Missouri Southern State University Student Melody Reed Presents Research at International Medievalism Conference

Image Credit: Curtis Almeter, Missouri Southern State University

This spring, Missouri Southern State University junior English major Melody Reed traveled to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo for the International Congress of Medieval Studies, an annual conference for medieval scholars from around the world. Reed was one of only six undergraduates in the country selected to present at the Congress.

“Being accepted for an academic convention as an undergraduate has been encouraging and validating to me as a student and an emerging scholar,” said Reed.

After learning how medieval beliefs and ideas are often misrepresented and misunderstood in modern adaptations in Dr. Rebecca Mouser’s Medievalism course, Reed thought about Disney’s 1985 animated film The Black Cauldron.

“I have loved fantasy novels and films since I was a kid, and it was fascinating to see how much this genre in particular draws on the Medieval,” said Reed. “This led me to reconsider The Black Cauldron and the conflict between the Christian ideals and Celtic ideals that would have been in direct opposition to each in the film and at the time the film is set.”

With encouragement from Mouser, Reed submitted the proposal to the convention. A few weeks later, the paper was accepted for presentation.

“After the shock wore off, I was excited,” said Reed. “Dr. Mouser is always so encouraging and makes me feel like an emerging scholar rather than just a student taking a class. That is a big reason I felt the courage to submit my paper.”

Mouser expresses the importance of Reed’s acceptance into the Congress.

“This is a huge honor for her,” Mouser said. “It means that scholars in medieval literature see potential in her work, and it will help her with law school admissions.”

In April, one month prior to presenting at Western Michigan University, Reed presented a critical essay on Joachim Trier’s film The Worst Person in the World at English honor society Sigma Tau Delta’s annual convention in St. Louis. Reed contributes this first presentation to preparing her for the Congress.

“Presenting at the Sigma Tau Delta convention was a fun and positive experience,” she said. “It made me feel much less nervous for the Congress.”

With Mouser serving as a mentor, Reed successfully presented her work in Kalamazoo, receiving positive comments from those attending the session. She also made connections with several professors and graduate students from other universities. In the future, Reed plans to continue with her independent studies in medievalism while attending law school when she graduates next year.

“I was excited to present my work and get feedback from some of the best in the field as well as see how medievalism expands to different fields like art and women’s history during the medieval era,” she said. “I’m hopeful that this opportunity will show my abilities and dedication to my education and scholarship to potential programs.”


Missouri Southern State University

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