Category Archives: Grad Student News

Postcard from Italy

From left to right: Dr. Matt McGowan, Martin Nelson, and Bryan Whitchurch.

The History Department’s own blog contributor and MA student, Martin Nelson, spent the beginning of his summer helping the Fordham Classics Department guide a study tour that explored ancient Roman sites in Naples, Ostia, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and, of course, Rome. As part of the blog’s Postcard series, he had this to say about the experience… Continue reading

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Postcard from Domfront

Graduate students Rebecca Bartels, Toby Hrynick, and Thomas Schellhammer and Professor Rosemary Wakeman spent 3 days in June in the French town of Domfront in Lower Normandy. The stay was organized by Mayor Bernard Soul of Domfront and Eric Fauconnier of the Pays du Bocage Region. Domfront is a picturesque medieval town that played an important role in the wars against the English and the French Wars of Religion. Domfront’s well-known chateau was used by Henry, the youngest son of William the Conqueror to rally the local lords. He eventually became Duke of Normandy and Henry I of England. Domfront’s “Medieval Fair,” held each August, is among the most well-known in France and attracts thousands. Continue reading

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GSAS Fellowship Awarded to History PhD Candidate

Congratulations to Christine Kelly on being awarded the 2017-18 GSAS Higher Education Leadership Fellowship. The fellowship is designed as a collaborative mentorship for PhD candidates, through which the fellow engages with GSAS administration to learn the ins-and-outs of higher education administration and while providing their own ideas and insight into the graduate school to help better GSAS. Continue reading

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Congratulations to Alumnus Dr. Pedro Cameselle

Congratulations to Pedro Cameselle who has recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Western Washington University! Dr. Cameselle completed his dissertation, “A Forgotten Neighbor: The Challenge of Uruguay-United States Relations during the Era of Franklin Roosevelt, 1929-1945” at Fordham in 2016. Continue reading

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Doctoranda, Doctorandus: Celebrating Two Successful Doctoral Defenses

Doctoranda: Elizabeth Kuhl at a post-defense luncheon with her committee, Nicholas Paul, Richard Gyug, and Tom O’Donnell and examiner Maryanne Kowaleski. Doctorandus: Jonathan Woods with committee members Christopher Maginn, Susan Wabuda, and Nicholas Paul

In the Fordham History Department the month of August is often a quiet time, but the department came back to life with excitement as two doctoral students defended their dissertations after years of research, writing, and revision. The History blog congratulates Elizabeth Kuhl and Jonathan Woods, who both successfully defended in the past few weeks. Continue reading

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Postcard from Rachel Podd, Digging Up Medieval Bones in Poland

The History Department received this great postcard from PhD student Rachel Podd, who spent part of the summer at archaeology field school. Here’s what she had to say:

Note: For ethical and legal reasons, I cannot post photographs of the human remains excavated during this summer. Accordingly, the photographs within this blog post are from the Giecz website.

Skull with a coin between its teeth.

Over the course of three weeks in July, due in part to generous grants from Fordham, I was able to take part in an archaeological dig and field school run by Ohio State University in Giecz (pronounced “Getch”), Poland. Though modern Giecz is quite small, with a population of around 150 people and an hour walk to the nearest train station, it was once a center of profound political importance to the Piast dynasty, the first historical dynasty of Poland. In 966, Prince Mieszko I was baptized as a Christian, possibly at Ostrów Lednicki, and accordingly, the Piast stronghold at Giecz, which was likely constructed during the eighth century was expanded to include a chapel, though construction was never completed. Continue reading

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Grad Student Publications, A Summer Series: Pt. 4 Jeff Doolittle

Jeff Doolittle

Students in Fordham’s MA and PhD programs produce original research of the highest quality, and are encouraged to publish this work when and where it is appropriate during their time in the program. The academic year 2016-2017 saw the appearance of articles by a number of our students in different peer-reviewed volumes and journals. We asked our students who published their work to tell us a little bit about the articles and the writing process and we’ll feature these students and their publications in a short blog series.

