Medieval Studies, Uncategorized, undergraduate news, Undergraduate Studies

Rita Orazi and Larissa Ross Present at the 2017 Hudson Valley Medieval and Early Modern Undergraduate Symposium

This past 25 February, Fordham students Larissa Ross and Rita Orazi presented at the 2017 Hudson Valley Medieval and Early Modern Undergraduate Symposium at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.

Larissa Ross (st right), Rita Orazi (at left)

Larissa Ross presented her paper, “Daughters of the King: Medieval Female Piety as Seen in Julian of Norwich and Constance in Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale.”  In her paper, Larissa looked to Julian of Norwich and Chaucer to explore late medieval conceptions of the metaphysical nature of women and of ideal female holiness.  Julian and Chaucer, contemporaries who influenced and were in turn influenced by the same cultures and ideologies, are rarely brought into conversation with each other.  Larissa placed Julian of Norwich, a renowned holy woman, into dialogue with Chaucer’s fictitious holy woman to see where both figures embody or toy with popular perceptions of what it meant to be a woman mystic considered holy.

                Larissa, who majors now in Medieval Studies, plans to continue her studies of late medieval female piety and its influence on religion, social environment, and literature.  She reflects upon her time working toward and during the conference as an invaluable chance for intellectual exchange that has aided her in expanding both her understanding of medieval studies and narratives and of how to approach them.

Rita Orazi delivered her paper, “Motivations for Crusading: Vengeance or Love?” which was an elaboration of a paper she wrote for Dr. Yeager’s “The Medieval Traveler” class.  Looking at the debate begun by Jonathan Riley-Smith and Susanna Throop over whether we can approach the act of crusading as one of love or of vengeance, Rita discussed revisionist interpretations and manipulations of history.  She emphasized the difficulty for modern audiences to understand the circumstances surrounding the Crusades and how problematic it can often be to relate the Crusades to modern conflicts in the Middle East now.

Rita, a History major minoring in Medieval Studies, also presented at the Symposium last year.  She said that, in comparison to the conference last year, this year was slightly more intimidating for the fact that the presenters were to present in panels before the entire assembled audience, rather than in smaller concurrent sessions.  However, because of this, this year’s Symposium had a livelier and more open-ended Q&A session after each panel.  While the prospect of presenting on something as wide and discipline-spanning as the Crusades was a bit daunting, Rita’s previous experience presenting and knowing that she was focusing on only on part of the discussion surrounding her subject material eased her mind and allowed her to focus all the more clearly.

The Center would like to congratulate Larissa and Rita for their presentations and would like to wish them well as they continue in their budding medievalist careers.

Standard
Art History, Medieval Studies, New York City, summer internships, undergraduate news

Peter A. Vergara (FCRH ’18) Shares his Experiences as an Intern at the Cloisters

 

“In mid March 2015 – toward the end of New York’s perpetual winter – I took the subway up to Dykman Street and trekked up the snowy hills of Fort Tyron Park to reach The Cloisters Museum and interview for their summer internship program. To my amazement, I did receive the offer to become one of eight summer interns working for the Education Department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters Museum and Gardens. June 1st was the beginning of the most fascinating, exhausting, and rewarding summer I have had so far. The internship at The Cloisters was two-fold: Day-Camp tours and a Gallery Talk.

 

For the day-camp tours, we, the interns, had two lists of twelve works of art. One was titled People in the Middle Ages and the other Medieval Treasure Hunt. We spent time researching and learning about these twenty-four works of art and how they fit Vergara during Gallery Talkinto their theme. Our research prepared us to be tour-guides in preparation for groups of summer camps and schools – the average group was twenty-something kids, of any age between four and twelve. Our job was to take the facts and history of Medieval Art and bring to life the Middle Ages for these kids. Of course, we would avoid the gruesome stories of plague and torture; however, we highlighted the level or skill and patience that went into creating tapestries and stained glass without modern tools. The children loved identifying the figures of the king’s court in the Nine Heroes Tapestries and exploring the shining works of gold, ivory, or rock crystal. At the end of each tour, we spent 10-15 minutes with a craft project that related to the theme of the tour.

 

The second part of the internship was the Gallery Talk. Over the course of the nine-week program, each intern came up with a theme of their choice and developed a one-hour lecture around 6-8 works of art that related to the topic. We had access to the Met’s extensive library and were expected to research our objects in great detail. The topic I chose was Art Across Medieval Spain. Growing up in Madrid and being exposed to medieval ruins at a young age, I was eager to explore the history behind the art of medieval Iberia. I specifically focused on the religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims, and on the pilgrimage culture of traveling to and from Santiago de Compostela. The most fascinating information I came across in my extensive research was that these two themes are intrinsically related; each of the seven works of art I included in my lecture directly related to both the Christian Reconquista and the pilgrimage to Santiago. The work I had the most fun studying and presenting was an alabaster statue of Saint James the Greater – on this stop of my Gallery Talk I touched on the historical enigma behind this disciple of Jesus, his significance to Spanish culture during the Middle Ages and the transformation of his meaning today as pilgrims flock to his remains from all over the world for religious and secular reasons.

 

As you might know from visiting the museum yourselves, The Cloisters provide a sliver of medieval Europe on the northernmost tip of hectic Manhattan; not only is this a space for academia and truism, but also a refuge from the speeding yellow cabs and loud street vendors downtown. I was honored and privileged to help this unique museum over the summer – plus, I learnt a great deal about Medieval Art in the process.”

 

Peter Vergara is a freshman at Fordham College Rose Hill. He is double majoring in Political Science and Art History, with a minor in Philosophy.

 

 

Standard