The Global Middle Ages Project—G-MAP— is an ambitious effort by an international collaboration of scholars to see the world whole, c. 500 to 1500 CE, to deliver the stories of lives, objects, and actions in dynamic relationship and change across deep time.
G-MAP grew out of a teaching experiment at the University of Texas in 2004, when 7 scholars of different specializations invited students to see what the planetary past looked like when teaching was not carved up into disciplines and departments, or bound by area studies and regional studies.
Our charge was to see the world whole in a large swathe of time—as a network of spaces braided into relationship by trade and travel, mobile stories, cosmopolitan religions, global cities, cultural borrowings, traveling technologies, international languages, and even pandemics, climate, and wars. We traveled in the seminar from Europe to Dar al-Islam, Sub-Saharan Africa to India, Eurasia, China, and the many Asias in a time span of about a millennium.
Our students, and others, told us over and over again that learning should be more often like this.
The exhilaration of this learning experiment led to workshops and publications, lectures and conference panels focused on reconstructing the globalisms of a thousand years.
In 2007 Susan Noakes at the University of Minnesota and Geraldine Heng at the University of Texas founded G-MAP and MappaMundi (“world map”), a cybernetic initiative to aggregate the digital projects of the Global Middle Ages. The Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages—SCGMA (pronounced “sigma”)—is our name for the international community of professorial faculty, students, technologists, digital humanists, designers, and others whose ideas and energy power our projects.