Undergraduate Grace Rooney Presents Poster at the 136th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Philadelphia

Undergraduate Grace Rooney (Fordham class of 2023) presented her poster entitled “Lesbian Activity and Participation in the National Organization for Women in the 1980s” at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia which took place 5-8 January 2023. Over 1,500 individuals participated in the event and Grace was one of 20 undergraduates to present a poster. Great work Grace!

To learn more about Grace’s research you can read her poster abstract below:

My research question revolved around how the National Organization for Women (NOW), as a mainstream feminist organization, advocated for and included lesbian members in the 1980s. Publications that I examined from the 1980s, including an annual Lesbian Rights Resource Kit, a Lesbian Rights Lobbying Kit, and a Lesbian Rights Conference. These sources are unique and distinct from the 1980s, and no such sources exist for the 1970s. This distinction shows the escalation of NOW’s work on lesbian rights, and more in-depth issue areas which targeted rising homophobia from the right, as well as defending the idea of lesbian rights as a women’s issue. Since lesbian rights had long been controversial in NOW, I also examined the resulting controversies within the organization over lesbian rights in the 1980s. One of the controversies within the organization was over how to respond to homophobic attacks from the right. There was a major debate within NOW at the time between members, who advocated for the organization to take a step away from gay rights work and advocate for feminism as a “pro-family” ideology in line with the rhetoric of the right-wing at the time, while leadership dismissed this view and increased their public-facing work in support of gay rights. Another controversy I examined was over the 1980 Resolution on Pornography, Sadomasochism, and Public Sex. This resolution stated that all of these sexual issues were exploitative of women and that any association with gay rights was entirely and always erroneous. Many lesbian members and outside organizations took issue with the authoritative and definitive tone of NOW when describing the relationship between feminism, gay rights, and sex. Overall, the 1980s presented a unique context of rising conservative power, as well as internal controversy over issues areas of feminism like sex and pornography. 

Grace also shared some thoughts on her experience:

I really enjoyed my experience at the AHA. One of the best parts of the conference was being able to meet other undergraduate students who were presenting their research from around the country, and who are going through similar experiences as me. The AHA felt intimidating at first as an undergraduate, but meeting other students who were doing the same thing, and talking about our research really helped. Also, they are all applying to graduate school and figuring out what they want to do with history as a career, so talking to them about that was also very helpful and encouraging. 

I was able to go to a variety of sessions, the first being the plenary session about the role of historians in teaching and examining through the lens of social justice. I found this panel very interesting, as those are questions I think about when considering the field as well. There were a lot of very interesting things that the panelists said, but I enjoyed their discussion of the idea that history and the history we study tend to be autobiographical, which I found resonated with a lot of scholars and made me think a little differently about the field. Also, I was able to attend two Fordham professor’s panels, Professor Huezo and Professor Miki. I found their panels to be very fascinating and also useful for me as their subject matter is fairly far away from my own, and they both came and listened to my poster as well, which was very nice to have a friendly face there as well. As far as panels in my field, I attended one on global feminism that I found to be particularly interesting, as well as one on Irish women’s communication networks which taught me a lot, and made me question similar topics in the United States and their relationship to Irish groups given how close the countries work in a lot of areas. 

Presenting the poster was definitely the highlight of the conference though. I was able to talk to a variety of professors, and undergraduate and graduate students. Discussing my research helped me a lot in how I could cohesively organize and present the information that I had found, which I had struggled with in writing the corresponding paper because I felt a little bit all over the place. I received a lot of good feedback on the poster, and I also was able to talk about graduate school and further my research with a variety of people, which was great. My major takeaways from the conference will be greater confidence in my research and its organization of it, as well as a wider understanding of the diversity of the field, and how more difficult questions within it can be answered. I also am very reaffirmed in my interest in research, and continuing that in my graduate school and career.

Grace Rooney stands in front of her poster “Lesbian Activity and Participation in the National Organization for Women in the 1980s” at the 136th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Philadelphia, which took place 5-8 January 2023.

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Dr. Bruce and PhD Student Ben Bertrand publish their article entitled “Ex sanctorum patrum certissimis testimoniis: Reading the Greek Fathers in Latin in Early Medieval Monasteries” in the Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies

Dr. Scott G. Bruce, Professor of History, and Benjamin A. Bertrand, PhD Student in History, co-authored their article “Ex sanctorum patrum certissimis testimoniis: Reading the Greek Fathers in Latin in Early Medieval Monasteries” which was published in the Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies. Congratulations Dr. Bruce and Ben!

