Join the University Libraries on Thursday, April 13 at 2 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room, for Dr. Kristina Olson‘s lecture, “Skirting the Issue: Clothing and Politics in 14th Century Italy,” where she will discuss her research findings from her 2015-2016 Fenwick fellowship.
Lecture Abstract: From the mid-13th to the end of the 14th century, an increase in mercantile activity in Florence and other cities in Italy witnessed the proliferation of new wealth among families that did not belong to the aristocracy. This economic development, together with other demographic shifts (such as those caused by the Black Death, ca.1350), caused many non-aristocratic families to climb in social and political power. One way in which they displayed their change in status was by means of their clothing and jewelry, thereby wearing their newfound gains on their persons. This drastic shift in social markers of status bred envy and confusion: families with long-standing claims to nobility appeared impoverished in comparison with these rising upstarts. Bitter feuding and acts of vengeance between the leading aristocratic and mercantile families ensued. In order to maintain social order, civic sumptuary legislation targeted various displays of luxury: excessive spending on clothing, jewelry, and rituals, such as funereal practices and exorbitant wedding dowries.
As clothing comprises a visual language signifying status, then, for many authors of the Italian Middle Ages clothing and luxury became an essential part of their poetic language, bound up with politics and civic identity. Dr. Olson’s book project, Sumptuous Literature: Clothing and Governance in Fourteenth-Century Italy, explores how authors interpret the relationship of wealth, politics and the body in terms that alternately target women (misogyny) or men (misandry) during this exceptional moment in economic and social history.
About the Fenwick Fellows: The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason faculty member to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in the faculty member’s field. Applications for the 2017-2018 fellowship are currently being accepted; the deadline is May 5, 2017.
University Libraries is now accepting applications for this year’s Fenwick Fellow competition. The Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason faculty member to support a research project that uses and enhances the Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in his or her field.
Beginning this year, up to two Fellowships of $5,000 each may be awarded. Program guidelines have been expanded to include funding for an additional fellowship for a project proposal that specifically aligns with the Libraries’ activities in the area of digital scholarship.
Application deadline is Friday, May 5, 2017. The awardee(s) will be announced at the start of the Fall academic term. University Libraries sponsor a public lecture by each Fenwick Fellow in the Spring term following the completed fellowship.
Detailed prorgam guidelines and information are available on the library’s website (library.gmu.edu/about/fellow/apply). Questions? Please contact Debra Hogan, dhogan1 at gmu.edu
Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John Zenelis has announced that, due to the exceptionally high caliber of the applicant pool’s research proposals, the Fenwick Fellow committee selected two recipients to receive the award for 2016-2017. The new Fenwick Fellows are Dr. John G. Turner, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr. Edward Rhodes, Professor of Government and International Affairs, Schar School of Policy and Government.
Professor Turner’s research proposal, They Knew They Were Pilgrims: Plymouth Colony and the Making of American Liberty, is a current book project under contract with Yale University Press and set for publication in 2020, the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower landing. The project uses the history of the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims to explore themes such as religious persecution and refugees, religious and political liberty, and conflict between Christian purity and religious pluralism.
With his project, Digital Curatorship of Historical Documentation: The Rise and Fall of Liberal Republican Foreign Policy, 1920-1932, Professor Rhodes anticipates creating a fully searchable digital collection of primary documents dealing with American foreign policy during the 1920-1932 period; an edited and annotated compilation of key documents from this period, designed for pedagogical purposes as well as research, and a scholarly monograph documenting and explaining the intellectual roots and principle policy features of American foreign policy during this period.
Professors Turner and Rhodes will present the results of their work in spring 2018 at the annual Fenwick Fellow Lecture hosted by the University Libraries.
The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason tenured, tenure-track, or multi-year appointment term faculty member to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in his or her field. The winning proposal(s) is recommended to the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian by a six-member selection committee including three instructional faculty members and three librarians, with one of the Associate University Librarians serving as administrative coordinator. The recipient(s) is provided with a fully equipped and furnished research office in Fenwick Library and an award of $5,000 to support the recipient’s research project. The terms for this year’s Fellows begin on August 29, 2016 and end on August 11, 2017.