Garret J. McDonald, PhD Candidate, publishes an article entitled “Journeys through the Past and to the Future: V. A. Obruchev and Popular Enlightenment in the Natural Sciences, 1886–1956” in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Garret J. McDonald, PhD Candidate, published his article entitled “Journeys through the Past and to the Future: V. A. Obruchev and Popular Enlightenment in the Natural Sciences, 1886–1956” in The Society and Post-Soviet Review. Congratulations Garret!

Below is the Abstract:

This essay examines the life and career of famed Russian geologist, geographer, and academician of the Soviet Academy of Sciences V. A. Obruchev. By emphasizing Obruchev’s commitment to popular enlightenment within and beyond his scientific disciplines, a clearer portrait of Obruchev’s lasting influence in Soviet science and literature emerges. Over the course of his career, Obruchev devised an original model of public science, one that renegotiated the traditional boundaries between science fiction, popular science, and academic discourse. As a result, Obruchev’s scientific research granted form and function to his popular fiction and his fiction, in turn, provided a space to explore the possibilities of scientific hypotheses and promote the active research of the scientific phenomena Obruchev considered significant. By the time of Obruchev’s death in 1956, other natural scientists, especially geoscientists, and science fiction authors had coopted Obruchev’s approach to popular enlightenment, cementing his legacy.

Cover of The Society and Post-Soviet Review

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Dr. Bruce, Professor of History, and Dr. Lucy Barnhouse, Fordham history department alum, published in American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History

Dr. Scott Bruce, Professor of History, and Dr. Lucy Barnhouse, Fordham history department alum (2017) and currently Assistant Professor of History at Arkansas State University, both had featured articles appear in the February issue of the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History. Both their articles deal with the theme of ghosts.

Both articles are available to read for free.

You can read Dr. Bruce’s article “Hope in the Dark: History and Ghost Stories” here.

You can read Dr. Barnhouse’s article “Phantom Encounters: Building a Course around Ghosts” here.

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From the Archives: Patrick Debrosse, PhD Candidate visits the Archives départementales de la Haute-Vienne in Limoges, France

Patrick DeBrosse –  History department PhD Candidate (Cohort 2017-18) working with Dr. Nicholas L. Paul – is currently working on his dissertation, entitled: “Adorned with the Ring of St. Valerie”: History, Lyric, and Political Culture in the Limousin under Angevin Rule, 1154-1215.” In this week’s From the Archives, Patrick shares some of his experiences while researching at the

What is your current research on?

My doctoral dissertation examines the political culture of the Limousin region of France (around Limoges) in the aftermath of the region’s annexation into the Angevin Empire, a polity ruled by the kings of England during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. I attempt to use the writings of monks and the songs of troubadours to understand how medieval imperialism worked at a local level. I am particularly interested in the effect that living in a large empire had on Limousin expressions of identity, constructions of history, and perceptions of the wider world.

My research in the summer of 2022 focused on my chapter which explores the construction of history within the Limousin. I want to understand which new historical stories interested the people of the Limousin during the Angevin period, how Limousin monks and troubadours used history to reinforce their political values, and ways that Limousin authors reinvented old historical stories to maintain their relevance in a new era. A major goal of my summer research was to investigate the figure of St. Valerie, a woman venerated as an ancient martyr within the Limousin. 

What archive(s) did you visit and can you describe the archive a little?

One of the archives I visited this past summer was the Archives départementales de la Haute-Vienne in Limoges, France. This is a small archive run by the local government on the outskirts of the city. I went for the medieval material, but they had much more that would have been of interest to scholars of early modernity and modernity. 

The building is fairly inconspicuous from the main street (there is a lining of trees), and the signs are small, so it can be easy to miss: it took me a minute to convince myself that I was in the right place. The inside, however, is very clean and well-maintained, and a lot of the things inside looked relatively new. You are supposed to register for a research pass before you arrive. After you deposit your bag in the lockers by the entrance, you can pick up your pass at the main desk (straight ahead, at the end of the corridor and through the doors).  

The staff is smaller than you would find at a major archive, but large relative to the number of researchers that I saw working. There are usually at least two staff behind the desk to assist you. None of them seemed to be fluent in English, but if you (like me) struggle with spoken French, they are very patient should you need to write down the French or use a translator app on your phone. You choose your own seat, and are allowed to take photographs.

To request documents/manuscripts, you write the information on a paper slip in pencil. They will bring the box/folder to you at your seat when it is ready, but only one at a time. When you are finished with one box/folder, you can return it to the cart at the desk, hand the staff member the accompanying slip, and receive your next item. There are charging ports built into the research desks, but I did have trouble fitting my Apple laptop charger into them (it was too bulky to fit into the cubby). They also have a couple of rows of desktop computers. 

