Student research explores sport in the Middle Ages

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 09, 2022 | by 

From falconry and football to ice skating and tennis, students in Brock’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies have been exploring the history of sport.

They’ve taken what they’ve learned and are now getting experience presenting their research in a conference setting in class beginning this week.

“The event is an opportunity to have the experience of an academic conference, share research with peers and develop professional skills,” says Teresa Russo, instructor for the course. “Participating in this way gives students content to include on their resumés.”

Taking place over two weeks on March 9 and 16, the in-class conference is an experiential learning opportunity for students, as they will be learning not only how to present at an academic conference but also how to moderate panel discussions.

Russo does a conference with her students in MARS/ENGL 2P95 Reading the Middle Ages: The Heroic and the Chivalric each year, exploring different themes from the Middle Ages.

“I chose the topic of sport for the conference for a second year so that it connects to the Canada Games while students still consider warriors and knights in their research,” she says.

The conference’s first session explored sports, including ice skating, hammer throw, wrestling, football and tennis, while the second will see students will share their research on horse racing, water sports, golf, ‘stick games’ and jousting. A special panel will look specifically at women’s participation in hunting, falconry and archery.

Students may also have their essays published as part of Reading the Middle Ages: Oral and Literate Cultures, which features undergraduate research from Brock’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies students.

“I created the Reading the Middle Ages (RMA) Omeka website for the purpose of cultural exchange and to support professional skills development in the Humanities,” says Russo.

The website is supported by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies as well as the Digital Scholarship Lab. At least one student has used their publication on the site as a launching point for publication elsewhere, says Russo.

“Any shared written work on RMA is an online publication for their resumés,” she says.