Robert Bartlett's The Hanged M An Analysis

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How do words affect our view of history and do our modern terms change our perception of the times being examined? Robert Bartlett’s usage of terms such as “ethnicity” and “colonialism”, addresses an important question of modern concepts in our understanding of the medieval past. The purpose of this paper is to make connections of the key ideas of Robert Bartlett’s use of these concepts, ethnicity and colonization, in his book “The Hanged Man” drawing from his own explanations from his articles, “Medieval and Modern Concepts of Race and Ethnicity” and “Medieval and Modern Colonialism.” Bartlett attempts, in his own discussions, to define these terms in relation to its historical contexts. His attempt at clarifying these two terms has been …show more content…
Bartlett’s understanding of the Middle Ages on race and ethnicity are synonymous which all, etymologically, derive from the Latin words “gens” and “notion”. Additionally, he argues that since race is not a biological descriptor during the Middle Ages, ethnicity and race both refer to the identifications made by individuals about the groups they belong to. For example, if we look at language as an identification of ethnicity in the Middle Ages; the language spoken by the witnesses show how they differentiate themselves from others. The Hanged Man states, “[witnesses; languages]… Latin (mainly clergy), French (the upper class), or English (everybody else),” demonstrating that language influenced your dominion but also your cultural affinities in society. All in all, Bartlett brings forth a compelling argument for race and its synonymous nature to the word ethnicity in the medieval …show more content…
He further postulates that if we do so the racists have won. He argues that many historians will not use the word due the connections to racism. In the social sciences, scholars see the concept of ethnicity as the right substitution to race. There is a taboo connected with the word race as if applying it will brand you a racist that associates with slavery. Bartlett in his argument tries to discredit this notion. A view that Chester Jordan disagrees with his publication, “Let them keep the word because most readers simply will not play with the concept in the sophisticated ways that the contributors of these essays do.” Jordan is referencing the manner that Bartlett explains his argument for the correlation of race and ethnicity. He argues that if academics apply race to the Middle Ages, the reader will follow the ancestry and develop or enforce a prejudice notions towards a certain group. The Catholic Church or White Euro-American can be used as an example. Our history will make the reader associate the concept race with terms of biological subjugation due to physical characteristics. Moreover, Jordan provides alternatives to the concept of race, “I actually prefer “ethnic identity”; it has a softer, less threatening ring in my ears, since identity can be understood as a process. By acknowledging it is a process, it is persuading the reader that

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