LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell students made a splash in May at one of the world's largest gatherings of medieval studies scholars.

The 42nd International Congress of Medieval Studies, held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., saw Bucknell undergraduate and graduate students giving papers that were well received by the crowd at the gathering of more than 3,000 scholars representing more than 25 countries.

Albert McMullen '09 and Molly Clay 'M08 gave papers at a session titled, "Beyond the Boundaries: New Approaches to Celtic Studies."

Well received papers
According to Alfred Siewers, assistant professor of English at Bucknell, the papers were so well received that they "resulted in confirmed invitations to them to be part of a book collection based on the session," part of one of two of the largest medieval studies conferences in the world each year.

McMullen, from Trenton, N.J. presented a paper on law and sovereignty in the early Irish story "The Wooing of Etain."

"It was commented that its points could contribute to a new understanding of an important genre of early Irish literature," said Siewers. "It's unusual to have a paper given by an undergraduate at a regular session such as this one at the annual Congress."

Summer research project
McMullen is also involved in a summer undergraduate research project in medieval literature this summer.

Clay, who is working on a master's degree in medieval literature, presented a paper on ecofeminism and Celtic goddess motifs reflected in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She is from Kempton, Pa.

In addition to the student presentations, Siewers and Janice Mann, associate professor of art at Bucknell, both gave papers, as did at least two Bucknell alumni, Sarah Hauer, now in a Ph.D. program in medieval literature at Georgia State University, and Jeffrey Massey, who is a professor of English and medieval literature at Molloy College.

Epicenter for medieval topics
Sponsored by Western Michigan University's Medieval Institute, the four-day conference is the global epicenter for international conversation on medieval topics. "Many of our junior scholars, in fact, present their first papers here, making the experience an important part of their entrée into the profession," said Rand Johnson, interim director of Medieval Institute.

This year's congress featured more than 600 sessions offering scholarly papers, panel discussions. Roundtables, workshops and performances covering all facets of life in the Middle Ages.

Later this summer, another Bucknell medieval student, Mike Gibney ’08, will present a paper at another top scholarly conference, the biennial Association for the Study of Literature and Environment gathering, the leading environmental literary studies conference in the U.S.

Ninth-century writings
Gibney will present results of his summer research from last year on views of nature in the ninth-century writings of John Scottus Eriugena and their relevance today.

Posted May 30, 2007

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