‘Magistra doctissima’ Bonnie Wheeler honored with <em>festschrift</em> of essays in medieval studies

Bonnie Wheeler

‘Magistra doctissima’ Bonnie Wheeler honored with festschrift of essays in medieval studies

Bonnie WheelerAs director of medieval studies in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Bonnie Wheeler has served as a role model to her students as well as a driving force in her academic field. Now, colleagues throughout the nation have organized a festschrift to honor “her many scholarly achievements and to celebrate her wide-ranging contributions to medieval studies in the United States.”

Magistra Doctissima: Essays in Honor of Bonnie Wheeler (published in late 2013 by Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University) contains nearly 20 individual contributions by eminent medieval scholars and is edited by Dorsey Armstrong and Ann W. Astell of Purdue University and Howell Chickering of Amherst College. In five distinct groups of essays, as well as in the book’s title (“Most Expert Teacher”), its creators pay homage to a scholar who “has effectively shaped medieval studies over the course of the last three decades,” wrote Astell and Chickering in their introduction.

“Not only is Bonnie most expert (doctissima) in her chosen scholarly fields as well as a master teacher in the classroom and lecture hall, she has also guided innumerable national committees, often as their chief, and, above all, has been a beloved mentor to generations of students and colleagues. During her career she has played the role of magistra in so many different contexts that the title seems inevitable.”

> More about Magistra Doctissima at the Western Michigan University homepage

'Magistra Doctissima' coverThe editors chose to focus on writings that “extend or complement” Wheeler’s own considerable body of scholarly work. She has edited, co-edited or co-authored 13 essay collections and serves as series editor for two Palgrave Macmillan’s peer-reviewed series, The New Middle Ages and Arthurian and Courtly Cultures. In addition, she is founding editor of Arthuriana, the quarterly journal of the International Arthurian Society/North American Branch.

In a break with usual festschrift tradition, only one former Wheeler student contributed an essay – the late Stephen Stallcup ’92, then assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. The rest were written by peers and colleagues, many of them preeminent experts in their fields.

A section on Old and Middle English literature includes works on topics ranging from Chaucer’s Britishness to a Japanese woman writer’s engagement with Grendel’s Mother. The next, on “Arthuriana Then and Now,” includes an essay on the continued presence of the Holy Grail on the World Wide Web. Another, on Joan of Arc, features reflections upon the warrior saint’s afterlife on stage and screen.

The fourth section, on “Nuns and Spirituality,” includes an edition and translation of a previously unpublished letter from the abbot of Clairvaux to the abbess of Fontevrault, as well as a consideration of El Greco’s Espolio by Annemarie Weyl Carr, University Distinguished Professor Emerita of Art History in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The final section, “Royal Women,” features an examination of the personal seal of Constance of France and an edition of two previously unpublished bequests by Jeanne d’Évreux to the abbey of Saint-Denis.

Jo Goyne, SMU senior lecturer in English, earned a grateful mention in the book’s acknowledgments “for her crucial role in helping develop this volume” as well as for her editorial assistance.

The festschrift is not the first honor bestowed upon Wheeler by her peers in medieval studies. In 2010, an international group of colleagues and friends created The Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship Fund to support women scholars in medieval studies as they complete major research projects that will enable them to advance in their profession.

Visit the Bonnie Wheeler Fund homepage

March 3, 2014|For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty|

For the Record: March 19, 2010

Peter Moore, ad interim dean of Dedman College and professor of mathematics, has been elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa by the SMU (Gamma of Texas) chapter of the honor society, which recognizes and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Moore is the first administrator to be so honored in SMU chapter history. He was chosen for the distinction because of “his firm commitment to liberal studies and scholarship, the values crucial to intellectual life in academe,” says Associate Professor of English Bonnie Wheeler, a member of Phi Beta Kappa’s national nominating committee.

Isaac Mbiti, Economics, Dedman College, has been named a Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 2010-11 academic year and will teach and conduct research through the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab in MIT’s Economics Department. The lab seeks to change the way public policy is made by determining the most cost-effective approaches for tackling poverty.

Angela Ards, English, Dedman College, has been named a 2010-11 Fellow to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Fellowship will allow her to research and write, with access to the Harvard and Radcliffe library resources, and to exchange ideas with a multidisciplinary community of Fellows from the humanities, the social sciences and the creative arts.

SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility has announced the recipients of its 2010-11 Maguire Teaching Fellow Awards. Soraya Gollop, Philosophy, Dedman College, will design a course tentatively entitled “Medical Ethics.” Thomas Siems, Engineering Management, Information and Systems, Lyle School of Engineering, will design a course entitled “Ethics in Engineering.” The Maguire Center offers one or more $3,000 grants every year to professors who develop a new course relating to ethics, or who add an ethical dimension to an existing course.

March 19, 2010|For the Record|

Calendar Highlights: Jan. 26, 2010

Simon Conway MorrisDarwin Year continues: Fellow of the Royal Society Simon Conway Morris (right), professor of evolutionary paleobiology at the University of Cambridge, will present “Darwin’s Compass: Why the Evolution of Humans is Inevitable” at 3 p.m. Jan. 29 in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall. The lecture is part of SMU’s Darwin’s Evolving Legacy series and is sponsored by the University’s Scott-Hawkins Lecture Series; Morris appears at the co-invitation of SMU’s Departments of Mathematics and Biological Sciences. For more information, visit the Darwin’s Evolving Legacy homepage.

