In a recent New York Times article a prominent US Civil War historian named over thirty ‘game changing’ historians, and only a single female scholar made the list. This isn’t to say that those named weren’t excellent scholars, but, as ensuing discussions of the listserv of the Society for Medieval Scholarship signalled, it was a reflection on a deep seated mindset – by no means restricted to Civil War historians – in which the contribution of female scholars is often overlooked, sidelined, or simply forgotten. This tradition has been of long duration ,although we have, thankfully, come some way from the days when the female ‘assistants’ who did all the work of identifying, transcribing, and translating important manuscript sources were unacknowledged, while their work went into print under the byline of their (male) professors. (Refer to the marvellous volume Women Medievalists and the Academy, ed. by Jane Chance, and available in the Matheson LIbrary if you doubt me on this.)
So, your humble correspondent started a hashtag, #MedFemList, inviting medievalists in the twitterverse to name five game-changing medievalists. This kind of activism is built on twin goals of responding to discrimination of all kinds with a positive alternate message, and of making the conversation a public one. I am proud to say this has succeeded in its immediate goals. The #MedFemList hashtag quickly began trending on twitter, with hundreds of contributions in the following 24 hours. Literally hundreds of wonderful female medievalists were named, in every sphere of medieval studies. Every contribution was a reminder to read the marvellous work of female colleagues across the discipline. There is now absolutely no excuse for the work of these outstanding scholars to be omitted from undergraduate syllabi around the world, or the reading lists of postgraduate students. This needs to be part of the legacy of our conversation.
Monash is home to many outstanding female academics and research students in Medieval & Renaissance studies, so on behalf of the Monash CMRS I am particularly proud to be a part of this movement. If you are inspired, look up the work of some of my marvellous Med-Ren colleagues online:
- Dr Carolyn James
- Dr Carol Williams
- Dr Cecilia Hewlett
- Dr Clare Monagle
- Dr Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides
- Dr Megan Cassidy-Welch
Or check out some random highlights on Storify:
Visiting Oxford in 2016
In November and December 2016 I am honoured to be a Visiting Fellow of The Oxford Research Centre for Humanities (TORCH).
Teaching Innovation Recognised
My teaching approach has been recognised with a 2016 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in the Australian Awards for University Teaching
Encountering Magna Carta in the Middle Ages: Out now
How did medieval English people encounter Magna Carta? What did they think it meant? How did they use it?
Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Teaching
I’m honoured to have been awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in the Early Career category for 2015
Magna Carta in the Capital
Magna Carta has been celebrated in Canberra throughout the 2015 anniversary. In October, I contributed to the final public symposium at Parliament House.
Medieval Lego: Out Now!
I’m proud to have been involved in a wonderful publication on medieval history for children vibrantly … Continue reading Medieval Lego: Out Now!
Gender and Authority in 13th Century Letters
How was authority gendered in 13th century administrative letters? See my recent chapter in “Authority, Gender and Emotions in Late Medieval and Early Modern England” to find out.
Expo Assessment Takes Off
This year in Medieval Europe, one of the first year history units I coordinate, my tutors and I trialled a new assessment strategy, which seems to have paid huge dividends in student (and staff!) engagement.
Magna Carta Mayhem
2015 marks 800 years since Magna Carta was agreed between King John and his barons, and I’m getting involved in commemorations.
Visiting Fellowship in Lincoln, UK
I’ve recently been appointed as International Visiting Fellow in Medieval History at the University of Lincoln, UK. I’ll be visiting between 17 June and 19 July.
New Project on Anonymity
I’ve just secured some seed funding for an interesting new project on meanings of medieval anonymity. The project will begin in June with a trip to UK libraries and archives.
Words as Weapons Now Online
Update! You can now access my most recent paper, Words as Weapons in the Correspondence … Continue reading Words as Weapons Now Online