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Marco Community News

Mary Dzon (Faculty, English)

Mary Dzon published an article on the “Manger – Christianity, Medieval Times” in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 17 (Walter de Gruyter, 2019). In May 2019, she presented “The Ox and the Ass: From Symbolism to Symbiosis” at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, Michigan. In June 2019 she gave a paper “The European Sources of the Bow-and-Arrow Imagery in Chaucer’s ‘ABC'” at the Biennial London Chaucer Conference at St. Bride’s, London, UK. In July 2019, she presented “Threats of God’s Three Arrows in Late-Medieval English Manuscripts” at the Early Book Society Biennial Conference in Dublin, Ireland.

Alexandra Garnhart-Bushakra (Graduate Student, History)

Alexandra Garnhart-Bushakra, a PhD candidate in history, was awarded the 2019-2020 Jimmy and Dee Haslam Dissertation Fellowship. This generous support has allowed her to complete her dissertation, titled “If Life Were Verse: Classical Masculinity and Memories of Violence in First Crusade Narratives, 1095-1200 C.E.,” while a guest-resident at the UT Humanities Center. Her project explores how Northern French authors relied on ancient exemplars—including Homer’s Achilles, Virgil’s Aeneas, and Roman love poets, such as Ovid—to redefine Frankish masculinity after the First Crusade. Within 20 years of the campaign, chroniclers began to reimagine the narrative of events and added graphic descriptions of sexual trauma, death, grief, and vengeance to their histories. Whenever monks read, copied, and shared these highly edited accounts, they experienced the horrors and pleasures of crusading without leaving their monasteries.  

In her dissertation, Garnhart-Bushakra argues that churchmen calibrated their words to thrill their Frankish audiences, relying on gendered imagery and emotions to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem intelligible to others.  Early crusade historians mastered evocative language and embraced, if not emulated, Roman poetry in order to guide their Christian readers away from Islam and towards salvation. Therefore, the theme of violence against bodies in the Holy Land transformed into a metaphor for the spiritual health of Latin Christendom.  

The Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the UT Department of History have previously supported Garnhart-Bushakra’s study through travel awards. In 2018, Garnhart-Bushakra journeyed to Paris in order to examine manuscripts at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Last autumn, she had the opportunity to share her work in two forums: the new Graduate Research Luncheon hosted by the Department of History and the UT Humanities Center’s faculty seminar on “Gender and Sexuality in Historical Perspective.”

Katie Hodges-Kluck (Program Coordinator, Marco)

In addition to overseeing the administrative details and publicity for Marco’s busy program of visiting scholars, community outreach events, and other activities, Katie Hodges-Kluck has helped co-lead the Marco Graduate Colloquium for the past two years. She was excited in 2019-20 to serve on the College of Arts & Sciences’ planning and communications committee for Apocalypse Semester 2020 (#apocalypseUTK) and to work with the staff at McClung Museum on the Visions of the End exhibition. Hodges-Kluck’s essay, “Canterbury and Jerusalem, England and the Holy Land, c. 1150-1220,” was published in Viator 49.1 (2018) in April 2019.

Gregor Kalas (Faculty, Architecture, Interim Riggsby Director of Marco)

Gregor Kalas is thrilled to be serving as the Interim Riggsby Director of the Marco Institute. He published a chapter, “Acquiring the Antique in Byzantine Rome: The Economics of Architectural Reuse at Santa Maria Antiqua,” in Diana Ng and Molly Swetnam-Burland, eds., Reuse and Renovation in Roman Material Culture: Functions, Aesthetics, Interpretations (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In 2019, Kalas presented his research at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds, the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, the Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity Conference, and the annual meeting of the Society for Architectural Historians. Together with Jay Rubenstein, Kalas curated the exhibition Visions of the End at the McClung Museum for Natural History and Culture.

Gregory B. Kaplan (Faculty, MFLL-Spanish, Distinguished Professor in the Humanities)

Greg Kaplan published a book, The Origins of Democratic Zionism (Routledge, 2019). Kaplan’s book is the first to link the modern appreciation for democratic freedom directly to Jewish political thought in seventeenth-century Amsterdam. The modern appreciation for democratic values is often assumed to have its roots in Classical thought. Democracy, however, has taken various forms in its progression to the governance many countries now employ. Working in dialog with Protestants, Jewish thinkers voiced the first Modern appeal for the reestablishment of a Jewish polity in the Holy Land. This appeal was grounded in a vision of a Jewish state governed by individual liberty and popular consent, which could be defined as a democratic Zionism. Kaplan’s book focuses on influential rabbi Saul Levi Morteira (b. ca. 1590-d. 1660), as well as two of the most renowned members of his congregation, Baruch Spinoza and Miguel de Barrios. Unlike contemporary Catholic and Protestant thinkers, these three intellectuals found democratic values in an Old Testament polity that came to be revered as the Hebrew Republic. The book explores the trajectory by which this democratization of the Hebrew Republic evolved in the writings of Morteira as an alternative to divine-right rule. It then shows that, in spite of their divergent views toward practicing Judaism, Spinoza and Barrios disseminated Morteira’s democratic ideas and promoted the Hebrew Republic as a model polity for a post-medieval political order.

