The Ruins at Bury St. Edmunds
Thanks to the History Department’s Leahey fellowship for summer travel, graduate student and medievalist Louisa Foroughi was able to spend five weeks in June and July visiting archives in England and Scotland (with a very brief Welsh detour!). Louisa’s dissertation focuses on the origins and social significance of the English “yeomen,” a group situated at the mid-point of the social scale, who made their first appearance in the early fifteenth century and quickly rose to prominence under the Tudors. She spent ten days in London and Chester tracking down a yeomen family from a small town near Chester, during which time she snuck in a quick jaunt across the Welsh border, a mere 30 minute walk from the city walls! She spent a further two weeks gathering probate records in local record offices in Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds, and Ipswich, all favorite haunts. She is now in possession of c. 377 wills and inventories produced by husbandmen, yeomen, and gentlemen from 1348-1538, one of the three main document times upon which her dissertation will be based. While in England, Louisa also presented a paper on Archbishops’ Registers at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds and attended the Anglo-American Seminar with Professor Maryanne Kowaleski. She is happy to be back in the US, and looks forward to finally being able to answer the question, “what is a yeomen?”
Louisa Foroughi confers with Professor Bruce Campbell
From July 8th to 11th Fordham Professor Maryanne Kowaleski and graduate student Louisa Foroughi attended the XIIth Annual Anglo-American Seminar on the Medieval Economy and Society, held this year in Stirling, Scotland. The Anglo-American Seminar is a long-standing gathering of some of the most distinguished economic and social historians in England and America. This year’s presentations drew attention to new directions in research, while its panel discussion featured lively debate about the relationship between government policy and England’s economy in the late middle ages. Professor Kowaleski closed the conference with a fascinating paper on the political participation and consciousness of mariners in late medieval England, part of her larger work on England’s seamen and coastal communities. A highlight of this year’s Seminar was a (rainy!) walking tour of the town of Stirling, all the way from the castle at the top of the hill to the fish stews at its base, led by Professor Richard Oram, who also opened the conference with an excellent talk on the environmental history of Scotland and its neglected relationship to political history. Louisa especially benefited from the opportunity to meet and talk over her thesis with experts in their field, such as Prof. Bruce Campbell, who was also honored with the presentation of a festschrift at the conference.
History PhD students Louisa Foroughi (left) and Rachel Podd help to lead the Annual Fordham Camino de Santiago trip
Fordham History graduate students Louisa Foroughi and Rachel Podd were delighted to serve as chaperones accompanying the Camino study tour led by Fordham History Professor David Myers and Dr. Alex Egler of Fordham’s Religious Education Program. The Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage route dating back to approximately the ninth century, when the body of St. James was discovered near the sea by a monk led there by divine inspiration. Almost immediately, pilgrims flocked to the shrine of the saint, and over the course of the high and late middle ages men and women, nobles and paupers, kings and queens traveled routes all the way from England, Paris, Northern Africa, Constantinople, and Rome. Today the most famous route begins in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the border between France and Spain, and cuts through the Pyrenees, across the flatlands of Castille and Leon, and into mountainous Galicia, to the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. The Fordham Camino program begins in Leon, halfway through this route, and lasts two weeks, from mid-May to early June, during which time 23 students walked 311 km together with their fearless leaders. Rachel and Louisa had an amazing time walking the road, instructing students in the finer details of medieval art and history, and bandaging blisters. Particular highlights include the 12th century Romanesque church in Rabanal, the fog over the mountains just past the Cruz de Ferro, and unbelievable pulpo in Melide. To learn more about this year’s Camino tour, see the course blog at Mapping the Camino. Buen Camino!
The whole Fordham Camino team arrive in Santiago de Compostela
Each year, the History Department recognizes excellence among our graduate students by awarding a prize for the best paper written in a research seminar. The best paper for 2013 was awarded jointly to Hannah Shepard and Louisa Foroughi. We profile their research and the prize winning papers.