Too few of us are lucky enough to associate the Middle Ages with Newark, Delaware, but I’m glad to know at least one other soul who does: Matthew Gabriele, who returned to the University of Delaware last weekend to deliver the keynote address at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Over at Modern Medieval, Matt has posted his entire speech, an accessible and interesting summary of the Crusaders’ use of Charlemagne and the influence of that connection on modern rhetoric. The result is a passionate defense of the study of history, a response to the cries of so what?—”a valid question,” sayeth Matt, “albeit one that scholars too rarely think to ask, let alone answer.”
(I should add that Matt incubated his work at UD in the days when Newark—or, as I like to call it, “the Aachen of I-95″—had only three bars, no coffee shops, and hardly any chain stores. Why, conditions back then were downright barbaric…)