You can access their article here. Below is the abstract:

Monastic reading communities in early medieval Europe had a voracious appetite for the works of the Greek church fathers in Latin translation. This article examines the evidence for the availability of translated Greek patristics in western abbeys from the fifth to the ninth centuries through a survey of surviving manuscripts and monastic library inventories. While there was not yet a canon of officially recognized ‘fathers of the eastern church’ in early medieval Europe, this article shows how western monks favoured five of the six Greek patriarchs singled out as authoritative in the sixth-century Decretum Gelasianum. In terms of genre, they strongly preferred the homiletical writings of eastern Christian authors over their polemical works, because sermons and biblical homilies had greater utility as tools for teaching and preaching. Lastly, this article highlights the fact that the most widely copied Greek church father in early medieval Europe was also the most notorious and suspect thinker in the eastern church: Origen of Alexandria, whose skill as an author of biblical commentaries outweighed his notoriety as a condemned theologian in the eyes of western monks.

Cover of the Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies

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Dr. Turan a guest on the BBC’s The Forum Podcast on Süleyman the Magnificent

Dr. Ebru Turan, Assistant Professor of History, was an expert guest on the BBC podcast The Forum, the episode was entitled, “Süleyman the Magnificent: longest-reigning Ottoman sultan.”

You can listen to the full 39 minute podcast here. Below is the description of the episode:

“The 46-year reign of Süleyman the Magnificent across central Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East was defined by territorial expansion and economic growth, as well as a flowering of art, architecture and culture.

The epithet ‘magnificent’ invites us to believe the Ottoman sultan could do no wrong. But he broke with precedent on several occasions and his private life came in for criticism. So how much does he owe his reputation to his advisers?

Bridget Kendall is joined by Gábor Ágoston, professor of history at Georgetown University in Washington DC and author of many books on the Ottomans, including The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe; Ebru Turan, assistant professor of History at Fordham University. She’s writing a book entitled Last World Emperor: The Origins of Ottoman-Habsburg Imperial Rivalry in the Apocalyptic Mediterranean, 1516-1527; and Marc David Baer, professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He’s published widely on the Ottoman empire, including The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs, which was published in 2021.”

Episode description take from The Forum website.
Image of Süleyman the Magnificent from Wikipedia Commons

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Dr. Comuzzi publishes an article entitled “Guild formation and the artisanal labour market: the example of Castelló d’Empúries, 1260–1310” in the Journal of Medieval History

Dr. Elizabeth Comuzzi, Assistant Professor of History, published her article entitled “Guild formation and the artisanal labour market: the example of Castelló d’Empúries, 1260–1310” in the Journal of Medieval History. Congratulations Dr. Comuzzi!

Below is the abstract:

This article examines artisanal employment agreements from the Catalan town of Castelló d’Empúries from 1260–1310, the period before and just after the formation of the first craft guild in that town. It addresses why craft guilds formed and what advantage guilds offered medieval artisans in contrast to pre-guild systems, with a focus on the market for artisanal training. The pre-guild artisanal labour market in late thirteenth-century Castelló was highly flexible, with a variety of terms and contract types under which craft training could be acquired. Artisans were free to make any agreement they found mutually satisfactory, but they were also at the mercy of the market. Trained artisans were not always the ones with higher resources and power compared to prospective learners. The cloth-finishers’ guild of Castelló closely monitored the market for training in their craft, and standardised the terms and contract formats under which training was offered.

Front Cover of the Journal of Medieval History

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PhD Student Matt Mulhern publishes his article “Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Arc of Crisis and the Origin of U.S. Involvement in Afghanistan” in The Graduate History Review.

PhD Student Matt Mulhern publishes his article “Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Arc of Crisis and the Origin of U.S. Involvement in Afghanistan” in The Graduate History Review. Congratulations Matt!

Below is the abstract:

Zbigniew Brzezinski misrepresented Soviet motivations in their Afghan invasion to pursue his own geo-political agenda in the “arc of crisis” region that became a primary focus for the shift in strategic planning during the Carter administration. Based on State Department documents released in December 2018, in addition to former Soviet-era primary sources from the Cold War International History Project, the article describes how Brzezinski misread Soviet intentions and facilitated a response that later metastasized into something the U.S. could not control once the Reagan administration continued Carter’s arming of the most radical elements of the Afghan rebellion. Despite Brzezinski’s efforts to increase the U.S. footprint in the Middle East having such a consequential impact on American foreign policy during the past 40 years, scholars are only beginning to understand the full weight of these moves during the final years of the Carter administration.

