I want to let you in on the dirty little secret of my field, Medieval Studies: The Middle Ages is incredibly attractive to white supremacists. For people whose vision of a backwards-looking, great world is one with white Christian men in positions of power and the rest of us put in our places, the Middle Ages is a fertile ground for fantasy, where it seems very easy, at least superficially, to ignore the integral role of an incredibly diverse population. There are legends like King Arthur, images like the Bayeaux Tapestries, and long histories of Crusading that, on the face of it, make the Middle Ages look very white and like a world very divided neatly into categories of “us” and “them.”

This vision of a very white, very Christian Middle Ages has been a part of political rhetoric for rather a long time: Anti-feminist politicians exploit their idea of medieval chivalry and courtly love to give their ideas a historical grounding. The British Nationalist party uses the story of Excalibur to promote its vision of a racially pure England. The Crusades, in particular, have factored into that: Crusaders became a favorite theme of 19th-century Romantic writers and thinkers, whose refashioning of these tales were crucial to the creating the popular vision of a very white Middle Ages. T.E. Lawrence, the young British army officer who would go on to be known as Lawrence of Arabia and reshape the map of the modern Middle East came to that region as a student at Oxford writing about Crusader castles. Various European fascist movements throughout 20th-century have adopted Crusader rhetoric. More recently and in our own country, George W. Bush called for Crusade in the wake of 9/11. And the most recent presidential election saw a proliferation of images that have long circulated more quietly in the darkest, most racist corners of the internet that rely on medieval and Crusading themes and images to support both individual candidates and wider worldviews.

But it’s not just political rhetoric: Attachment to a white Middle Ages is also an attitude that has absolutely permeated our cultural outlook: Look at something like the TV version of Game of Thrones and you see a kind of fantasy Middle Ages in which the race politics is incredibly uncomplicated, with a lily-white savior and her dragons redeeming the inarticulate, teeming masses of brown barbarians. It’s a rhetoric that politicians can use because it resonates with the population.

But when we look at the actual Middle Ages in all its complexity, the possibility of this fantasy vision evaporates very quickly.


“Both Sons of Spain”: Medieval Jews and Muslims in the Imagined Nation

My department held a round-table and teach-in yesterday in response to post-election Islamophobic and anti-Semitic vandalism on campus. We felt it was important, as scholars in the humanities, to offer a humanistic intellectual response to the changing tenor of campus discourse; we grounded this response within our discipline, with six speakers offering case studies of how different communities have responded to repression within the Spanish-speaking world. (The event was livestreamed and a recording will be available early next week; I’ll post it as and when.) What follows was my intervention. -S.J. Pearce

Things about uni I learned the hard way

1. Rewriting notes is useless (for me)
2. I should read my textbooks in advance
3. Syllabus of each subject is essential and it’s pretty much a study guide that tells me when I should study what.
3. When teacher says “search it up” or “please read this” or “please watch this video” you better do it …Cause it’s going to be on the test.
4. When teacher tells you to print / download some material you do it asap just in case he’ll delete it later without warning you… (one of my teachers is like that)
5. Never relay on others.
P. S.: Procrastination leads to eternal misery.

shoosh pap pap shoosh

5 Essential Textbooks for Learning Japanese

Here are 5 essential textbooks to learn the Japanese language from beginner to intermediate level.


Available Here

The Genki textbooks are reknowned for being some of the most accessible beginners textbooks for learning Japanese. They’re well laid out into different chapters, provide vocabulary and Kanji, and you can also acquire workbooks with CD’s that allow you to self-study.

The 23 lessons of Genki introduce students to a wide range of elementary grammar points, nearly 300 kanji, and over 1000 vocabulary terms, which makes this a fantastic starter textbook for learning Japanese.


Available Here

This accompamnying Kanji book to the Genki textbooks is a great, simple method to learn Kanji through illustrations and mnemonics - little stories that help keep them in your brain. I find this method really successful compared to boring repetition-based Kanji textbooks that exist elsewhere.

The various indexes at the end of the book allow learners to easily look up a particular kanji or kanji vocabulary. The book contains 512 kanji, as well as 3,500 essential vocabulary for beginner and intermediate learners. The book includes all kanji in levels 3 and 4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), as well as all kanji in the Genki textbooks.


Available Here

When you’ve conquered the Genki textbook series (both I and II), it’s the perfect time to move on to Tobira. Tobira bridges the gap between Genki and advanced Japanese. Although the lessons are intense, with up to 100 vocabulary per chapter, the structure, layout and contents of the book are much more interactive than those in the Genki textbooks - simply because you have more knowledge to work with!  The accompanying Kanji book is also brilliant to improve your Kanji recognition.

Tobira will make you realise you can finally read some intermediate Japanese, which Genki doesn’t push you to do.
Find my full review here.


Available Here

This set of grammar textbooks is known to be the most comprehensive and useful set around. The catch comes with the price - over £100 for the set (a cheaper alternative is listed below).

These dictionaries explain grammar points in terms of how to use them, the differences between one grammar point and other similar ones, and provides many examples in Japanese. A great review of the series can be found on Tofugu, here.


Available Here

A cheaper alternative to the grammar textbook series above, the Donna Toki textbook categorises grammar points alphabetically, but salso includes what JLPT level they would be found in. For this reason, it’s great for learners who are studying for the JLPT.

You can use this supplementary to your main textbooks for more example sentences and explanations. It also includes Chinese and Korean translations.

Any other recommendations? Leave them in the comments below!

[ taken from my instagram: emmastudiess ] when you’re obsessed with stationery you can’t help but organise them into colour order…

+ ballpoint pens / mildliners / gel pens / highlighters / postit notes

53/100 days of productivity + SAT 12.03.16 // 7:52am

theme of the week: summer. november seasons (4/4);;;; it’s the last week of finals next week and i am so ready for christmas but for all you sunny people out there here’s a spread to commemorate the opposite season

Yum! Sushi~

You will rarely see the complicated kanji on real menu though~ :D

鮭 sake: salmon
鮪 maguro: tuna
卵 tamago: egg (sweet scrambled egg)
鰻 unagi: sweet sauce eel
海老 ebi: shrimp/prawn
雲丹 uni: sea urchin
山葵 wasabi: green spicy paste
紅生姜 benishouga: pickled red ginger

Yum!!! 美味しそうですね!
Happy learning! 。゚✶ฺ.ヽ(*´∀`*)ノ.✶゚ฺ。


CrunchyNihongo - Easy to Learn Japanese Lessons Site
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#decemberstudychallenge my study space technically but I’m working in bed at least 50% of the time…i’m ill today so I doubt I’ll be as productive as a need to be but I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday💛🌤

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Science-Backed Study Tips to Ace Your Exam (+ Free Checklist!)

As we are getting closer to the final season, a lot of us would frantically search for exam study tips and skills to help us better prepare for finals. I have previously covered quite a lot on how to prepare for exams (and I have also got a free email course on how to study for exams effectively. Sign up if you haven’t already), but there is always more tips to add on it! Now, here I am to talk about the following things (with science-backed tips!) that would help you to ace your exam!

  • The attitude that you should have for exams (and studying)
  • How you can best prepare and study on the day before the exam (and why you shouldn’t pull an all-nighter)
  • What you should do the morning of the exam

Read the post here!

- Sabrina |


I spent 4 dollars to upgrade my stupid acapella app to be able to record 3 minutes so y'all better reblog the hell outta this full cover of How Far I’ll go