Student symphony stars: SMU’s Meadows Symphony Orchestra presents a concert led by students in the Meadows School of the Arts‘ master’s degree program in orchestral conducting, and featuring winners of the Meadows Concerto Competition. The show begins at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 and 3 p.m. Jan. 31 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. For tickets and information, contact the Meadows Box Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Ministers Week 2010: The annual gathering at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology complements the University’s 200th-anniversary celebration of Charles Darwin’s birth with “The Pew and the Petri Dish: Contemporary Issues in Religion and Science” Feb. 1-3 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Featured speakers include John Haught, senior fellow in science and religion at Georgetown University, author of God and the New Atheism, and winner of the 2002 Owen Garrigan Award in Science and Religion and the 2004 Sophia Award for Theological Excellence. Other lecturers include Gregory Cuellar, three-time fellow of the Hispanic Theological Initiative and adjunct professor of bible at Richland College, as well as SMU faculty members John Holbert, Rebekah Miles and William Abraham of the Perkins School and Mark Chancey of Dedman College. SMU community members can attend several Ministers Week events at discounted rates by visiting the Faculty/Staff/Student Registration page of the Ministers Week website.

Eugene Andolsek, 'Untitled 311C'Drawing inspiration: Artist and lifelong Rock Island Railroad employee Eugene Andolsek (1921-2008) produced thousands of drawings on graph paper over a period of 50 years, working alone at his kitchen table to ease the anxieties that plagued him his entire life. His work, exploring an array of colors and geometrical combinations, came to the attention of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and Andolsek was one of five artists included in the 2006 Obsessive Drawing exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan. Now, selected works have been collected in a new exhibition at SMU – Kaleidoscope: Eugene Andolsek’s Geometric Ink Drawings runs Feb. 1-Mar. 20 in the Pollock Gallery, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. (Right, an untitled work featured in a 2008 Andolsek exhibition at the American Primitive Gallery in New York City.)

Beauty marked: SMU hosts a panel discussion examining the emphasis women place on striving for beauty and the damage they do to themselves in the process. “The Power and Burden of Beauty” features international artist Rachel Hovnanian, former national Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue; Bonnie Wheeler, director of medieval studies in SMU’s Dedman College; Carolyn Hodges, senior sales director with Mary Kay Cosmetics; and Rachel Dodds, UT student and sorority member. The discussion takes place 5-6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in Bob Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum. For more information, call Lisa Bytner at 917-951-8940.

Faculty Club Distinguished Luncheon Series: The SMU Faculty Club presents Jim Hollifield, professor of international political economy and director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies, in the first of two lectures on “Immigration and Migration” at noon Feb. 3 in the Faculty Club. Cost is $12 for members, $15 for non-members. RSVP by Jan. 29 to Dee Powell, 214-768-3012.

January 26, 2010|Calendar Highlights|

For the Record: March 26, 2009

Bonnie Wheeler, English/Medieval Studies, Dedman College, spoke in the Conference of Historical Journals at the American Historical Association’s 2009 meeting in January. Her lecture on emerging challenges to the identities of traditional humanities journals was covered by The Chronicle of Higher Education in an article published in the March 27, 2009 issue. She is editor of the journal Arthuriana and president of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals.

Cody Meador, a rising senior political science major in Dedman College, has been selected as SMU’s 2009-10 Presidential Fellow to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. The University names one Fellow each year who attends two conferences in Washington and writes a policy paper for the Center. Read Cody’s summer 2008 service blog at SMU’s Student Adventures site.

Ben Manthey, a graduating senior history major and Chinese minor in Dedman College, has received a 2009-10 Fellowship to the Princeton in Asia Program. He will spend the academic year in Beijing. Founded in 1898, Princeton in Asia’s mission is to foster cross-cultural understanding between Asians and Americans by giving young people opportunities to live and work in Asia. Read Ben’s spring 2008 China blog at SMU’s Student Adventures site.

March 26, 2009|For the Record|

Faculty in the News: Oct. 10, 2008

Cal Jillson, Political Science, talked about the unusually high stakes in the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate with The Christian Science Monitor Oct. 2, 2008. He also discussed the significance of this year’s increased voter registration in North Texas with The Dallas Morning News Oct. 6, 2008.

In addition, Jillson discussed how Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is galvanizing base voters from both major political parties with Reuters Oct. 8, 2008.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, discussed why a recent drop in fuel prices may not mean that consumers will return to their old driving habits with The Los Angeles Times Oct. 7, 2008.

Scott MacDonald, Southwest Graduate School of Banking, discussed why the banking industry continues to build branch banks, even as more customers do their banking online, with WFAA News Oct. 9, 2008.

Bonnie Wheeler, English, spoke with The Chronicle of Higher Education for its Oct. 10, 2008 edition about the controversy over a large-scale, multinational attempt in Europe to rank humanities journals. She is director of SMU’s Medieval Studies Program, editor of the journal Arthuriana and president of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals.

Rita Kirk and Dan Schill, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, talked about the potential for “bandwagon effect” resulting from political polls and live audience feedback with The Wall Street Journal Oct. 10, 2008. Kirk and Schill are conducting CNN’s live focus groups for all four 2008 presidential and vice-presidential debates.

October 10, 2008|Faculty in the News|
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