Monthly Archives: December 2015
Fordham Undergraduates Attend Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Moravian College
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!
HGSA Seminar: Christina Bruno on Microhistory and Her Research on Franciscan Spirituality, Thursday 6PM
As the semester draws to a close, we would like to invite the History Department graduate students and faculty to an HGSA Research Seminar by Fordham Ph.D. candidate Christina Bruno entitled “Small Facts and Large Issues: Writing a Microhistory of the Observance,” to be held this Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 pm in Keating 116.
Christina’s dissertation, entitled “Church Law and Society in Late Medieval Bologna: A Franciscan Vademecum in Context” centers around a single manuscript compiled by an Italian Observant Franciscan friar at the turn of the sixteenth century. For this presentation, Christina will introduce her manuscript source and her dissertation more generally, as well as offer her own solutions (so far) to the potential methodological problems associated with the microhistorical approach.
This talk, part of an ongoing graduate student Research Seminar Series organized by the HGSA, is open to all students and faculty. This series serves as a forum for advanced History graduate students to share their dissertation projects and research experiences with a wider audience. We will likely head over to the Bronx Beer Hall afterward for further convivial discussion. Please come!
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.