Katrine Funding Højgaard, a master’s student from the History Department of Aalborg University, Denmark, came via a study abroad program to Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies for the Fall 2015 semester. Having no department in her home university dedicated to Medieval Studies specifically, she came to the Center to take classes that would provide her with the opportunity to engage with medieval subject matter in a classroom environment, as opposed to her independent studies she has been pursuing in Denmark under the guidance and tutelage of historians Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen and Iben Fonnesbech-Schmidt. received_10153729793236351Of the four courses she took during the semester, Dr. Mary Erler’s “Late Medieval Women” proved particularly inspiring to Katrine, as it introduced a wider range of methodologies and theories in the study of medieval cultural history, iconography, and literature that come with employing more interdisciplinary approaches to historical inquiry. This class, and the new methodological horizons it introduced, have instilled within Katrine a desire to utilize more interdisciplinary methods for her thesis, which she plans to begin upon her return to Denmark.

Katrine found the additional lectures and programs provided throughout the semester to be fascinating and useful in widening her historical gaze, even if none specifically directed her toward a particular area of study. The colloquium on Faith and Knowledge in Late Medieval Scandinavia provided a new perspective on Scandinavian Medieval history, which, due to her exposure to it from an early age, had largely escaped her scholarly notice. Being introduced to histories or narratives from birth often does have a polarizing effect. Either one develops a love of the material, or one finds it mundane; lost in the commonplace of normal, every-day life. The latter was the case for Katrine, and listening to such a wide array of scholars discuss unfamiliar aspects of familiar histories shined a new light on the medieval history of her homeland.

The Center proved for Katrine a warm and encouraging place filled with helpful faculty and eager students that, subverting what reservations her family may have had about her living in the Bronx, made the area a welcoming home for three and a half months. Her time with the Center for Medieval Studies sparked within Katrine the desire to continue to study abroad and to learn and experience as much as she can from around the world. Though her time with the Center was all too brief, all here wish Katrine the best in her future endeavors, academic and otherwise.



By Kevin Vogelaar