Esther Liberman Cuenca (PhD History, 2019), now an assistant professor at the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV), has recently been awarded three fellowships. They include a UHV Junior Faculty Grant for summer 2021, a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society 2022-23, and a Junior Mellon Membership at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies for 2022-23. She will spend her time in Princeton revising her Fordham doctoral dissertation into a monograph entitled “The Making of Urban Customary Law in Medieval Britain.” Dr Cuenca has also recently published “Led Zeppelin— ‘Immigrant Song’: Viking Medievalisms and the Afterlife of Classic Rock,” in One-Track Mind: Capitalism and the Art of the Pop Song (London: Routledge, 2022). In 2023, she has an essay forthcoming in Continuity and Change and is serving as guest editor of “Representations of the Medieval in Popular Culture: Remembering the Angevins,” a special collection for Open Library of Humanities.
Tag Archives: medieval history
Professor Magda Teter won two book prizes for her recent publication: Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Harvard University Press, 2020). Prize descriptions below:
American Historical Association: George L. Mosse Prize
“The American Historical Association awards the George L. Mosse Prize annually for an outstanding major work of extraordinary scholarly distinction, creativity, and originality in the intellectual and cultural history of Europe since 1500.” (https://www.historians.org/awards-and-grants/awards-and-prizes/george-l-mosse-prize)
Sixteenth Century Society and Conference: 2021 Bainton Prize for History and Theology
“The Roland H. Bainton Book Prizes are named in honor of one of the most irenic church historians of the twentieth century. Roland H. Bainton was professor of church history at the seminary of Yale University for many years, the advisor of many Ph.D. students, the author of over a dozen important books, and an ardent supporter of early modern studies.
Four prizes are awarded yearly for the best books written in English dealing with four categories within the time frame of 1450-1660: Art and Music History, History and Theology, Literature, and Reference Works. The prize-winning book in each category is chosen by a committee of three SCSC members appointed by the president of the SCSC who shall also designate one of the three to serve as chair.” (https://sixteenthcentury.org/roland-h-bainton-prizes/)
Prof. Magda Teter wrote “When Poverty Became Profane” in the April 29th issue of the New York Review of Books.
“The questions about poverty and charity we are facing now, in the middle of a major economic and public health crisis, are not new. They reflect our moral values as well as our social, legal, and political structures. (Tellingly, in the US, charitable giving is intertwined with tax codes.) To be sure, these values do change over time and vary across regions and cultures. In Judaism, tzedakah—roughly, charity—is a moral obligation, a mitzvah. (Although a mitzvah is also considered a good deed, in Hebrew it means a religious precept or commandment.) “Formal institutions for poor relief,” not just individual almsgiving, Kaplan writes, were already
“prescribed” in the Mishnah and the Tosefta—ancient Jewish texts from the second and third centuries CE. Zakat, or almsgiving, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
In Christianity, by contrast, charity is not a commandment or a pillar of religious practice, though Jesus’ teachings about poverty and wealth have played an important part in the development of Christian views on charity and on the role of the poor within society. In Christian medieval communities, for example, poverty was not considered shameful. Quite the opposite: poverty as a voluntary way of life was seen as a manifestation of piety, embodied most famously by Saint Francis of Assisi and the members of mendicant orders. In the seventh century Saint Eligius reportedly said, “God could have made all men rich, but He wanted there to be poor people in this world, that the rich might be able to redeem their sins.” The poor begging at church entrances were a common sight, offering the wealthy an opportunity to give alms. Even the word for “hospice” suggested an aura of holiness. In Paris, it was Hôtel-Dieu, and among Jews of Northern Europe it was called a hekdesh, related to the Hebrew root for “holy,” k-d-sh.
Then, Kaplan notes, echoing the historian Thomas Max Safley, “something happened to charity in early modern Europe.” In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, crop failures led many of the rural poor to move to cities. Frequent epidemics overwhelmed local hospices, and religious individuals and institutions alike were unable to provide adequate support to the sick and the poor. More formal solutions were needed, and almsgiving and poor relief became increasingly regulated. Now the poor were no longer seen as a means of redemption for the rich but as a public nuisance and a social burden, and perhaps as a vector of disease.
The cities began to define who was deserving and undeserving of aid. Public begging was increasingly banned, poverty was gradually criminalized, and residency was required to qualify for poor relief. In 1516, for example, Paris banished “vagabonds.””
You can follow Prof. Magda Teter on Twitter @MagdaTeter.
Dr. Esther Liberman Cuenca, who earned her Ph.D. in medieval history at Fordham in 2019, has been awarded the 2021 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize from the Medieval Academy of America, which recognizes a first article in the field of medieval studies of outstanding quality.
Dr. Esther Liberman Cuenca, who earned her Ph.D. in medieval history at Fordham in 2019, has been awarded the 2021 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize from the Medieval Academy of America, which recognizes a first article in the field of medieval studies of outstanding quality. The prize, for her article, “Town clerks and the authorship of custumals in medieval England,” Urban History 46:2 (2019): 180-201, was established by the Medieval Academy of America in 1971 and consists of a certificate and a monetary award of $500. It will be presented at the Academy’s 2021 Annual Meeting, hosted online by Indiana University, Bloomington. She is one of two winners of the award this year. The prize committee submitted the following citation.
