Thursday, May 21, 2009

Obit -- JoAnn McNamara

Obit -- JoAnn McNamara

For those of you not on the list-serv circuit, JoAnn McNamara has died. I think most medieval historians are aware of her work, and I know that it has helped me to frame some of the questions I ask in teaching and in my current research. I met JoAnn only once, last year at the Berkshire Conference, and felt very privileged. She was very gracious to all of us junior scholars, and was funny and warm, and supportive. She was very much the person she seemed in her writing -- smart, vibrant, feminist -- and in fact, I was sort of shocked into accepting my own age when I met her and Natalie Davis. I'd always thought of them as just a tad older than me, even though intellectually I knew that they had to be around my mother's age (I have a young mother). They always felt like slightly older peers in my head. And that was how JoAnn felt to me in real life, during a dinner and a couple of conference panels. A slightly older peer, gently mentoring people like me, even while she did seem to carry the air of the grande dame of women's history that she was.

Her memorial will be at Hunter College in the fall.


ETA: this discussion thread was posted on the LJ Medieval Studies community, and rather nice.

1 comment:

Susan said...

What sad news. . . JoAnn was always so alive.