In addition to holding prestigious external awards, such as the Fulbright fellowship, the Schallek Fellowship of the Medieval Academy of America, or awards associated with particular regions and countries, and in addition to Fordham’s own Distinguished Fellowships, the History Department offers funding for a semester’s work in the archives that we call the Archival Research Assistantship. This year’s inaugural holder of the Archival Research Assistantship is Sal Cipriano. A historian of universities and the state in the Early Modern period, Sal wrote to us from Dublin, where he is on the second leg of his overseas journey, to tell us about his work in the archives and libraries of Scotland and Ireland.
Category Archives: Student Awards
Every year, Fordham graduate students head to the archives to pursue their research projects. We wrote to Stephanie De Paola, holder of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Research Fellowship, for an update on her work in both Italian and American archives for her dissertation, An Intimate Occupation: Race, Gender, and Sexual Violence in Occupied Italy and Post 1945 Memory. Read on for Stephanie’s postcard from the archives.
Each year the History department awards its highest honor for excellence in graduate scholarship, the Loomie Prize. The Loomie prize is awarded to the best seminar paper produced during the previous academic year. All M.A. and Ph.D. students who have taken the proseminar/seminar sequence or a research tutorial are eligible. The prize for 2015 was awarded to Rachel Podd and Christine Kelly.
Rachel Podd‘s paper “Interrogating the Guaridoras: Women, Medicine and Magic in Catalonia before the Plague” was written under supervision of Alex Novikoff. The Loomie judges noted that it was based on rich source material, and offered a convincing argument about why and how these sources could be useful to scholars beyond those who specialize in 14th century Catalonia. Rachel wrote that “these documents offer a window… into a vibrant and dynamic world. Within them, one may find Saracens and Christians, men and women, as well as spells and incantations for the health of people and of animals. Through close reading and contextualization, they can elucidate the lives of individuals performing curative activities outside of the major civic centers of Catalonia before the arrival of the plague – what types of diseases did they treat, and how? If caught, what punishment could they expect from the ecclesiastical judicial structure?” Hence, Rachel demonstrated how these records sit at the juncture of vernacular medicine, episcopal control, and inquisition.
Christine Kelly‘s paper “Gender, the Popular Front, and the Folksong Revival through Sing Out! Magazine, 1950 – 1968″ written under supervision of Kirsten Swinth. Her essay is an outstanding example of cultural analysis built from the gritty work of data collecting. By categorizing hundreds of articles in the folk music periodical, Sing Out!, Christine developed a highly original thesis about the discourse of gender in the 1960s folk music revival. She overturned a conventional division between the leftist cultural movements of the 1930s, and those of the 1960s, showing that folk revivalists in the 1960s resurrected familiar tropes and narratives of gender from the 1930s. These were ultimately highly traditionalist, premising an anti-capitalist utopia on an idealized view of the American past where women remained tied to “traditional domestic and reproductive spaces” and “men were more responsible for carrying out the daily operations of political thought and cultural innovation that constituted the engine [of the] folk song revival.”
We reached out to Rachel and Christine for details about their work and how they developed the ideas and research for their papers.
Fordham History Department’s own Esther Liberman Cuenca was recently awarded the Schallek Fellowship, a one-year grant of $30,000 to support Ph.D. dissertation research in any relevant discipline (art history, literature, history, etc.) dealing with late medieval Britain (ca. 1350-1500). Not only is this a prestigious honor but it will allow Esther to conduct research critical to the completion of her dissertation.
Esther’s research focuses on the development and evolution of borough customary law in medieval Britain. Borough customs were practices or traditions that over time acquired the force of law within the town. Her analytical goals are twofold: to contribute to a deeper understanding of the place of urban customary law within the British legal system, and to reveal custom’s role in the emergence of a distinct bourgeois identity in medieval Britain. Borough customary law has received little scholarly attention because of its scattered distribution in many local and county archives; the need for multi-lingual expertise in Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and Middle English; and the difficulty of dating customary clauses and ordinances from multiple iterative copies.
Since she reached ABD status at Fordham in 2012, Esther has been teaching multiple courses at Marymount California University and this fellowship will give her the opportunity to focus fully on completing her dissertation. She plans to spend the 2016-2017 year living in England where she can complete her research at the Bristol Record Office and London Metropolitan Archives. In 2013, Esther was also the recipient of the Schallek Award, which is a small grant of $2,000 to help students cover research expenses. “The Medieval Academy/Richard III Society have been very kind to me! And I’m very grateful that they’re supporting my research,” says Esther. The History Department is grateful as well, and very excited for Esther to seize this opportunity!
The History Department is proud to introduce one of its newest initiatives, the Mannion Society. Named in honor of the late Professor Anne Mannion, an alumna of Fordham’s school of education who went on to teach at Fordham for 53 years, the Mannion society was established by the History Department to identify outstanding history majors and to encourage their development as specifically as researchers. At the center of the historian’s craft is the process of research and writing. Members of the Mannion Society, therefore work intensively with a faculty member to identify a suitable research question, work intensively in researching that question, and then turn that work into a persuasive argument. In the end, members will have an outstanding foundation when they turn to apply for jobs, graduate school or prestigious fellowships.
