Medieval Studies Institutionalized

The institutionalization of medieval studies was affected by the cold war power politics. Medieval studies, though it was institutionalized and was already a 'Pedagogic' academic project, its institutional form made a withdrawal from the contemporary disciplinary discourse. Though the younger generation was committed to its interdisciplinarity, the influence of traditional analytic character further reduced it towards monolithic otherness.

By then Medieval studies made a shift from critical agendas to uncritical historicism. In general the Medievalists failed to utilize the intellectual fertile atmosphere of the cold war period to transform Medieval studies and to make it an integral part of literary studies.
In the succeeding years Medieval studies attracted many young scholars. The number of scholars was multiplied. It offered a craze to the young Americans to know something about their deep European past despite its withdrawal from the contemporary academic scene. Soon it became "institutionally rich and prosperous but academically and intellectually it remained narrow, poor and under conceptualized". Under these circumstances the academic position of medieval studies became analogous to "area studies".
Area Studies: It was institutionalized in American Universalities during the 1960s. The resistance literature produced by the intellectuals of the ex-colonies of the Empire in the Western (American) academic institutions was treated as 'Second Grade' – the Other. Though the separate Department was established for its institutional practice, the uniqueness and the diversities of culture as represented in the art and literature of these colonies were viewed with the same lance – as the literature of the colonies, as literature of the 'Other' than the European or the American. The uniqueness of Indian, Canadian, Australian, West Indian, African culture and their unique textural representations only served the cold war policy of "education for all and the curriculum about all" during that period.
Medieval Studies: Like area studies medieval studies only served the institutional practices as 'the other'. Though a rich institutional program it remained marginalized and excluded from the mainstream of literary studies.
The young medievalists repeatedly came in contact with the colleagues of their own departments and from other different disciplines of the 'field' in the course of research and other academic activities related to the field of Medieval studies. It was a moment of revelation of new insights and ideas for those scholars who gradually accepted the "sharing" with other various disciplines of the field.
The increased awareness and the growing sensibility of these scholars finally affected the 'traditional' approaches and perspectives towards medieval texts, society and culture. The focus shifted towards the critical and innovative ideas and leads the whole field of medieval literary studies towards plurality and the adaptation of the disciplinary discourses.
The renewed plurality, the acceptance of the disciplinary discourses, the borrowing of innovative ideas from different fields, the changed perspectives to look at the middle ages repeatedly guided the field of Medieval Studies towards the formation and recreation of the "New Literary History" so that the critical agendas and methodological tools practiced in other areas would be allowed to play decisive role in this field too. The Medievalists too felt the necessity of setting new goals and objectives of study in this phase of renewed possibilities to make Medieval studies an integral part of literary studies in general.