20 July 2008

The Italy Adventure Begins

In less than a week, I begin my adventure in Italy, embarking in earnest on the research for my senior thesis. For now, my topic focuses on women in late medieval Italy and their responses to the Passion and Crucifixion and I’m hoping to use the writings of medieval authors as well as art to determine what kind of role the Passion played in the religious devotion of women in the Middle Ages.

When I originally proposed a topic for my project, I felt pretty sure that I wanted to study something related to women in the Middle Ages since that’s a topic in which I’ve been interested for quite awhile, especially in my history classes. I also wanted a topic that would allow me to tie together my coursework from the past three years as well as my academic interests. Most importantly though, it would have to be engaging enough to remain interesting for an entire year! Choosing a topic was no easy task, and I spent a lot of time trying to make a decision. As I was brainstorming and reading trying to narrow down a topic, my Latin professor, after seeing me in the library one morning, offered this advice, “whatever you chose, just make sure it interests you and that you’re happy with it.” Her advice served as a reality check as sometimes it’s so much easier to make a decision based on what someone else thinks or what looks like the simplest route rather than being creative and challenging yourself.

I hope this topic will provide interesting research and conclusions, especially since the events of the Passion were so physical, it would seem that women would have difficulty relating to them, especially in the Middle Ages. However, it could turn out that it really wasn’t such a dichotomy after all - that’s the point of research. I expect my topic to become more focused and to shift, but for all I know, it could change completely after this trip to Italy...I’ll just have to wait and see!

My trip to Italy will start in Rome where I’ll visit the Vatican Museums, the Museo Nazionale, and many of the churches in the city. From there, I’ll travel to Assisi, Spoleto, then on to Florence. In Florence, I’ll spend lots of time visiting churches and the museums in the city, as well as taking day trips to Pisa, Arezzo, and Siena before heading home around the middle of August.

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