85th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History
Landscapes of War and Peace
April 5 - 8, 2018, Louisville, Kentucky
However, in the public sphere there are really only two basic understandings of what the Crusades were. One might dub them the critical and the apologetic views. In the first, the Crusades were malicious, offensive wars intent on the destruction of Islam and/or eastern cultures and, afterward, a colonial occupation of the Levant. In the second view, the Crusades were a defensive response waged by Christians in response to four centuries of Islamic aggression against the Church. In effect, wholesale black-and-white condemnations or approvals have been the order of the day. How and if these notions correspond to serious academic research of the Crusades is an important question.
This roundtable, therefore, will center on the ways academic study has and has not affected broader understandings of the First Crusade. A panel of Crusade experts will offer unique views on crusading historiography and discuss its connection to popular notions of Christian holy war. The session should be profitable for a wide audience: medieval military historians, students of religion and war, teachers of Western or World History, and anyone interested in the public reception of historical research.