This week we report on an article published this past year by History PhD student Jeffrey Doolittle. We recently heard about Jeff Doolittle’s adventures in the archives at the abbey of Montecassino in Italy, where he has been researching medical manuscripts on the earlier middle ages. His article, however, tackles a very different question in a much later period. Entitled “Charlemagne in Girona: Liturgy, Legend and the Memory of Siege” it addresses a liturgy composed for the emperor Charlemagne that was written in a fourteenth-century manuscript. The article was published in The Charlemagne Legend in Medieval Latin Texts, ed. William J. Purkis and Matthew Gabriele, pp. 115-47. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016.

Jeff wrote to us to describe the process of writing and revising the article:

This article has certainly changed a lot since it began as a seminar paper in Dr. Nicholas Paul’s graduate course on the crusades some six long years ago! In its published form, part of an edited volume by William Purkis and Matthew Gabriele on the Latin legends of Charlemagne, my article provides a brief overview of the cult of St. Charlemagne in Girona, Spain, which was celebrated in the cathedral of the city from the middle of the fourteenth century up until its suppression in the late fifteenth century. Central to Girona’s unique liturgical office was a narrative of Charlemagne’s role as a liberator of the city from the Muslims in the context of a dramatic siege, ultimately aided by the miraculous intercession of Mary. To make matters more interesting, there were no indications from other sources that Charlemagne himself had ever stepped foot in Girona nor had directed any attack against the city; the tradition seems to have been a later medieval development. I focus on the narrative of siege in the article, and argue that the fourteenth-century liturgy’s emphasis on Charlemagne’s imaginary siege of Girona and his triumph should be read against the much more recent and traumatic siege, also at the hands of a French crusading king from the north during the Crusade against Aragon (1284-5), where Girona was also the victim. This project has taken a long journey as it has transformed with Dr. Paul’s help from an inchoate seminar paper to a more focused conference paper given at the International Medieval Conference at a session organized by Drs. Purkis and Gabriele, and finally to a published contribution in their volume. Above all, I am grateful for the guidance and constructive comments at each juncture from many people, all of which helped effect this transformation.

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Grad Student Publications, A Summer Series: Pt. 3 Louisa Foroughi

Students in Fordham’s MA and PhD programs produce original research of the highest quality, and are encouraged to publish this work when and where it is appropriate during their time in the program. The academic year 2016-2017 saw the appearance of articles by a number of our students in different peer-reviewed volumes and journals. We asked our students who published their work to tell us a little bit about the articles and the writing process and we’ll feature these students and their publications in a short blog series.

Doctoral candidate Louisa Foroughi

This week we highlight the work of Louisa Foroughi, a PhD candidate mentored by Dr. Maryanne Kowaleski. Louisa recently published a book chapter entitled “‘If yt be a nacion’: Vernacular Scripture and English Nationhood in Columbia University Library, Plimpton MS 259.” The chapter was published in the collection Europe After Wyclif, edited by  J. Patrick Hornbeck II and Michael van Dussen (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017), pp. 265-287. .

Louisa’s work puts two heretical tracts from fifteenth-century England into their social and religious context. These two tracts were likely written as part of a series of debates over bible translation that took place at Oxford in the late fourteenth century, sparked by the reformer John Wyclif. His ideas and the English bible produced by his followers were both condemned as heretical by Archbishop Arundel in 1407, but, as Louisa’s work shows, interest in and desire for an English bible continued through the end of the fifteenth century.

The story of how Louisa came to write this piece is a tale of true interdisciplinarity, and it underscores the dynamic nature of medieval studies at Fordham. Louisa found these tracts, one of them previously unknown to scholars, during a manuscript studies class led by Dr. Susanne Hafner that she took in the first semester of her master’s degree at Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies. She subsequently presented a talk about the tracts at a conference organized at Fordham by J. Patrick Hornbeck II of Fordham’s Department of Theology and Michael van Dussen of McGill University, and her work was published in the peer-reviewed edited collection of papers that developed out of that conference. Louisa’s archival research on the owners of the tracts during summer 2014 led her to develop a dissertation project that explores the tastes and self-construction of yeomen in late medieval England, a project that has been generously funded by Fordham’s History Department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Congrats, Louisa! We look forward to reading about more exciting discoveries from the archives.