A particularly useful part of this archive are the open-shelf printed materials that line two walls of the reading room. These include print catalogs which are mostly digitized, but which are easier to skim in hard copy. They also include a number of rarer local history resources, such as a complete set of the Bulletin de la Société archéologique et historique du Limousin

 What was the most exciting part of your archival trip?

For me, the most exciting part of the trip was seeing some of the autograph notes written by the monk Bernard Itier. The vast majority of the material I work with survives only in later copies, but in the case of Bernard, it is possible to find the original, handwritten notes that he wrote into the blank spaces of other manuscripts. It is really great to see these notes in person, since even though some of the notes are edited, the materiality of the notes is not always clear to me. In this archive, I got to see several small documents that Bernard had used almost as scrap paper: charters, chirographs, etc. This material context allows me to imagine Bernard’s writing practices much better than I could without seeing them for myself.

What was a challenge you encountered during your research? How did you overcome it?

It was unbearably hot during my time in Limoges (I think it was close to the all-time record high in France). Since my hotel was a far walk, and there was no feasible transit alternative, I had to time my walks very carefully so that I was not risking heat stroke at the peak hours of sunlight. It also meant that I had to acquire sunscreen and a hat, and figure out which routes to the archive took me through the most shade. Since I didn’t want to walk all the way back to town in the heat at lunchtime, I had to get smarter about planning my meal times and packing snacks in my bag to eat in the coffee area. Plenty of water was key. And (at the risk of TMI), I had to make sure that I didn’t request my manuscripts too quickly when I arrived, since the last thing you want is to get sweat on something from the twelfth century.

What’s a good museum to visit while in Limoges?

The Musée des Beaux Arts was incredible. It is right next to the cathedral (which hosts food and antique fairs during the summer), and it has a really nice garden with a view of the city behind it. The building is the old bishops’ palace, and is stunning. The exhibits range from Roman and medieval artifacts (in the basement) to paintings to enamel artworks. Enamel is the artistic medium for which Limoges is famous, and I absolutely loved seeing their displays show the evolution of the art form from the twelfth century to the twentieth century. It was very cool. 

Did you receive any funding to support your research?

The GSAS Mary Magdalene Impact Fellowship.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing historical research?

Talk to as many people as possible first: all our best ideas usually flow from conversations with friends and mentors. 

A French meal. Patrick’s argument for researching in France. 

From the Archives is a special series for the Fordham History blog which highlights the research experiences of members of the history department in an effort to both showcase their work and provide insight for future researchers preparing for their own archival projects.

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Dr. Kirsten Swinth publishes an article entitled “Debating the Fate of the Homemaker: The ERA and the Death of the Family Wage” in the journal of Gender & History

Dr. Kirsten Swinth, Professor of History, published her article entitled “Debating the Fate of the Homemaker: The ERA and the Death of the Family Wage” in the journal of Gender & History. Congratulations Dr. Swinth!

Below is the abstract of the article:

This article revisits the campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution to argue that amendment adversaries fought over the future of women’s economic security. Post-war US economic growth stalled in the 1970s, bringing the family-wage ideal of male breadwinning and female homemaking down with it. In these unsettled years, how female economic dependence would be addressed was an open question: would it be by propping up male breadwinning, as ERA opponents wanted, or by combining good jobs with fairly compensated domestic labour and government assistance, as supporters believed the ERA promised? A revisionist interpretation of the ERA battle, this article shifts attention from conflict over gender identity and cultural values to economics and capitalist transformation. It examines arguments presented in pamphlets, the media and to Congress about how homemaking women could achieve security in the face of changing economic reality. The ERA’s defeat was a Pyrrhic victory for conservatives. The threat to government-sanctioned male breadwinning appeared to have been vanquished. But the family-wage system was truly on the rocks, and supporters’ vision of a working-family norm, with roles based on function, not gender, won out. Without the ERA, however, working mothers shouldered the consequences.

Cover of Gender & History

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From the Archives: Ron Braasch, PhD Candidate visits The National Archives (TNA), The British Library (BL), and the Duchy of Cornwall Office Headquarters

Ron Braasch – History department PhD Candidate (Cohort 2017-18) working with Dr. Maryanne Kowaleski and Nicholas L. Paul – is currently competing his dissertation entitled: “Supporting the Fight: Combat Support Personnel in English Expeditionary Armies During the Hundred Years’ War.” In this week’s From the Archives, Ron shares some of his experiences while researching at The National Archives of England, the British Library, and the Duchy of Cornwall Office Headquarters.

