Wesleyan University

Gary Shaw "Traveling to the Future: Networks of Acceleration and the End of the Middle Ages" 11/10/2014


By 1400, like other Europeans, the English had developed internal networks of communication and travel that had radically transformed their worlds. For some people, the world got smaller but would it be better to say that the world got quicker? Travel and communication were accelerators, enabled by precarious but effective actor-networks of horses, people, cunning, and all sorts of specialized stuff and techniques - especially centered on writing and riding and building real and metaphorical bridges. To what extent, however, did the experience of planning one's life change because of this? It seems likely that a new regime of time emerged as a consequence. Ultimately, the 'end' of the middle ages and a change in the horizon of expectations were connected less to a shift in the nature of historical consciousness than in these changes in framework of mundane action and experience.

View More
View Less

Share this video