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2024 Research Symposium

Politics and Power: An Exploration of Social Structures and Forms of Leadership

2024 Research Symposium
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Focusing on the theme of politics and power, the 2024 Med-Ren Research Symposium shall provide a forum for undergraduate scholars to tackle the intricate concepts of government, influence, and multifarious power. We welcome students from all academic backgrounds and pride ourselves on the Symposium’s interdisciplinary approach, which allows us to address such impactful and all-encompassing notions as politics and power holistically.

Power & Politics: An Exploration of Social Structures and Forms of Leadership
April 13th Program Schedule

12:00PM-1:30PM: Nation and Empire
Chair: Dr. Lu Ann Homza

12:00PM-12:30PM: Evelyn Waddick, “God and Country: Religion as a Political Tool in the Reign of James I (r. 1603-1625).”

12:30PM-1:00PM: Stephen Vasiljevic, “Catherine II (r. 1762-1796) and the Secularization of Russian Orthodox Church Property.”

1:00PM-1:30PM: Xincheng Hou, “Reinventing the Tradition of the Nation: Mass Media Historians’ Writings of Qigong in Post-Mao Mainland China”

1:30PM-2:00PM: Break

2:00PM-3:30PM: War and Representations of Power

2:00PM-2:30PM: Blake McCullough, “Byzantine Images and Sacred Spaces through the Persian and Early Islamic Threat (602-705).”

2:30PM-3:00PM: Josiah Canon DeSarro-Raynal, “The Albigensian Crusade: The Crusading Ideal Unbroken.”

3:00PM-3:30PM: Terence Flannery, “Whitewashing the Kirchenberg: The Evolution of Transylvanian Churches during the Reformation.”

3:30PM-4:00PM: Break

4:00PM-5:10PM: Noetica: Celebrating Creativity (2024 Creative Competition Winners)

4:00PM-4:10PM: Remarks: Prof. Alexander Angelov and Blake McCullough

4:10PM-4:20PM: Ian Wilson, “Jesus in Gethsemane” (Visual Arts)

4:20PM-4:30PM: JR Herman, “Μῆνις: Wrath” (Visual Arts)

4:30PM-4:40PM: Gabriel Dakake, “Will to Power” (Poetry)

4:40PM-5:10 PM — Closing Remarks and Celebration

Reflection from 2023

Last year's symposium was a great success. In our first session, Politics, Economics, and the State, Blake McCullough taught us about the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem's colonial society and government, John Dale took us back to colonial North America's Anglican religion impact and its failings, and Henry Stratakis-Allen gave us fascinating insights into the world of the medieval people of Baghdad.

Henry Stratakis-Allen explains legal and philosophical developments in medieval Seljuq society and how they did not always impact the majority of the common people.Our second session, Philosophy, Ritual, and Representation, took us into the world of the Near East. Stephen Vasiljevic began us with an insightful and intelligent examination of fasting in Orthodoxy with applications to our modern relationship with food. George French explained the need for a new outlook on classical figures and their relationship to developments in religion and philosophy. Donovan Watters took us into the realm of the Orthodox Church and its deeply meaningful use of icons as religious and cultural tools.

George French explains martyrdom and its appeal to the Early Christians.The third session, entitled Fashion, Culture, and Self-Expression, took us to the Renaissance period. Heidi Zmick expounded upon dance as recorded in a monastic charter and its functions in the secular and religious realms. Sarah Richman gave a fascinating presentation on her experience and understanding of hair taping, and even gave us a demonstration!

Sarah Richman shows us the tape courtly women of the Renaissance might use to style their hair as she begins her demonstration.Our final session, Polemics, Discord, and Unity, discovered medieval commonalities across cultures and informed us about religious upheavals in the Reformation. Bradley Friedman presented interesting parallels and meaningful differences between two very different peoples and places, England and the Ottoman State, while Harry Zhang ended us off on a note of religious divisions turning into religious unity.

Bradley Friedman and Harry Zhang incisively answer audience questions as Dr. Thomas McSweeney presides over the session.Dr. Angelov and myself once again wish to thank our presenters for all of their hard work and exceptional scholarship, and to show our appreciation for all the faculty, friends, and family members who attended this year's Conflict and Resolution Research Symposium.

Presenters, friends, and supporters of this year's Research Symposium pose together after a long two days of fantastic presentations. From left to right, Sarah Richman, Stephen Vasiljevic, John Dale, Heidi Zmick, Harry Zhang, Peter Fox, Blake McCullough, Terence Flannery, Dr. Alexander Angelov, and Grace Subu.

With deepest sincerity,

Blake McCullough