Have you ever had a question that bugged you? Some topic of scholarship that made you ask, “why do scholars consider it that way?” If you are reading this, then you no doubt have, and that is precisely what happened to me when I began researching the people who made medieval armies work. You know, the people behind the scenes whose toil and labor continuously fed the engine that was a medieval army. They were not, after all, noncombatants, as described by most scholars, but they also were not combatants in way we might conventionally think (e.g., knights, men-at-arms, or archers). So, armed with the research tools Fordham had given me and a mind full of wonder, I set out on a quest to examine personnel ranging from engineers and chaplains to medical practitioners and wagon drivers.

“Hi,” my name is Ron Braasch, and I am researching Combat Support Personnel in late medieval English armies. This past summer, I was able to travel to English archives to complete my research on these amazing, if not often talked about, medieval people. To do this, I visited three archives in England: The National Archives (TNA), The British Library (BL), and the Duchy of Cornwall Office Headquarters (DCO). In this short post, I wanted to share my journey with students across the university and ensure their success during their own expeditions to the archives.

Applying for Funding: Apply for funding early and consider submitting for multiple grants. I used two funding sources to support my trip: Fordham’s Student Support Grant and a General Omar Bradley Fellowship. This was not enough to cover everything, but it certainly lightened the load.

Travel with a buddy! If you have the opportunity to travel with someone familiar with the area, it can make things go much easier. Ph.D. Candidate Patrick Debrosse was conducting research at the same time near London, so we synchronized our trips. This made it much easier to get around the city and gain access to some very cool primary documents. Having a colleague in the same archives also allows you to compare translations when you think you have found that “eureka” moment.   

Apply for a Reader Pass: If this is your initial visit to TNA or the BL, plan for extra time early in the day to get the appropriate ID Card. Some initial paperwork can be completed beforehand, but you will still have to show two forms of identification with your permanent address (a challenge for someone who moves often). Access to the DCO is tightly controlled and must be coordinated through london@duchyofcornwall.org.

Visiting the Archives: TNA was my first stop because it contained the most crucial evidence for my research: The Wardrobe Book of William de Farley, TNA E 101/393/11. This account book recorded the royal military finances of English King Edward III during his final campaign to France before the treaty of Bretigny in 1360. As Pat and I walked through the main doors, we turned left and found ourselves in the cafeteria. On our right was a bookshop. The lockers were further up to the right, where we could leave our bags, food, drink, etc. Next, we made our way to the second floor to sign in and, presenting our identification, received our passes. The second floor had numerous records, books, and other documents, but the score I was after was in the third-floor map room. A sprawling open space greeted us, scattered with large tables to handle oversized documents. We made our way back to the left to submit our request (Tip! You must request your document online ahead of time and ensure you include several items at once, so you have plenty of material for the day). At the counter, I received a dusty box with the appropriate designation. Then, finally sitting at the table with my prize, I removed the cover, and behold, there was Farley’s book, first penned in 1359.

Next, we traveled to the BL. An enormous building greeted us, and once inside, we followed the signs back and right to the waiting area to sign in. We arrived early, quickly received our library cards, and were off to the reading room on the other side of the building. Here I was able to examine two documents critical for my research: The Wardrobe Book of Robert Ferriby, another financial account concerning Edward’s campaigns in Scotland 1334-1338 (BL Manuscript Cotton Nero C VIII), and a collection of medical treatises by the famous fourteenth-century surgeon, John of Arderne (BL Sloane 3548) (Tip! Make sure you save time to visit the treasure room, which holds some of the world’s most impressive historical documents).

Our next excursion took us to the DCO across from Buckingham Palace. This took months of coordination—it is, after all, the London headquarters for the Duke of Cornwall—but the effort was entirely worth it. Upon ringing the bell, we were promptly greeted and led into a lush office on our left. As we entered the room, displayed before us was the object of my interest: the Account Book of John Henxteworth, 1355-1356. It is the only extant document containing detailed military finances from Edward, the Prince of Wales’ 1355 and 1356 military campaigns in France. Pat and I initially marveled at what treasures the document (pictured with the author) might hold, and we worked together to find entries for men such as William Blackwater, the Prince’s Physician. The DCO is worth the effort if you think they have documents to help your research. 

One final note is to plan an extra day for research. I first heard this recommendation listening to a plenary lecture with Professor Geoffrey Parker at the Annual Symposium of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, and I put that advice to good use here. On the first day, I could not review all the material in Farley’s account, so I returned to TNA and completed my research. I also took photos of several other documents that had escaped my initial investigation. This extra day also allowed us to visit the sites of London (such as the British Museum!) and soak in the culture of such a historic place.

