From left to right: Susanne Hafner (Program Director, Medieval Studies), David Smigen-Rothkopf, Alexa Amore, Alex Profaci, Anna Lukyanova, Alex Wright, Heather Hill, and Laura Morreale (Associate Director, Medieval Studies).
The Center for Medieval Studies threw a farewell party and conference for our graduating Master’s students on Saturday, May 7th. All seven students who will graduate in August, Alexa Amore, Heather Hill, Scot Long, Anna Luykanova, Alex Profaci, David Smigen-Rothkopf, and Alexandra Wright gave papers showcasing the scholars they have become during their time at Fordham. The conference concluded with a champagne and cake reception. The CMS would like to congratulate the graduating class of 2016 for all that they have accomplished at Fordham and their impressive placement record! We look forward to seeing what this group will achieve in the coming years.
Alexander Profaci delivered his presentation, “Old French and the Tragedy of Norman Historiography,” based on a chapter from his thesis. Comparing the Gesta Normanorum Duco with the earliest version of the Chronique des ducs de Normandie, Alexander presented the 13th century Chronique, in its lack of heroic or religiously inspirational imagery, as the presentation of Norman history as a tragic retrospective of Norman independence. David’s presentation, “Twisted Lines: Genealogical Prophecy and Historiography in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur,” put forward that Malory’s famous “Month of May” passage portrays both his hopes for the future return of the chivalric ideal and his resignation that there is no certainty in the future. While royal lineage was often used to present history as stable and predictable enough to provide a more certain view of the future, Malory’s genealogy of Arthur depicts a less certain view, as Arthur left no effective heir, nor did he, himself, legitimate, questioning the supposed stability of royal lineage and its ability to maintain a more stable future. Anna Lukyanova’s “Consecracio Regis: The Making of Kings, Political Liturgy, and Cross Cultural Exchange in the Medieval Latin East” explored possible influences or sources for the development of the ceremony of the coronation of the Latin kings of Jerusalem. Looking at the similarities between the oaths sworn by the king of Jerusalem and those sworn by the Byzantine emperor upon his own crowning and the fact that kings of Jerusalem were anointed, which was a common practice in Western Europe but not done in Constantinople, Anna sees the ceremony in Jerusalem as a hybrid of Byzantine and Western European rituals, displaying a level of cultural interaction between the Kingdom of Jerusalem and its Greek Orthodox neighbour. The final presentation of the first panel was that given by Scotland Long, “Medieval Authorship in 15th Century Castilian Romance,” in which he examined the variances between manuscripts and printed editions of the Cronica Saracina, a Spanish retelling of the 711 Islamic invasion of Iberia. One of the numerous differences between copies of the two versions he compared was a greater emphasis on the aspect of holy war in the printed editions, corresponding with the Reconquista.
The second panel began with Heather Hill presenting, “Exploring Place in the French of Italy: Mid-Range Reading as a Model for Digital Medieval Mapping,” in which she explained the process and methodology employed behind the creation of a digital map for the French of Italy website. She introduced the concept of mid-range reading, which, contrary to close or distant reading, requiring critical analysis and a macrocosmic discussion of text types, respectively, looks at individual works, words, and place descriptions, but also for over-arching trends in source material. This method of research, Heather related, was the ideal method for preparing a digital map based on medieval sources. The second presentation was Alexa Amore’s “Animated by Pious Zeal: The Cult of Carts and the Oxen of Laon Cathedral,” introducing not only what the concept of the cult of carts was to non-art historians, but also the far-ranging impact this practice had on forms of pilgrimage in Laon, Amiens, and Chartres. Inspired by a miraculous bovine having appeared just as it was needed to aid in hauling stone from a quarry to Laon cathedral after it was destroyed in a communal uprising, the cult of carts was a pilgrimage practice that had pilgrims seeking penance by pulling carts loaded with stone. The cathedral of Laon is decorated with a number of statues of oxen, remarkably accurate in their presentation, looking down upon the crowds from the cathedral spires, marking this miraculous event and linking it intrinsically with the continued existence of the cathedral of Laon. The final presentation was delivered by Alexandra Wright titled, “’I feel but hunger and thirst for you,’ Spiritual Food, Eroticism, and Queer Desire in Augustine’s Confessions.” Exploring Augustine’s presentation of his own desire, Alexandra showed how, as Augustine aged, his desires were never truly fulfilled. This tension is carried out through his childhood, in which he desired food even when he did not need it, through his adolescence and early adult life, when he desired sex but was never satisfied by it. These desires are, in his later years, transferred to a love of God, and the absolution he finds replaces the fulfilling of his desire.
Congratulations to the class of 2016 for their excellent contributions to their fields and to the Centre. Well done!
Session I: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Chair: Nicholas Paul
- Alexander Profaci (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the PhD program in History at Johns Hopkins University):
“Old French and the Tragedy of Norman Historiography”
- David Smigen-Rothkopf (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the PhD program in English at Fordham University):
“Twisted Lines: Genealogical Prophecy and Historiography in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur”
- Anna Luykanova (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the PhD program in History, UNC Chapel Hill):
“Consecracio Regis: The Making of Kings, Political Liturgy, and Cross Cultural Exchange in the Medieval Latin East”
- Scotland Long (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the PhD program in Spanish, University of Pennsylvania):
“Medieval Authorship in 15th century Castilian Romance”
Saturday Brunch: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Session II: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Chair: Alex Novikoff
- Heather Hill (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the MS program in Library and Information Science at the Pratt Institute):
“Exploring Place in the French of Italy: Mid-Range Reading as a Model for Digital Medieval Mapping”
- Alexa Amore (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the MA program in Art History, Case Western Reserve University):
“Animated by Pious Zeal: The Cult of Carts and the Oxen of Laon Cathedral”
- Alexandra Wright (MVST MA ’16, moving on to the MS program in Library Science at the University of North Texas):
“‘I feel but hunger and thirst for you’: Spiritual Food, Eroticism, and Queer Desire in Augustine’s Confessions”
Cake and Champagne Reception: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
This conference is dedicated to the memory of three wonderful teachers:
Louis Pascoe SJ
The Center for Medieval Studies thanks the Graduate Student Association for their contribution to this conference.