On April 7th, Michael Weldon (MA, Medieval Studies) and Kevin Vogelaar (MA, Medieval Studies) were inducted to the Jesuit Honors Society Alpha Sigma Nu. The organization, which emphasizes scholarship, loyalty, and service, selected Michael and Kevin for their exemplary commitment to the tenets of Jesuit learning.
[Read on for profiles of our two Alpha Sigma Nu inductees]
During his time in Fordham’s Medieval Studies MA program, Michael has specialized in insular manuscript illumination, stained glass, and the relationship between these two artistic media. This semester, he is studying the late-medieval glazing program practiced at the Church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, in a tutorial with Dr. Zachary Stewart of the Art History Department. He is also delving into the labor-intensive, painstakingly precise, and malodorous medieval process for turning raw animal hides into parchment as an intern at Pergamena Leather and Parchment. In the summer, Michael will participate in a month-long anthropological / archaeological field study of the early-14th-century Balintober Castle in Ireland, for which he was awarded a competitive Summer Fellowship from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Last fall, Michael took advantage of Dr. Hafner’s Manuscript Culture course to research the Harkness Gospels, a late-9th- / early-10th-century insular manuscript attributed to Abbey Landevennec, Brittany. In his forthcoming MA thesis, Michael will expand upon this research, analyzing and deconstructing imagery in the Harkness Gospels to shed light on Abbey Landevennec’s scribal practices. Michael’s approach to scribal practice at Landevennec is informed by his firsthand encounter with the Harkness Gospels manuscript, which is held in the New York Public Library. Next spring, he will share a section of his thesis at the 2018 Manuscripta conference at St. Louis University.
Michael’s contributions to Fordham aren’t limited to his accomplishments within the Center for Medieval Studies; he joins us from Fordham Preparatory School where he serves as Fine Arts Chair and teaches studio art and architectural drawing.
While at the Center for Medieval Studies, Kevin has focused on intellectual history, interfaith relations, pilgrimage texts, art history, and sound studies. His forthcoming thesis will address the reception of Pseudo-Methodius’ late-7th-century Syriac Apocalypse in Western Europe between the 9th and 11th centuries. He will argue that Pseudo-Methodius allowed for a greater assertion of human agency in apocalyptic thought than other writers such as Augustine, Tyconius, and Jerome. Like Michael, Kevin plans to present at next year’s Manuscripta conference. His presentation will analyze illumination and architectural decoration in the Syriac Peshitta Gospels (Morgan Library MS M.235) to suggest that these decorative elements display early ‘Abbasid artistic influence and reveal a Syriac Christian nostalgia for an earlier time of ‘Abbasid rule.
Kevin is an active contributor to The Venerable Blog and works in Walsh Library, where he splits his time between the Reference Desk and Archives and Special Collections. In Archives, Kevin has facilitated manuscript workshops for classes taught by professors in the Center for Medieval Studies and several teaching PhD candidates. He is creating a database of manuscript facsimiles held in the Archive; in addition to serving as a well-needed finding aid for the facsimiles, the database will also provide useful discussion questions and introductory bibliographies. This promising digital project will make the many highly-realistic facsimiles in Archives more accessible to the Fordham community and will offer students a valuable resource to begin exploring manuscript studies.
In the future, Kevin plans to pursue library and museum sciences, curating exhibits and collections that can expand and promote interdisciplinary studies within the field of interfaith relations.