Three Questions with Lindsey McNellis, Winner of the Schallek Fellowship
Lindsey McNellis, doctoral student in History at WVU was recently awarded the Schallek Fellowship.
This fellowship is funded by the Medieval Academy of America (MAA) and The Richard III Society – American Branch. The Medieval Academy of America welcomes anyone interested in the Middle Ages; it is the largest medieval organization in the US. The MAA promotes research and teaching on any aspect of the Middle Ages. The Richard III Society – American Branch is a nationwide organization that promotes research into both Richard III himself and the larger history, before, during, and after his time as king of England. The MAA and the Richard III Society – American Branch partnered together to oversee the awarding of the Schallek Fellowship, which is open to any graduate student who studies Britain between the years 1350 and 1500. The funds were a gift from William B. and Maryloo Spooner Schallek. Recipients must also be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or the US. Only one $30,000 fellowship is awarded each year. Recipients can use this money to support travel, research, and writing; it is intended to fully support their scholarly research for the year.
For the application process, McNellis was invited to discuss the scope and relevance of her dissertation project. She also submitted her original prospectus for her dissertation as part of the application.
1. Tell me about yourself: Where are you from? Where did you go for undergraduate school? Why did you choose WVU for graduate school?
I’m originally from Florida; I moved here in 2012 for graduate school. I earned both my BA and MA at the University of Central Florida, both in History. I examined cases of rape in the 12th century for my master’s thesis. Using cases of rape brought before local courts, I assessed the motives of the women bringing the charge and what they hoped to gain from the case. I then reconstructed concepts of successful rape prosecutions using the perspective of the medieval accuser. I chose WVU’s History program for two reasons. First, I wanted the opportunity to work with my advisor, Dr. Kate Staples. Second, the graduate program in History places a strong emphasis on being in the classroom as part of your training, which interested me professionally. I want to be able to research well, but also teach well. The WVU History program offers world class preparation in both areas.
2. What are your goals for your graduate research?
My dissertation, “ Vi et Armis: Violence and Injury before the Common Pleas,” investigates Londoners’ ideas of violence and injury through a consideration of violent torts (or wrongs) presented in fifteenth-century civil court records. Within the records of the Court of Common Pleas, writs of trespass with vi et armis covered an array of violent acts (including kidnapping, theft, breaking and entering, and false imprisonment) wherein people sought compensation for violence done to their person or property. These civil cases offer a glimpse into how medieval Londoners placed value on themselves and their property, as well as a way to examine the relationship between gender, class, and occupation and the institutes of justice. Currently, society is focusing more on the intersections of race, gender, and class and how this influences interactions with institutes of power, including the justice system. My dissertation takes some of those themes and examines how they influenced 15th-century Londoners’ perceptions of violence, injury, and worth.
3. What do you hope to do after school?
I hope to find a job as a professor at a college or university. I love teaching. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to focus on my research full time, but I will miss teaching next year. When my dissertation is finished, thanks to the support of this generous fellowship, I want to get back into the classroom and help students engage with the past.