Tag Archives: crusades history

Postcard from Qasid Arabic Institute!

Amanda Racine, a PhD student in Medieval History, sent this postcard about her experience this past summer in Jordan studying Classical Arabic.

With the support of the GSAS Student Support Grant and the Joseph R. Leahey Fellowship both from Fordham, I traveled to Amman, Jordan this summer to study Classical Arabic at Qasid Arabic Institute. In addition to the grants from Fordham, I received a CARA Summer Tuition Grant from the Medieval Academy of America.

View from outside of my flat in Amman

 Amman is an amazing city and Jordanians are extremely friendly and welcoming. Exploring Amman was really enjoyable (especially after learning how to navigate the taxi system.) My lessons at Qasid consisted of four hours of grammar lessons a day (Sunday-Thursday) and additional lessons focused on pronunciation. It was a really intensive course but my classmates and teachers made it a joy to attend. My teachers had lived in Jordan their whole lives and were wonderful resources not only for Arabic, but also for where to find the best food in Amman!

Qasid: My class with our ustadhas (teachers)

When I was not in class, I was able to spend some time traveling around Jordan. Although not a major hub of crusader settlements in the twelfth and thirteenth century, there are a number of castles built during the crusades that now lie within Jordan’s borders. I visited Ajloun (one of the few Muslim fortresses), Shoubak, and Kerak. There were a number of Roman ruins located in right in the heart of Amman as well. I also visited one of Jordan’s most famous sites, Petra. The most famous part of Petra, the Treasury, was certainly awesome, but I most enjoyed exploring the narrow passageways and the views from the high cliffs.

The view from قلعة عجلون (Ajloun Castle) a twelfth-century Muslim fortress in Jordan

Arabic script on the ruins of  قلعة شوبك  (Shoubak Castle)

Inside قلعة كرك (Kerak Castle) a twelfth-century crusader castle in Jordan

Built c. 4th century BCE, Petra is Jordan’s most famous site

I was also able to make one short trip to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem I met with some crusade scholars who live in the region and walked around the Old City. It was an exciting combination of being able to hear about some of the research being done in the area and then actually be able to visit the places that we discussed.

View of the Old City from the Mount of Olives

Overall, my summer in Amman was a valuable experience. This was my first time in the Middle East and as someone who studies the Latin East in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries it was amazing to get a better sense of the landscape (soo many hills!) and culture of the region. I was able to not only build a solid foundation in Arabic but also meet some really wonderful people. I look forward to continuing my studies in Arabic and hope to return to to Jordan again soon. إن شاء الله.

 

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Translations of Crusade Texts by Graduate Students

History PhD student Patrick DeBrosse has recently made his translation of The Song of the Siege of Acre available on crusaderstates.org. Patrick translated this Latin poetic account of the Third Crusade as part of his MA thesis at the University of East Anglia. His thesis sought to challenge previous scholarship on the poem’s composition and to elaborate upon the poem’s historical and literary significance. For the Crusader States website, Patrick has revised his translation, written an introduction that explains his views on the poem’s origins and significance, and added footnotes to guide readers through the narrative action.

The poem is of particular importance to scholars of the crusades, since it was composed by an eyewitness who completed it in 1190, prior to the surrender of Acre. The Song thus reveals the attitudes of a Christian crusader who was unaware of events to come, and gripped by feelings of loss, fear, hope, and uncertainty. The poet offers many unique details about the conflict, and his desire to write in verse illustrates the uses of poetry within twelfth-century society. Patrick has attempted to translate the original elegiac couplets as literally as possible, proceeding couplet-by-couplet and retaining the poet’s original idioms.

The translation is available for free at www.crusaderstates.org where it is hoped that it can reach a wide audience of both scholars and non-scholars.

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Fordham in Saint Louis – Graduates Students and Crusade Studies

From June 18-20, Patrick DeBrosse and Ronald Braasch participated in the Fourth International Symposium on Crusade Studies held at Saint Louis University (SLU). The symposium brought together a broad range of experts on the crusades, from several different disciplines, and featured plenary addresses by prominent crusade historians Dr. Cecilia Gaposchkin and Dr. Jonathan Phillips. 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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Dr. Nicholas Paul wins the Medieval Academy of America’s 2016 John Nicholas Brown Book Prize

Nicolas PaulThis text was originally posted by Alexa Moore and written by Laura Morrale on The Venerable Blog  run by the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University. 

“Fordham medievalist Nicholas Paul has won the Medieval Academy of America’s 2016 John Nicholas Brown Book Prize, awarded annually for a first book on a medieval subject. His monograph, To Follow in their Footsteps: The Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages, is based on research first completed for his doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University.  Further research for the book also took him to Spain and France where he examined family histories, archives, and crusader tombs.

According to the Medieval Academy, To Follow in their Footsteps “offers an original investigation into collective memory in the first crusading century.  Paul draws upon widely-ranging sources (texts and material objects) in family history, anthropology, literary theory and sociology to illuminate the historical context and dynastic narratives of the Crusades.”

The Center for Medieval Studies has been fortunate to work with this award-winning author as an instructor in our program and a collaborator on several digital projects. The Oxford Outremer Map Project is based on a map he first encountered while teaching a graduate course on the Crusader States, which was then developed into a digitally-enhanced interactive version, supplemented with geographic, historical, and archaeological data. As a contributing editor to the French of Outremer website, Dr. Paul has taken a leading role in shaping how scholars understand the wide range of French-language texts produced and circulated in the Crusader States. Dr. Paul offered the following observations concerning the connections between his writing, his teaching, and his work on the digital projects at the Center:

“Since the publication of my book, my research horizons have expanded in ways that I could not have imagined due entirely to the exciting developments in digital humanities at the Center for Medieval Studies. The projects that Medieval Studies have already sponsored, such as the Oxford Outremer Map Project, the project to edit and translate the legal texts of Outremer, and the new project to aggregate and map data related to independent crusaders, demonstrate perfectly of how digital approaches, tools, and platforms are making possible completely new modes of presentation and analysis.”

Dr. Paul has suggested that these digital projects will form an important part of his work going forward, for several reasons:

“Each of these projects represents a piece of a much larger puzzle that I’m taking on in my current research: attitudes to the eastern crusading frontier in Medieval Europe. But aside from the data that they offer, the projects have acted as fantastic platforms for our graduate students to hone skills using digital tools and exercise creativity. They are also nodes around which new scholarly communities, such as the translation group working on the legal texts or the international team who contributed to our digital map, have coalesced. For all of these reasons, I look forward to the future of digital humanities at Fordham, and in particular with my friends, colleagues, and students at the Center for Medieval Studies.”

We congratulate our colleague on winning such a prestigious award, and look forward to working with Dr. Paul on current and future projects here at the Center for Medieval Studies.

By Laura Morreale

To find out more about the Center for Medieval Studies be sure to visit The Venerable Blog

 

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