During our trip, we certainly faced challenges, such as a train strike which, at one point, forced us to walk an hour back to our lodgings. Overall, however, visiting the archives in England was a wonderful experience, and I hope these notes will help as you plan your own research journeys.

If this post has sparked your interest further, please check out some of the findings in my forthcoming article “Military Engineers as Combat Support Forces in the Armies of Edward III” Journal of Military History 87:2 (April, 2023) and on Twitter @r_braasch.

Author pictured with the Account Book of John Henxteworth located at the Duchy of Cornwall Office Headquarters, London, England

From the Archives is a special series for the Fordham History blog which highlights the research experiences of members of the history department in an effort to both showcase their work and provide insight for future researchers preparing for their own archival projects.

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From the Archives: Garret McDonald, PhD Candidate visits the Archives and Special Collections at University of Virginia’s Law School in Charlottesville

Garret McDonald – History department PhD Candidate (Cohort 2017-18) working with Dr. Asif Siddiqi – is currently completing his dissertation, entitled: “The Delusion of Reform: Soviet Law, Forensic Psychiatry, and the Fate of Dissent after Stalin.” In this week’s From the Archives, Garret shares some of his experiences while researching at the Archives and Special Collections of University of Virginia’s Law School in Charlottesville.

What is your current research on?

My current research examines the intersection between law and medicine in the Soviet Union, focusing specifically on the issues surrounding social repression and involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. This topic is the basis of my doctoral dissertation as well as a drafted article I hope to submit to a peer-reviewed journal in the coming months.

What archive(s) did you visit and can you describe the archive a little?

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict necessitated more domestic research that I had originally envisioned. As a result, the majority of my research over the past year has been undertaken at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. The repository at the Hoover, which includes nearly 12,000 microfilm reels of official Soviet state documents, is particularly invaluable since the collections are identical to those in Moscow. Most recently, however, I visited the Archives and Special Collections of University of Virginia’s Law School in Charlottesville. It is a very small operation, with only a single reading room. Their collections are quite large though, and housed off-site at the University’s various library storage spaces. The collections are primarily those which have been donated privately to the University. 

What was the purpose of your trip? What type of documents did you plan to look at? What makes those documents interesting/unique/important for your research?

Over the course of researching and writing my dissertation, I discovered that several members of a United States delegation to the Soviet Union on the so-called “political abuse of psychiatry” (the practice of incarcerating dissidents and other social undesirables involuntarily in psychiatric hospitals) had donated originals and copies of all of their papers to the University of Virginia’s Law School collections. I originally intended to view these documents in the hopes of finding private correspondence, personal records of the delegation’s trips to the USSR, and information on Soviet reforms targeting involuntary psychiatric hospitalization in the 1980s. 

I found all of that and much more, including information passed to the delegation from the Soviet government, individual Soviet psychiatrists, and local human rights activists. 

The papers were significant because they contained copies of documents that are still classified in Russian archives today or are otherwise inaccessible. Like all historical documents, each came loaded with their own problems. For example, the papers contained statistics passed on to the American delegation by the Soviet government on precisely how many people were involuntarily hospitalized in the Soviet Union. The statistics, however, are not elucidated beyond a caption that reads “Number of Involuntarily Hospitalized Patients in the Special Psychiatric Hospitals.” It was left up to me to piece together from the prior correspondence whether or not this referred to all of the Special Psychiatric Hospitals or just those under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health (as opposed to those under the Ministry of Internal Affairs).

Further, I had to grapple with the very serious possibility that the Soviet government was actively lying to the U.S. delegation in their correspondence and being very selective in the information passed on. Regardless, the delegation actually got to be the first foreign visitors into otherwise deeply classified psychiatric facilities housing prisoners. These facilities are at the center of my dissertation, and the ability to get first-hand information on the inside of these facilities that was not from a former patient was truly invaluable.

What was the most exciting part of your archival trip? 

The most exciting part of my trip was getting to meet some of the surviving members of the delegation. Most notably Richard Bonnie, who is a professor at the Law School. He was very patient with my numerous questions about the delegation’s activities and what he thought about the issue now with the benefit of hindsight. I also got to meet Lena Protsenko, a Ukrainian attorney who focuses on mental health. Lena is currently compiling another delegation member’s private papers for the University as well as a series of interviews she conducted with the members of the delegation and some former patients. I’m extremely grateful for the time and energy she so willingly spent to discuss my dissertation and the work she is doing. I am also very excited to return again soon to view those papers and interviews.

