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.
Start your job search at the University Libraries!
The Libraries provide full, complimentary access for all Mason students to a variety of career-related resources:
Research the companies you’re interested in using Mergent Online, a collection of financial information covering over 400,000 companies. Read in-depth reports, follow current company news, and investigate your prospective employer’s competitors in the public and private sectors.
Gear up for your new career with the Vault Online Career Library. Get industry-specific information and career advice; browse guides on resume-writing and cover letters; or search Vault’s job board for postings.
Organize your job search with CareerShift, a search tool that returns results from dozens of career sites and job boards. Search by job title, company name, keyword, and location—then save your results and manage your application documents in one place.
For more information on career resources available to you during your search, consult the University Libraries Career Resources guide or reach out to University Career Services.
During Winter Break, all music collections (including books, scores, LPs, and CDs) were moved from their long-time home in Gateway Library to 2600 Fenwick Library. Please join the University Libraries on Tuesday, March 21, for a host of events to celebrate the Music Library’s new location on the second floor of Fenwick.
#MarchIntoMusic with a musical parade from DeLaski to Fenwick at 1:30 p.m.; performances by the Mason Traditional Jazz Ensemble from 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in the south lobby of Fenwick; a gallery talk at our new Gilbert and Sullivan exhibition from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and digital demos by Alexander Street Press and Oxford Music Online throughout the afternoon (from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.).
To get yourself in the mood, check out the Libraries’ host of music-related resources, available online 24/7 for Mason students, faculty, and staff. Use these resources to expand your study of music or for your own relaxation and enjoyment. Resources include:
- Music & Performing Arts Video Collection, by Alexander Street Press: Presents an extensive array of content in video, audio, and text, covering different time periods, artists, composers, choreographers, and ensembles. Subjects include dance, film, music, and theater.
- Oxford Music Online: Features over 60,000 articles on all aspects of music, and includes Grove Music Online, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, The Oxford Companion to Music, and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music.
- Met Opera on Demand: Offers full-length performances from the Metropolitan Opera, including Live in HD productions, classic telecasts, and archival radio broadcast recordings for high-quality viewing and listening.
- Naxos Music Library Jazz: Offers a large selection of works by over 32,000 jazz legends and contemporary artists from over 200 labels, including Blue Note Records, Warner Jazz, EMI, Fantasy, and others.
For more information, contact Steve Gerber, Music and Theater Librarian, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-993-9051.
If you love researching local history or old newspapers, you’ll want to check out the Prince William County Historic Newspapers. Our Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) recently finished processing this new collection given to the University Libraries by the Prince William County Library. The papers in the collection span the years 1851 through 1992 and contain many interesting articles (such as the one pictured on the left) and fun advertisements. Read SCRC’s story and visit the newly created finding aid to learn more.