Click here for THE homepageBy David Mould. Not only do medieval travellers' tales provide students with a compelling account of history rooted in personal experience, they also promote cross-cultural understanding in the present day, argues David Mould
What can the travels of pilgrims, soldiers and merchants in the Middle Ages teach students about the conflict-ridden and interconnected world in which they live today?
Plenty, according to historians such as Michele Clouse and Jeffrey Bowman. They are among a growing number of medieval and early modern historians who make extensive use of travellers' tales in their undergraduate courses - not only to engage students, but also to make them think about how cultures and belief systems collide.
For Clouse, who teaches at Ohio University, a large public institution, the tales complement the political and military chronology of her world history survey course, a breakneck semester-long dash from early humankind to the mid-18th century. "That's five continents and roughly 5,000 years of history in 15 weeks," she says, a little wearily. Read more...