History graduate student Rachel Podd published her first essay, “Reconsidering maternal mortality in medieval England: aristocratic Englishwomen, c. 1236–1503,” in Continuity and Change.
Below is an abstract of the article:
“The characterisation of medieval childbirth as profoundly dangerous is both long-standing and poorly supported by quantitative data. This article, based on a database tracking the reproductive lives of 102 late medieval aristocratic Englishwomen, allows not only for an evaluation of this trope but also an analysis of risk factors, including maternal youth and short birth intervals. Supplemented with evidence from medieval medical tracts and osteoarchaeological data related to pubertal development and nutrition, this study demonstrates that reproduction was hardly the main driver of mortality among elite women.”
On July 7, 2020, Professor Christopher Maginn has just published an article in a special Early Modern Classroom supplement (2020) devoted to teaching in the era of COVID-19. Below is a link to the piece. Someone may find its discussion of pedagogy useful.
Tobias Hrynick has been awarded a Shallek Grant from the Medieval Academy of America, co-funded with the Richard III Society, American Branch. The fellowship will fund travel to the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham in the UK to work on a project related to his Ph.D. thesis, on “According to the Law of the Marsh”; Medieval Wetland Drainage, Environmental Crisis, and the Invention of the Customs of Romney Marsh.” He will be examining normative texts on marsh law, as well as the manorial records of marsh land-holders, to understand the ways medieval communities responded to environmental crisis.
You can follow Tobias Hrynick on Twitter @elmermalmesbury.
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Louisa Foroughi, a 2020 Ph.D. candidate, will be starting a tenure track job in Medieval and Early Modern History in the history department at Lafayette College (Eaton, PA) beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.
Working under Professor Maryanne Kowaleski, Louisa Foroughi specializes in the social and cultural history of late medieval England. Her dissertation, “What Makes a Yeoman? Status, Religion, and Material Culture in Later Medieval England,” explores identity construction among the English peasantry, c. 1348-1538. The yeomen were a group of affluent farmers who appear throughout English records from the early fifteenth century onward, but who have previously attracted little attention from medievalists. As Foroughi argues, the documentary records and manuscripts yeomen left behind provide rare insight into how medieval English peasants crafted and expressed their sense of self. Her analysis focuses on material culture, religion, office holding, and literacy as key aspects of yeoman identity, and integrates methods drawn from anthropology, archaeology, literary criticism, and religious studies in order to access the activities and mentalité of this little-studied group. Foroughi is also eager to share her wide-ranging interests in gender studies; material culture theory; food history; medieval medicine; fiber arts; and household books and miscellanies with the students at Lafayette College. She can’t wait to join the faculty in August.
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Louisa Foroughi, a Ph.D. candidate in medieval history, was awarded the 2019 Dissertation Fellowship by the National Conference of British Studies (NACBS), a competition open to all those doing dissertation research in the British Isles on any topic of British (including Scottish, Irish and Imperial) history or British Studies. Fordham University). The citation at the annual meeting of the NACBS in November 2019 in Vancouver reads as follows.
Foroughi’s dissertation, “What Makes a Yeoman? Status, Religion, and Material Culture in Later Medieval England,” examines the English yeomanry from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries. Yeoman, she explains, occupied a middling rank in late-medieval England, above the peasantry but beneath the gentry, and its numbers and significance rose throughout the fifteenth century. Through the examination of court records, wills and testaments, and case studies, Foroughi reveals the role of both material culture and religious belief in the making of this social group previously more familiar to early modernists.
Most importantly, Foroughi has developed a series of questions – and ways to go about answering them – that recover the role of women and gender in the yeomanry’s making – something that was not high on the list of historians’ priorities in 1942, the last time the yeomanry figured as the subject of a comparable monograph. Yet the yeomanry’s position, Foroughi shows, was only made possible through the dowries brought by wives and daughters, the values transmitted from mothers to children, and the maintenance of households that partly depended upon women’s labor. To recover these aspects of late medieval and early modern social history, Foroughi’s dissertation ingeniously draws upon literary studies, religious studies, and anthropology, in order to make visible the role of women and of gender in the making of the English yeoman class.