Cristina Iannarino (FCRH ’17) wrote to tell us about how her work in the Mannion society had helped her in the process of doing original research:
I had done research with Dr. Myers in one of my previous history courses (Honors Early Modern Europe), in which I had traced the origin of the tomato and its significance to understanding the nature of contact between regions in Europe (and by extension, the New World). For that project, I had traced the earliest known sixteenth-century Italian source to describe the tomato and its novel usage as a culinary ingredient. I found that herbalists surrounding European regions outside of Italy had appropriated the same description and usage in their own works, demonstrating the effect Italian writing and usage of the tomato at the time had on establishing the tomato as an essential culinary ingredient—its status today. This was an experience that I know I will never forget, especially as an aspiring historian. I knew from that moment on, I was eager to do this kind of research again and deepen my understanding of the art of historical research. I wanted to equip myself with the same skills necessary to produce that same “aha-moment” of research and realize that it is not simply due to chance, but also, a product of dedication and passion. With the Mannion Society’s goal to reproduce the same spectacular moment in which one’s research clicks into something of significance and answers the “So what?” question historians face, I have been thoroughly enjoying expanding my knowledge on the process with Dr. Stoll that had been introduced to me by Dr. Myers. Along with the help of The Craft of Research and Dr. Stoll’s advising, I have delved into the intricacies of the process of producing original research, making the path much clearer and seem less intimidating with each meeting. While I am still gathering the specifics of the project, the advice from Dr. Stoll and my peers in the Mannion Society have helped me focus my research to the Early Modern experience/conception of “melancholy” and how important communal figures at the time, especially clergymen, recognized this as an illness, or something that deserved to be addressed and treated. Members of the clergy acted as the period’s first physicians, producing a wealth of “self-help” material and giving sermons on the matter. I find this relationship between sufferers of melancholy and the clergy to be fascinating, and am hoping to contribute significance to the subject. Because of the Mannion Society, I feel that I am more prepared to do so.
We’re excited to see what other Mannion Society members are up to, and we’ll let you know about the progress of their ongoing research.
Graduate students in the History Department collected over a dozen awards at this year’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Awards Ceremony. There was a great turnout as historians came to be recognized and to join in the well-earned celebration.
The full list of students receiving awards in 2015
Melissa Arredia, Senior Teaching Fellowship
Edoardo Marcello Barsotti, GSAS Summer Fellowship
Alisa Beer, Senior Teaching Fellowship
Salvatore Cipriano, Jr., Archival Research Assistantship, Research Support Grant, Professional Development Grant
Stephanie DePaola, Research Fellowship
Jeffrey Doolittle, Senior Teaching Fellowship
Louisa Foroughi, GSAS Summer Fellowship
Brandon Gauthier, Alumni Dissertation Fellowship
Tobias Hrynick, HASTAC Fellowship, Loomie Prize
Christine Kelly, American Studies Summer Institute Fellowship
Stephen Leccese, American Studies Summer Institute Fellowship
Christopher Rose, Paul A. Levack Award
Louie Valencia, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow
Pedro Cameselle, Research Support Grant
Laurence Jurdem, Research Support Grant
Joseph Passaro, Research Support Grant
Alessandro Saluppo, Professional Development Grant
We’ve posted here before about the wonderful opportunities provided to Fordham graduate students and faculty by the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth. PhD Candidate Christine Kelly sent us these reflections of her time at the institute– her training as a cultural historian gives her a unique perspective on the value of these interdisciplinary gatherings. Continue reading
At the annual Spring Party hosted by the Center for Medieval Studies, prizes were announced for the best essays written by graduate students in the past year. The judges of this year’s competition were visiting fellows David Wrisley, PhD of the American University in Beirut and Helen Birkett, PhD of the University of Exeter. They awarded the O’Callahan prize to Tobias Hrynick–his paper was detailed in an earlier post on this blog when it won the Loomie Prize from the History Department– and they awarded the First Year Essay Prize to Ruth Whaley. Ruth completed her MA in History at Fordham in August 2014, concentrating in Medieval History. The award winning essay “Story-Telling at Sea: Changes in the Crusade Chronicle”, compared two crusade chronicles written by crusaders who traveled by sea. These sea-borne narratives are, compared with what Whaley calls “terra-narratives”, little studied, and have notably evaded the attention of the recent literary-critical and narratologically-inflected studies of crusade chronicles. Whaley’s paper also introduced a novel methodology for reading and comparing the two texts- one based on the unique challenges and perspectives associated with the experiences of travelling by sea. This experiential approach highlights the unfamiliarity of most medieval Europeans with the sea and the extreme and transformative effect of sea travel among those unaccustomed to it.
Whaley currently lives in New York where she enjoys being a member of NYC Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) and meeting lots of current educators and museum professionals. Since graduating in August 2o14 she has attended numerous events and conferences hosted by various NYC institutions as she pursues museum education and informal learning in cultural institutions more broadly. Congratulations Ruth!