to mythologise
the emergence of both a British nation and the semblance of a democracy.
To this extent this US/UK/Ireland co-production functions as a national
epic, about nation-building, about achieving national sovereignty, about
medieval cinema as ahistorical – more interested in analogies to
the present than in historical causality – and in his negative
evaluation of this. Susan Aronstein, Roberta Davidson and Kathleen Coyne
Kelly, for example, have all recently argued that medieval films are
more often than not indicative of a conservative outlook, with medieval
analogies confirming traditional political ideals like democracy and