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Grad Student Publications, A Summer Series: Pt 2: Elizabeth Kuhl

Students in Fordham’s MA and PhD programs produce original research of the highest quality, and are encouraged to publish this work when and where it is appropriate during their time in the program. The academic year 2016-2017 saw the appearance of articles by a number of our students in different peer-reviewed volumes and journals. We asked our students who published their work to tell us a little bit about the articles and the writing process and we’ll feature these students and their publications in a short blog series.

This week we feature the work of Elizabeth Kuhl. Elizabeth is a medievalist in the final stages of her PhD at Fordham. Publishing is nothing new for Elizabeth: the first fruits of her dissertation were published in the Journal of Medieval History in 2014. She recently published her second article: a contribution to the volume A Companion to the Abbey of Le Bec in the Central Middle Ages (11th-13th Centuries), edited by Benjamin Pohl and Laura Gathagan. We reached out to Elizabeth to ask her a bit about the article and how it relates to the work she’s done for her dissertation.

My article focuses on education at the monastery of Bec in the central Middle Ages. Evidence for how schooling worked in this period is limited, so I used books the monks produced to get at their topics and methods of study. The monks combined excerpts from classical texts on the trivium with patristics and with their own works in many genres. It seems that creating this kind of personal florilegium was a common part of intellectual life at Bec. The books show that the monks were in touch with methods of education at the nascent universities, but that they also had their own emphasis on integrating literary and logical skill into a total way of life centered around study and prayer. While doing archival research for my dissertation, I looked at as many surviving manuscripts from Bec as possible, and noticed that a number of them shared these characteristics; my preliminary conference paper on the manuscripts eventually turned into this chapter.

Thanks Elizabeth, and keep up the great work!

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Postcard from the Archives: Jeffrey Doolittle

We received a postcard from PhD student Jeffrey Doolittle updating us on his year as a Fordham University GSAS Research Fellow:

A medievalist at work: Jeff’s workplace in the reading room at the abbey of Montecassino

Throughout this past spring, I have been happily ensconced in Italy conducting research for my dissertation. I am currently exploring the medical culture of the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino in the ninth-century through a study of one of its products, Archivio dell’Abbazia, Codex 69, a project that requires an extensive codicological and paleographical analysis of a small corpus of manuscripts written in the Beneventan script. Thanks to a GSAS Research Fellowship, I was able to visit a number of archives in Northern Europe last fall; this spring and summer, I spent most of my time in Cassino researching at the Archivio dell’Abbazia of Montecassino under the patient guidance of the archivist, Don Mariano Dell’Omo. St. Benedict’s famous monastery, of course, is located at the top of a mountain, and the archive is also only open in the morning when buses do not run. So I woke up especially early and hiked up every day, a trip that ordinarily took about 1.5 hours. Fortunately, and in the spirit of Benedictine moderation, I did not have to walk both ways; there was a bus to come back down.

The “Chiostro del Bramante”- one of the two cloisters of the abbey of Montecassino

When not at the Archive, I was able to make use of the resources of the “Laboratorio per lo studio del libro antico” at Università degli Studi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale and its incredible digital library of medieval manuscripts, and I remain especially thankful for the expertise and kind assistance of the curators of the laboratory, Drs. Lidia Buono, Eugenia Russo and Stella Migliorino. Using Cassino as a base, I have also been able to visit the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence), the Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome), the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City) and the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples.

Since July 1, I have moved on to the United Kingdom where I will deliver a paper at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds. I will also visit a few additional archives in the UK and Ireland including the Hunter Library in Glasgow, before returning home by the end of July.

 

Thanks for the postcard, Jeff. We look forward to seeing you when you’re back and hearing more about your research and archival discoveries.

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