Amy Neff (Emerita, Art History)

Amy Neff’s book, A Soul’s Journey: Franciscan Art, Theology, and Devotion in the Supplicationes variae has been published by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. She is very pleased with the PIMS’ beautiful production of her long-term research on an extraordinary thirteenth-century manuscript and grateful to Marco’s role in helping it happen. Another publication from 2019 explores in more depth the role of sensory experience in the Supplicationes variae, published in Aesthetic Theology in the Franciscan Tradition: The Senses and the Experience of God in Art, ed. Oleg Bychkov and Xavier Seubert. In 2019, Amy also traveled to Bern, Switzerland, to present a paper on a symbolic Franciscan landscape, speaking at the conference, Medieval Art: Kunst Ponti-Peaks-Passages. Some content from this presentation was also published in 2019, in an article titled “The Holy Man’s Cave: Franciscan Permeations of Time and Space, ca. 1300,” in Transcultural Imaginations of the Sacred, ed. Margit Kern and Klaus Krüger.

Sara Ritchey (Faculty, History)

With the support of fellowships from the NEH and ACLS, Sara Ritchey spent the past year completing a monograph on the forms of healthcare provided by religious women in the late medieval Low Countries (modern day Belgium). She was also pleased to see two articles make their way to print, including “Dialogue and Destabilization: An Index for Comparative Global Exemplarity,” Religions 10 (10) and “The Sacrificial Herb: Gathering Prayers in Late Medieval Pharmacy,” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Studies 9.4. Additionally, she published two essays in edited volumes: “Obstetric Media: Text, Image, and the Performance of Labor in Cistercian Communities,” in Pregnancy and Childbirth from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance, edited by Costanza Dopfel and Alessandra Foscati (2019) and “Sanitas and Sanctity: Hagiographic Approaches to Healthcare in Medieval Latin Christianity,” in Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500-1500, edited by Samantha Herrick. She provided a response to a panel on gender and healthcare at the Medieval Academy of America in Philadelphia, gave a research presentation and facilitated a workshop on global sanctity at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Denver, and gave research talks at the University of Chicago, the University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University, and the Medieval Club of New York. Her most enjoyable moment of the year, however, was joining with UT faculty and colleagues from across the nation when serving as organizer of the annual Marco research symposium on “Death and Dying in Medieval Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.”

Tina Shepardson (Faculty & Chair, Religious Studies)

Tina Shepardson remains busy as the head of the Department of Religious Studies, which makes her especially grateful for what time she still has with students in the classroom. She is also finding ways to remain active in her research and was happy that her book on fourth-century Antioch was released in a paperback edition last spring, and that two articles related to her new book project on sixth-century Syriac-speaking Christians are being released this year.  The first, “Martyrs of Exile: John of Ephesus and Religious Persecution in Late Antiquity,” was released this fall, and the second is forthcoming this spring. In the past year she has given invited talks in Sweden, Denver, San Diego, Princeton, and UC-Santa Barbara, presented her research at Brown University, and participated in a working group at Stanford. She is very excited to have been invited to Hebrew University in Jerusalem this coming May. She also continues to enjoy speaking to local audiences in Knoxville and is happy to have become more involved this year in efforts to foster diversity and inclusion on campus.

Lydia M. Walker (Alumna, History)

Lydia Walker was a lecturer in the Department of History for the 2018-2019 academic year, and she taught Intermediate Level II Latin for Marco Institute’s Summer Latin Program. She presented “Holy Women and Holy War: (Mis)Communication of Crusade Indulgences in Thirteenth-Century Hagiographies,” at the Religion and Ritual Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University, March 30-31. In the spring, she presented “Real Men Preach: Constructions of Clerical Masculinity in the Context of Thirteenth-Century Crusade Preaching,” at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in May. Lydia was also invited to present a paper, “Collaboration and Conflict: Using Gender Performance to Survey and Shape Landscape in Thirteenth Century Christendom,” at the Landscapes of Conflict and Encounter in the Crusading World Symposium at the University of Queensland, Australia, August 12-13. Lydia was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada where she is spending 2019-2020 examining the use of female saints’ lives to embody messages of Holy War and local conflict in Liège, Flanders, and the Levant from the twelfth to thirteenth century.