What was an average day in the archives like?

I have found that a day in the archives is pretty similar regardless of where you are. Whether I think back to my time in Russia’s state archives in Moscow, the Hoover Institution, or the recent trip to University of Virginia, the systems for getting and examining documents are relatively standardized. The big difference at the University of Virginia was the size. Massive collections were not manned by numerous archivists or spread across multiple reading rooms, instead there was really one archivist (with some support staff) and the one small reading room, which was quite comfortable. I felt really bad when I realized that the archivist, a lovely woman by the name of Cecila Brown, had carted over some 20 boxes of documents for me all by herself. Cecilia was as nice as could be though and always had a smile on her face.

The archive was open from 9am to 3pm. Each day I showed up at 8:55am to meet Cecilia at the door. She would let me into the reading room and cart out my boxes. Like most archives, I could only view one box at a time, so I generally sat there leafing through folders while taking notes and scans or photos of significant documents for the entire period. Occasionally, when Cecilia went to lunch I would head out to the University’s lawn to sit out with food, but most of the time I spent every second in the reading room combing through the thousands of pages I had requested. Writing this, I realize that sounds like a somewhat dreadful or dull experience, but anyone who is passionate about their topic will know that there are few things more exciting than examining new and unexpected documents in the archives.

Was there anything surprising you found in your research?

I was surprised that I found a series of patient files in the collections I viewed. Psychiatric patient files are notoriously difficult to access in the Russian Federation (and in most countries for more recent periods), and I was shocked to find copies here. That said, I did have to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements for each collection and have to navigate how to discuss files and cite them while not giving away any identifying information. The patient files I did find were especially interesting for their diversity. The delegation had unofficial patient files produced by dissident psychiatrists, they had official accounts given to them by Soviet authorities, and they had their own interviews and diagnoses of the patients they visited while in the USSR. Taken together, each is great for chronicling change-over-time and the various shifting approaches to questions of mental illness and criminality.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing historical research?

I would advise someone interested in pursuing historical research to follow every lead. We all start with a question, or set of questions, that  lead to even more questions more often than not. While trying to answer them you’ll come across so many different people, places, and organizations. Each represents a thread spreading out from and made up of your research interests. Follow each of them through to the end. Some will dead-end early, you will find out that a particular person left no papers behind or that an organization’s archives are still classified. Likewise, you will discover that places were destroyed in upheaval and conflict or that the archives you need are currently closed indefinitely. By following each lead you have though, you may also uncover that someone tangentially related to your topic did leave papers behind that may be useful or that your subjects had friends or relatives you can still get in touch with. You may even discover an archive or collection you didn’t even know existed. According to Cecila, I am the first researcher to ever examine those documents at the University of Virginia and the only reason I found them was because I followed my leads. I knew there was an American delegation, I had to track down the delegates, then their organizations, and finally what they left behind. 

That amount of detective work may seem daunting, especially for a beginner or documents that may only comprise a fraction of your research. The delegation’s documents, for example, are only for the final chapter of my dissertation. We live in a world that is more connected and digitized than ever before though. All you have to do is put in the effort to look and reach out. There also is no shortage of kind, experienced scholars who would be delighted to help guide you or put you in touch with others who may be able to help.

From the Archives is a special series for the Fordham History blog which highlights the research experiences of members of the history department in an effort to both showcase their work and provide insight for future researchers preparing for their own archival projects.

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Professor Wolfgang P. Müller is a guest on New Books Network podcast about his recent book, Marriage Litigation in the Western Church, 1215-1517 (2021)

Professor Wolfgang P. Müller was interviewed for the New Books Network podcast about his recent book Marriage Litigation in the Western Church, 1215-1517 (Cambridge University Press, 2021). You can listen to the 10-minute podcast here.

You can read a description of Dr. Müller’s book below:

From the establishment of a coherent doctrine on sacramental marriage to the eve of the Reformation, late medieval church courts were used for marriage cases in a variety of ways. Ranging widely across Western Europe, including the Upper and Lower Rhine regions, England, Italy, Catalonia, and Castile, this study explores the stark discrepancies in practice between the North of Europe and the South. Wolfgang P. Müller draws attention to the existence of public penitential proceedings in the North and their absence in the South, and explains the difference in demand, as well as highlighting variations in how individuals obtained written documentation of their marital status. Integrating legal and theological perspectives on marriage with late medieval social history, Müller addresses critical questions around the relationship between the church and medieval marriage, and what this reveals about both institutions.

Book cover of Marriage Litigation in the Western Church, 1215-1517

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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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