A UNL alumna will deliver the fourth annual Mary Martin McLaughlin Memorial Lecture, which will focus on the lives of well-known Medieval women, such as Catherine of Siena, Hildegard of Bingen and Katharine of Aragon.
Christine Stewart-Nuñez, who received her doctorate degree from UNL, will deliver her talk, “Meditations on Medieval Women: Poems Inspired by Life and Art,” 5 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St.
Stewart-Nuñez will read some of her original poems and provide insights into the representation of women in medieval and Renaissance art. Stewart-Nuñez’s poems illustrate the lives of medieval and Renaissance women. She draws inspiration for her poetry from biographies, letters, observations, scholarship and art.
Carole Levin, Willa Cather Professor of History and director of UNL’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, said Stewart-Nuñez’s presentation will be of interest to a wide audience.
“Her poetry is very accessible and powerful,” Levin said. “It is wonderful to bring her here because we, as an institution, should be proud of Christine. We as a university and a state produced this talented scholar. She did wonderful work here. She’s done wonderful work beyond, but I also think she’s such a great model for students here, both undergraduate and graduate students.”
Stewart-Nuñez is an associate professor of English at South Dakota State University and has published several books of poetry, with her newest being “Snow, Salt and Honey.” She has also contributed to magazines such as Arts & Letters, North American Review, Prairie Schooner and Shenandoa. She was named South Dakota State’s Scholar of the year for the 2012-13 academic year.
The lecture is named for Mary Martin McLaughlin, who was a renowned scholar of the Middle Ages. Levin said the program decided to fund the lecture to honor McLaughlin for her contributions to medieval and Renaissance studies, and because McLaughlin attained both her bachelor and master’s degree from UNL.
“Because Mary pioneered the study of medieval women’s history and women’s studies, the lecture will always touch on medieval women,” Levin said.
McLaughlin died in 2006 at 87. Her sister, Rosanne McLaughlin, helped fund the first lecture. Since then, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program has funded the lecture with help from others. This year, the Hildegard Center for the Arts is co-sponsoring the lecture. Kim Einspahr, president of the center, said the collaboration is a chance to connect the center’s supporters with UNL and “offer them a rich, educational experience.” It is especially fitting for the center, Einspahr said, since one of the women Stewart-Nuñez will introduce to the audience through her poetry is the center’s namesake, Hildegard of Bingen.
The lecture will be followed by a reception.