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Ronald Braasch recently published an article titled: “The Skirmish: A Statistical Analysis of Minor Combats During the Hundred Years’ War, 1337-1453”in the Journal of Medieval Military History XVI (June, 2018). Ron is seeking to shed light on a neglected aspect of medieval warfare and discover what impact these smaller fights had on the conduct of warfare during the Hundred Years’ War. Skirmishes existed somewhere between a battle and duel, occurred during all varieties of locations and environments, and formed an integral martial function between medieval combatants. Moreover, skirmishes were a common feature during the Hundred Years’ War as the chroniclers wrote so much about them. As a case study, Ron’s work examines the chronicles of Jean le Bel, Jean Froissart, Enguerrand de Monstrelet, and Matthieu d’Escouchy, whose narratives collectively span the entirety of the conflict. By examining chronicles quantitatively, Ron’s research indicates that the outcomes of skirmishes could influence the strategies of military leaders and that indiscipline was a key component in French military losses against English, Burgundian, and various other opponents. Ron is entering the first year of his PhD in History, where he is studying the roles of combat support personnel in the armies of Edward III.
Full Citation: “The Skirmish: A Statistical Analysis of Minor Combats During the Hundred Years’ War, 1337-1453.”Journal of Medieval Military History XVI, (June, 2018): 123-157.
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Esther Liberman Cuenca, PhD candidate in History, recently published an article in Urban History (Cambridge University Press) titled “Town clerks and the authorship of custumals in medieval England”. Below is her abstract and a link to the article.
This article examines the expertise and duties of clerks in medieval English towns, particularly their roles in creating custumals, or collections of written customs. Customs could regulate trade, of ce-holding, prostitution and even public nuisance. Many clerks were anonymous, and their contributions to custumals understudied. The careers of relatively well-known clerks, however, do provide insights into how some clerks shaped custumals into civic repositories of customary law. By analysing their oaths and known administrative practices, which involved adapting material from older custumals, this article argues that town clerks played critical roles in transmitting customary law to future generations of administrators.
On April 24th and 25th, the History Department sponsored the Medieval England Conference that showcased the research done in the Graduate ProSeminar Course led by Dr. Maryanne Kowaleski. This conference included papers by members of the History Department, as well as the Center for Medieval Studies. Patrick DeBrosse, Rachel Podd, Amanda Racine, and Ron Braasch were the 3 doctoral and master’s students, respectively, that presented their research. See a list of all the presentations, as well as some pictures, below. Continue reading →
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.
Louisa’s work puts two heretical tracts from fifteenth-century England into their social and religious context. These two tracts were likely written as part of a series of debates over bible translation that took place at Oxford in the late fourteenth century, sparked by the reformer John Wyclif. His ideas and the English bible produced by his followers were both condemned as heretical by Archbishop Arundel in 1407, but, as Louisa’s work shows, interest in and desire for an English bible continued through the end of the fifteenth century.
The story of how Louisa came to write this piece is a tale of true interdisciplinarity, and it underscores the dynamic nature of medieval studies at Fordham. Louisa found these tracts, one of them previously unknown to scholars, during a manuscript studies class led by Dr. Susanne Hafner that she took in the first semester of her master’s degree at Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies. She subsequently presented a talk about the tracts at a conference organized at Fordham by J. Patrick Hornbeck II of Fordham’s Department of Theology and Michael van Dussen of McGill University, and her work was published in the peer-reviewed edited collection of papers that developed out of that conference. Louisa’s archival research on the owners of the tracts during summer 2014 led her to develop a dissertation project that explores the tastes and self-construction of yeomen in late medieval England, a project that has been generously funded by Fordham’s History Department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Congrats, Louisa! We look forward to reading about more exciting discoveries from the archives.
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