French Major Eileen Jakeway Wins First Prize at the Charlotte Research Scholars Symposium

Thursday, August 4, 2016
French Major Eileen Jakeway Wins First Prize at the Charlotte Research Scholars Symposium in the Category of “Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, and the Arts” for her Work on 16th-century French Poet, Gabrielle de Coignard   French major Eileen Jakeway and Dr. Allison Stedman of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies participated in the Charlotte Research Scholars Program as a scholar/mentor team during the summer of 2016.  Their project “Christian Humanism: Gabrielle de Coignard and the French Wars of Religion” centered on a female writer of the late 16th-century and her epic poem, the Imitation de la victoire de Judich [Imitation of Judith’s Victory] (wr. 1573-1586 ; pub. 1594), an adaptation of the deuterocanonical Book of Judith (2nd or early 1st-century B.C.). Working under Stedman’s direction, Jakeway examined this poem in its historical, social and cultural contexts to further her study of Coignard’s devotional poetry. As part of her summer research experience, Jakeway used funding provided by the Levine Scholars Program to do archival research at the French National Library in Paris, where Stedman was also working.     One of Jakeway’s major findings this summer was the revelation of parallels between the poem’s protagonist (Judith) and its author (Coignard) that extend beyond the biographical and historical similarities previously noted by scholars. Whereas Coignard’s larger collection of devotional poetry, theŒuvres chrétiennes [Christian Works] can be said to function as an explicit prototype for religious devotional practices, the Imitation, which appears near the mid-point of the collection, advances a more implicit model for how the religious women of Coignard’s time could negotiate the divide between private and public, transcending the domestic arena to which the majority of their influence was confined and acting instead as powerful agents of political change.     Jakeway presented this aspect of her research in a poster display at the Charlotte Research Scholars Symposium at UNCC on July 27 and was awarded first place in the category: “Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, and the Arts.” Her work on Coignard is expected culminate in a thesis of more than 100 pages this coming fall.  See the image below which presents an overview of Jakeway's presentation.