Medieval scholar responds to accusations that her material supports white supremacy and Nazi ideology by citing key facts of the field.
Rachel Fulton Brown is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago whose research specialties include the history of Christianity, medieval European cultural, religious and intellectual history, the history of liturgy and prayer, and devotions to the Virgin Mary.
To say that Dr. Fulton Brown knows a thing or two about the history of Western tradition is to say Daenerys Targaryen knows a bit about dragons and the Dothraki.
Dr. Fulton Brown penned an article Three Cheers for White Men, which earned her the wrath of those who prefer being condemned to repeat history endlessly, and the admiration of fans who enjoy her documented, evidence-based musings on the ontologies (what we know) and epistemologies (how we know) of Western culture and civilization.
And before you start telling me about all the terrible things that white men have done, take a moment to reflect that it was white men who voted in favor of the First Amendment to protect your right to disagree with me in the public sphere, including on matters of heated political discourse.
So, three cheers for white men! Hug a white man today!
Dr. Fulton Brown’s post lead another medievalist, Dorothy Kim, to claim that her area of expertise, medieval western European culture, is ‘being weaponized by white supremacist/white nationalist/KKK/nazi extremist groups who also frequently happen to be college students.” Kim warned that Dr. Fulton Brown has the intellectual responsibility to her students of making sure they don’t graduate cumma sum Nazi.
How are you signaling in your classroom that you are not upholding white supremacy when you are teaching the subject loved by white supremacists? … Neutrality may have worked in a distant past when white supremacists/KKK/white nationalists/Nazis were some imagined fringe group, but that is not going to work now.
Dr. Fulton Brown dismisses the obvious accusation that she could be a witch (witches make false oaths all the time) and denounces white supremacy, as did the authors of the Bible. While denying accusations of occultism, Dr. Fulton Brown nevertheless refers to ‘chants, puzzles and references to glass artifacts’ to demonstrate that white European Christians do not appear to have been terribly interested in Mary’s identity group orientation, and instead appear interested in the fact she gave birth to the Son of God.
Citing scripture in Latin and English, narratives depicted in stain-glassed windows of medieval Cathedrals in Europe, fellow medieval scholars and chants and liturgy from the era, Dr. Fulton Brown demonstrates that the only person surprised that the Virgin Mary was a dark-skinned Jewess appears to be Dorothy Kim. As all good professors will do, Dr. Fulton Brown then guides Kim through the process of understanding that dark-skinned Jewesses are unlikely to be objects of abiding admiration for either Nazis or white supremacists.
How should you signal that you are not a white supremacist if you teach the “medieval western European Christian past”? Learn some f*cking medieval western European Christian history, including the history of our field.
Featured image via Art Station/Emile Denis