Recent Theses and Capstones

Clare Reid (MA ’21)

Clare Reid, who is finishing her MA in English, conducts research focusing on Western Medieval religious art and literature by women. Advised by Global Medieval Studies director Dr. Sarah McNamer, Clare’s capstone project is an online collection of art activities based on the work of medieval religious women. Her capstone project, titled “In Every Sense”, is a multisensory, multimodal approach to the works of Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich. Her project is based on the creative work of medieval religious women, including clothes, jewelry, weapons, housewares, and architecture, mentioned in the works of the Pearl poet. Clare also has substantial experience illustrating material objects from the medieval era, such as these illustrations of medieval African art, which can be found on the Premodern Worlds podcast site.

Out of all the personalities from the medieval period, Clare would most like to interact with Julian of Norwich, who has greatly impacted Clare’s work. Though little is known about Julian’s life, she authored the first book known to be written in English by a woman. Clare would love to learn more about what it was like to live and write as a woman in the medieval period. To learn more about Clare’s capstone project, click here!

Rachel Singer (COL ’21)

Rachel Singer is a History major and Linguistics minor. Under Dr. Amy Leonard‘s supervision, she is writing a senior thesis entitled “‘Scandal’ in Poitiers? Three Perspectives of a Medieval Nuns’ Rebellion”, which covers a sixth-century nuns’ rebellion at Sainte-Croix Abbey in Poitiers during which forty nuns broke out of the convent, gathered a band of male followers, and then sacked their own abbey. We only have two surviving sources which describe the event and they are both quite biased against the nuns, but she is working on reconstructing the women’s perspective of the events and contrasting these three surviving perspectives to get a better idea of what may have happened.

This fall, Rachel is at Cambridge studying for a Masters in Philosophy in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. She’s planning to write her masters thesis on differing perspectives of another disputed event, this time a battle in North Wales in 1098 for which we have surviving and conflicting accounts from Welsh, Anglo-Norman, and Norse points of view. Rachel will examine how the identities of the authors of these accounts contribute to their perspectives on the event. If she could meet anyone from the medieval period, it would be Gregory of Tours, whose work she has been engaging for her senior thesis, and for whom she has a lot of angry and pointed questions. She would also like to meet Christine de Pizan or Ibn Battuta, for whom she has less angry questions. For a sneak peek at her thesis, part of the reliquary which held the sacked abbey’s True Cross relic does survive!