The Early Medieval ‘British Isles’

Archaeodeath

2000px-British_Isles_Euler_diagram_15.svg ‘The British Isles’ euler diagram from wikipedia

I’ve just received critical comments back on my co-edited book project: Early Medieval Stone Monuments by the publisher’s anonymous reviewer. The review is very positive and Boydell and Brewer are publishing this book later this year.

One point intrigued me. The referee questioned our use of a geographical term in our draft book manuscript, bearing in mind our book deals with early medieval stone monuments with chapters from authors dealing with monuments in Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland. Her objection was to our use of the term ‘British Isles’. We should use ‘Britain and Ireland’ instead, she said. Well, I guess ‘British Isles’ is a modern term, not an early medieval one, but this is very interesting. How much do we need to purge our academic texts of terms that ‘might offend’ someone, somewhere? How much does it matter that we are understood and are…

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