Meet A Lucerna Author: Annie Spencer

Annie will present her research on Eleanor of Aquitaine at the Lucerna Symposium on March 11. For more about Annie’s work, keep reading.

What is your Lucerna project about?

My Lucerna project looks at how chroniclers wrote about Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) during and shortly after her lifetime and how current scholars utilize those chronicles to make decisions about her character.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I have always been very interested in medieval history, specifically the depiction of powerful women. Eleanor of Aquitaine was a perfect subject for this type of project since much has been written about her.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

This project required engaging with several different types of scholarship about Eleanor. The project helped me significantly with understanding the types of questions someone can ask of primary sources and how to answer those questions meaningfully. The challenges were using those primary sources in the first place, as finding reliable translations of these were difficult. Additionally, sifting through all of the chronicles and secondary literature about Eleanor to find the most influential works was a significant challenge in the beginning.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

Your faculty advisor is your best friend. Schedule meetings with them often, if you can, get their feedback and apply that feedback to the best of your ability. Having that mentor who has been through the process of writing and disseminating academic scholarship is an incredible opportunity, especially for undergraduates.

What are your professional plans or goals?

I’m currently getting my M.A. in Medieval Studies, which has always been a goal of mine. I want to go on to get a Ph.D. in a medieval field. One day, I wish to be a professor at a university teaching people how exciting the medieval period can be while also doing my own research.