By: Laura Archer, Staff Writer
Drew’s annual Lecture in Classics and Women’s and Gender Studies and Awards Ceremony was held on April 4 in the Founder’s Room of Mead Hall. The lecture series and awards were created in honor of Shilpa Raval (1969-2004). Raval graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Drew in ‘91 where she studied English, Classics and Women’s and Gender Studies, then from Brown with a Ph.D. in Classics in ‘98 and went on to work as an assistant professor of Classics at Yale University, while also directing Yale’s Women Faculty Forum.
Every year, two students are awarded the Shilpa Raval Memorial Prize in Classics and the Raval Prize in Women’s and Gender Studies and the Humanities. Presented by Classics professor John Muccigrosso, Alex Ruark (‘18) received the Classics award for studying “with distinction, enthusiasm, and scholarly promise.” The Acorn’s own Anna Gombert (’20) received the Women’s and Gender Studies and Humanities award from Wendy Kolmar, Professor of English and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies department, for Gombert’s “interdisciplinary work, like Shilpa’s lively and innovative scholarship on gender and sexuality in the ancient world, connecting women’s studies with study in an area of the humanities, language or literature.”
The lecture for the evening was titled “Language, Latin, and Literacy in a Medieval Convent.” The lecture was presented by Emilie Amt, chair of the History Department and Hildegarde Pilgrim Professor of History at Hood College. Amt has a Medieval Studies degree from Swarthmore College and a History degree from Oxford University. Amt has previously published editions and translations of medieval Latin texts that include information on government, finance and warfare and religious women. The topic of the lecture focused on the nuns of Godstow Abbey, which is near Oxford, specifically discussing their literacy with and use of the French, English and Latin languages. Amt used different sample texts to illustrate her points made about how language was used in the convent, how Latin was understood and the literacy rate among the women.