In her perceptive and finely-crafted essay Esther Liberman Cuenca examines the expertise and duties of clerks in medieval English towns, and particularly their roles in creating custumals, or collections of written customs. She highlights and traces two fundamental aspects of clerks’ authorship, their legal and administrative expertise, and their roles in transmitting urban laws to posterity. Urban historians of the Middle Ages are familiar with custumals, documents found in almost every medieval towns that regulated the lives of their citizens, from markets and commerce to administration, social mores and hygiene. While historians usually locate and frame analyses of the documents within the history of urban politics and “normalization”, they rarely study who actually drafted them. Cuenca’s innovative article engages the historiography of urban literacy, and of the anonymous professionals who supported literacy within an urban institutional framework. Her careful analysis of their oaths and administrative practices, which often adapted older materials, reveals that town clerks played critical roles in transmitting customary law to future generations of administrators. Clerks were usually left in the shadow of their superior, and the vital contribution of Cuenca’s work is to bring these individuals to light by focusing on the creation, organization, and preservation of urban custumals, and most of all on their authorship. Were these clerks scriptores, compilatores, or commentators? By showing that they fulfilled all of these roles, Cuenca reaffirms their existence in urban memory.
Amanda Racine (PhD student, Medieval History) has received a Fulbright Fellowship to France for 2020/21. She will be affiliated with Centre d’études supérieueres de civilization médiévale (CESCM) at the Université de Poitiers working with Professor Martin Aurell. Over the course of the year she plans to study extant oaths and customs spread across several archives in France: the Société Archéologique de Montpellier in Montpellier; the Archives départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône, the Archives municipales de Marseille, and the Bibliothèque municipale d’Arles, all in and around Marseille; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris. Amanda has also been awarded a grant from the American Numismatic Society for the 66th Annual Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19). She plans to study the text and iconography of Frankish, Fatimid, Ayybuid, and Mamluk coins from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @AMNerbo.
Rachel Podd (PhD candidate, Medieval History) received the NACBS-Huntington Library Fellowship for British Studies to conduct research at the Henry Huntington Library in San Marino, California. During her time there she plans to photograph and transcribe a variety of medieval medical manuscripts, including regimens for health, medical recipes and charms, as part of her larger research project focused on medieval ideas about health management. She will draw on these materials for her Ph.D. thesis on “Health in Late Medieval England: The Impact of Age, Sex, and Income on the Lived Experience.”
Graduate Student Douglass Hamilton awarded Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to participate in a three-week Mellon Summer Institute in French Paleography
Douglass Hamilton is one of fifteen faculty and advanced graduate students at U.S. and Canadian colleges awarded a grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to participate in a three-week Mellon Summer Institute in French Paleography program at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The course covers the history of French handwriting and will emphasize hands-on training with facsimiles and manuscripts of the late medieval and early modern periods. This training will allow Douglass to gain critical experience with archival material and manuscripts written in the French language, which will be essential for my research on Old French literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Because of the coronavirus, the seminar has been moved to the summer of 2021.
You can follow Douglass Hamilton on Twitter at @SacreDoog.
On Monday, February 10, 2020, Fordham’s History Department hosted its annual History Day celebration. The event brought together some fascinating research from Fordham undergraduate and graduate students and Fordham faculty. The day’s keynote speaker was Prof. Amanda Armstrong. Below is just a snippet of the fascinating work and images we heard from our participants. You will hear from Brian Chen, Hannah Gonzalez, Grace Campagna, Emma Budd, Christian Decker, and Kelli Finn.
Brian Chen discussed Henry Kissinger’s diplomacy during the South Asia Crisis of 1971. He argued that given the geopolitical constraints of the Cold War and the limits of U.S. influence in the region, his response to the genocide in East Pakistan was not unreasonable. Kissinger’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” improved the prospects of peace between the United States and the Communist world, while also providing necessary humanitarian relief to the Bengali people.
Hannah Gonzalez’s paper, “Natives, Naturalists, and Negotiated Access: William Bartram’s Navigation of the Eighteenth-Century Southeast,” examined how the naturalist William Bartram negotiated access to native territories and knowledge while constrained by colonial politics and a climate of cross-cultural hostilities. This navigation of the Southeast involved the utilization of imperial and colonial structures, from treaties to white traders. As recorded in Travels, Bartram’s journey demonstrates how naturalists negotiated the cultural landscape on levels beyond the scientific.
You can follow her on Twitter @hannahegonzalez.
Grace Campagna’s presentation, “The Quern: The Biography of a Medieval Object,” traced the lifecycle of an artifact, including its production, operation, and repurposing, using both historical and archaeological methods. The quernstones that archaeologists discovered in the Thames river came from a quarry in Germany in order to undergo the final stages of manufacturing in a London workshop. The presentation examined how communities assign value to everyday items and addressed the challenges of analyzing objects for which there are few primary sources. You can access the full link to her article here: https://medievallondon.ace.fordham.edu/exhibits/show/medieval-london-objects-3/quern
Emma Budd’s presentation analyzed intersecting power dynamics in colonization, humanitarian intervention, and sexual assault. Through the lens of the Algerian War of Independence, she argued that the three aforementioned phenomena are intrinsically connected by their roots in a desire for power without concern for humanity.
Christian Decker’s presentation talked about Polish immigrant networking from 1900 to 1945. It included discussion of family and labor networks, religious networks, all the way up to the formation of the Polish American Congress.
You can follow Christian Decker on Twitter @PCGamingFanatic
Kelli Finn’s presentation, “We survive. We’re Irish:” An Examination of Irish Immigration to the United States, 1840 -1890,” examined how the systemic poverty that Irish immigrants faced from the 1840s-1880s shaped their immigrant experience. It argued that the extreme poverty that the Irish faced lead to harsh stigmatism of Irish immigrants even in the workforce which in turn lead to poor living conditions for the Irish when they got to America and the highest mortality rates among immigrant groups at the time.
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.