Recently scholars have called for an Indigenous turn in medieval studies that challenges the historical assumptions of the field by actively engaging in a decolonial and anticolonial praxis. This essay argues that this turn must confront the problem of reciprocity that arises from distinct Indigenous and medieval articulations of sovereignty, which reveal the potential of this tenuous intersection despite the possibility of irreconcilable antagonisms. Tracing sovereignty—specifically through a “politics of recognition” as proposed by the Yellowknives Dene scholar Glen Coulthard—in Dante’s Monarchia (and Paradiso) and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony provides an analytic example of this comparative framework, since both authors challenge readers to question the imposition of authority and the logics that legitimate and justify dominant forms of governance. Yet Dante and Silko also draw on distinct articulations of sovereignty that suggest the limitations of decolonial and anticolonial praxis within a field bound to a Western episteme that underwrites colonial and imperial authority.

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