Doctoral Student Ashley Odebiyi Wins Medieval Essay Contest

Ashley OdebiyiAshley Odebiyi, second year Ph.D. student, recently placed an article with an upcoming volume of the online peer-reviewed Medieval Feminist Forum published through the University of Iowa. Odebiyi studies medieval women’s spirituality, especially semi-religious women, who did not take traditional religious vows yet practiced a spiritual way of life, such as adherence to apostolic poverty.

Odebiyi placed a revised version of her seminar paper from Spring 2018. “The paper discusses the writings of three beguine mystics, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Brabant, and Marguerite Porete,” she says. In it, Odebiyi argues that these women engaged in discourses about theology and courtly love. “They both confirmed and subverted gender roles,” she says. “The paper seeks to examine how Mechthild, Hadewijch, and Marguerite each sought to place herself and her writings within the confines of the dominant male discourse while at the same time testing those same discourses of power.” The journal, Medieval Feminist Forum, is part of the Society of Medieval Feminist Scholarship, which holds the annual Graduate Student Essay Contest that Odebiyi won.

Odebiyi says that the faculty members she has worked with have been very helpful to her. She credits Dr. Lesley Gordon for helping her edit her paper, and she also says that Dr. James Mixson has been a major part of success during her time here as a graduate student. “Dr. Mixson has been a phenomenal help not only in encouraging me to keep researching and writing but also in helping to make my paper more interesting for others to read.” She also says that Dr. Holly Grout and her gender class “helped me to restructure the first draft of the seminar paper to focus more on how women conformed or subverted the prescribed gender roles. That class was especially helpful in explaining Foucault and discourses of power, which is central to my paper’s argument.” Finally, Odebiyi also thanked Dr. Gordon with help editing during the seminar class in which she wrote the article.

Congratulations, Ashley! We’re so proud of your achievements and can’t wait to see what further successes are in store for her.