Introduction (Chapter 1)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Social Sciences


This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book begins with a desire to have a series of sessions at the Kalamazoo International Congress on Medieval Studies and at the Leeds International Medieval Congress in 2012 to celebrate the semicentennial of Lynn White Jr.’s Medieval Technology and Social Change. It highlights where White’s views have been influential as well as where they no longer seem to resonate. The book discusses historiographical reflections on White and his work. It describes the studies directly or indirectly inspired by White’s work and/or approach. The book focuses on to several case studies that are very much in the vein of White’s work. It demonstrates the new directions that the broad sorts of questions White pioneered have taken.

Publication Title

Fifty Years of Medieval Technology and Social Change