Esther Lieberman Cuenca, recipient of the Schallek Fellowship
Fordham History Department’s own Esther Liberman Cuenca was recently awarded the Schallek Fellowship, a one-year grant of $30,000 to support Ph.D. dissertation research in any relevant discipline (art history, literature, history, etc.) dealing with late medieval Britain (ca. 1350-1500). Not only is this a prestigious honor but it will allow Esther to conduct research critical to the completion of her dissertation.
Esther’s research focuses on the development and evolution of borough customary law in medieval Britain. Borough customs were practices or traditions that over time acquired the force of law within the town. Her analytical goals are twofold: to contribute to a deeper understanding of the place of urban customary law within the British legal system, and to reveal custom’s role in the emergence of a distinct bourgeois identity in medieval Britain. Borough customary law has received little scholarly attention because of its scattered distribution in many local and county archives; the need for multi-lingual expertise in Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and Middle English; and the difficulty of dating customary clauses and ordinances from multiple iterative copies.
SROI C/4/1/1, f. 9a: The table of contents for the French Ipswich custumal, contained in the codex they call the ‘Black Domesday.’
Since she reached ABD status at Fordham in 2012, Esther has been teaching multiple courses at Marymount California University and this fellowship will give her the opportunity to focus fully on completing her dissertation. She plans to spend the 2016-2017 year living in England where she can complete her research at the Bristol Record Office and London Metropolitan Archives. In 2013, Esther was also the recipient of the Schallek Award, which is a small grant of $2,000 to help students cover research expenses. “The Medieval Academy/Richard III Society have been very kind to me! And I’m very grateful that they’re supporting my research,” says Esther. The History Department is grateful as well, and very excited for Esther to seize this opportunity!
Bethlehem, from the digitally restored Oxford Outremer Map
Graduate students and fellows from the History Department and the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham, under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Paul and Dr. Laura Morreale from each department respectively, are collaborating in an effort to open up the conversation and further understand a 13th century map which has not previously been studied in depth. Their project is called The Oxford Outremer Map and it is their goal to “use digital tools and the open global forum of the internet to bring to light a neglected medieval intellectual and cultural artifact.” Through the creation of their website, these collaborators not only hope to provide someone with a foundation of understanding of the map but also encourage other scholars to analyze it and contribute to the unfolding discussion.
Toby Hrynick, a first year PhD student in the History Department who received his MA in Medieval Studies, has been working on the project since its inception in the summer of 2014. On November 6, Toby will be taking the map project on the road, giving a conference paper about the map and participating in a digital workshop at the Haskins Society‘s Conference at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
We talked to Toby to get some more details on the project and his experience working on the map… Continue reading
At the annual Spring Party hosted by the Center for Medieval Studies, prizes were announced for the best essays written by graduate students in the past year. The judges of this year’s competition were visiting fellows David Wrisley, PhD of the American University in Beirut and Helen Birkett, PhD of the University of Exeter. They awarded the O’Callahan prize to Tobias Hrynick–his paper was detailed in an earlier post on this blog when it won the Loomie Prize from the History Department– and they awarded the First Year Essay Prize to Ruth Whaley. Ruth completed her MA in History at Fordham in August 2014, concentrating in Medieval History. The award winning essay “Story-Telling at Sea: Changes in the Crusade Chronicle”, compared two crusade chronicles written by crusaders who traveled by sea. These sea-borne narratives are, compared with what Whaley calls “terra-narratives”, little studied, and have notably evaded the attention of the recent literary-critical and narratologically-inflected studies of crusade chronicles. Whaley’s paper also introduced a novel methodology for reading and comparing the two texts- one based on the unique challenges and perspectives associated with the experiences of travelling by sea. This experiential approach highlights the unfamiliarity of most medieval Europeans with the sea and the extreme and transformative effect of sea travel among those unaccustomed to it.
Whaley currently lives in New York where she enjoys being a member of NYC Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) and meeting lots of current educators and museum professionals. Since graduating in August 2o14 she has attended numerous events and conferences hosted by various NYC institutions as she pursues museum education and informal learning in cultural institutions more broadly. Congratulations Ruth!