Cover image of the Graduate History Review featuring the side profile of a woman at a desk reading a book
Cover image of The Graduate History Review

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Esther Liberman Cuenca (History Ph.D., 2019) awarded three fellowships

Esther Liberman Cuenca (Ph.D., 2019)

Esther Liberman Cuenca (PhD History, 2019), now an assistant professor at the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV), has recently been awarded three fellowships. They include a UHV Junior Faculty Grant for summer 2021, a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society 2022-23, and a Junior Mellon Membership at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies for 2022-23. She will spend her time in Princeton revising her Fordham doctoral dissertation into a monograph entitled “The Making of Urban Customary Law in Medieval Britain.” Dr Cuenca has also recently published “Led Zeppelin— ‘Immigrant Song’: Viking Medievalisms and the Afterlife of Classic Rock,” in One-Track Mind: Capitalism and the Art of the Pop Song (London: Routledge, 2022). In 2023, she has an essay forthcoming in Continuity and Change and is serving as guest editor of “Representations of the Medieval in Popular Culture: Remembering the Angevins,” a special collection for Open Library of Humanities.

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Dr. Penry awarded a Rome Prize

Dr. Elizabeth Penry was recently awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome for her project “The Italian Renaissance in Diaspora: Jesuit Education and Indigenous Modernities.”

Dr. Penry (second from left, middle row) with Rome Prize winners

From the announcement: 
“The American Academy in Rome announced today the winners of the 2022–23 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships. These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. This year, the gift of “time and space to think and work” was awarded to thirty-eight American and four Italian artists and scholars. They will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, starting in September 2022.

Rome Prize winners are selected annually by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition. The eleven disciplines supported by the Academy are: ancient studies, architecture, design, historic preservation and conservation, landscape architecture, literature, medieval studies, modern Italian studies, music composition, Renaissance and early modern studies, and visual arts. The selected candidates were ratified by the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome.

Nationwide, the Rome Prize competition received 909 applications, representing 47 US states and territories and 19 different countries. Thirty-three Rome Prizes were awarded to 37 individuals (four prizes are collaborations), representing an acceptance rate of 3.6 percent.” 

For more information on the American Academy in Rome and the Rome Prize, click here.

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Dr. Nana Osei-Opare awarded two fellowships

Dr. Nana Osei-Opare received the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors in the School of Historical Studies for the 2022–2023 academic year. He also received the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Fellowship for their Scholars-in-Residence Program for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Dr. Nana Osei-Opare

His book project, Socialist De-Colony: Soviet & Black Entanglements in Ghana’s Decolonization and Cold War Projects, is described as “the first monograph to unpack, rethink, and tie Ghana’s Cold War and political-economic projects within larger socialist and Marxist debates from multiple ideological and geographic vantage points.” More information about the project can be found on Dr. Osei-Opare’s faculty profile. Congratulations!

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Dr. Penry wins Best Book Prize from the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies

The “Best First” Book Prize Committee for the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies has voted unanimously to award this year’s prize, which considered first monographs published between 2019 and 2021, to S. Elizabeth Penry’s The People Are King: The Making of an Indigenous Andean Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). Drawing on an impressive array of documentation from a long list of archives on both sides of the Atlantic, The People Are King advances a convincing and timely revisionary examination of the processes by which Andean peoples within the viceroyalty of Peru strategically submitted to, collaborated with, and resisted Spanish imperial institutions from the sixteenth-century conquests through the age of revolutions and independence into the modern day. Via an exploration of the long-term development of five Andean highland towns and the ways in which their local populaces forged the social institution of the común to identify and assert their common interests and attain greater agency, Penry brilliantly demonstrates how indigenous peoples appropriated, refashioned, and repurposed Christian and Spanish ideas of natural rights and sovereignty, blending them with pre-conquest Andean principles of community obligation, in order to navigate the legal landscape and manipulate power structures within the Spanish-ruled administrative framework. Her expertly crafted book exhibits a rare level of erudition and historical craftsmanship for a first monograph and promises to serve as both an essential reference work for those working in the field and an aspirational exemplar for all historians.

Congratulations, Dr. Penry!

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Dr. Elizabeth Penry wins Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society

Dr. Elizabeth Penry has been awarded a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society. The grant will be used to support her new research project titled “The Italian Renaissance in Diaspora: Jesuit Education and Indigenous Modernities.” Her project reexamines early modern Jesuit education in the Viceroyalty of Peru. Congratulations to Dr. Penry!

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