Medieval and Early Modern Student Association
CMRS provides support for MEMSA, an interdisciplinary student organization that aims to foster connections among diverse graduate students from various departments studying late antiquity through the end of the seventeenth century. MEMSA hosts panels and workshops on professional development, a range of scholarly topics, and research methods. MEMSA also organizes extracurricular activities for UCLA’s medieval and early-modern grad students. This year, MEMSA is especially committed to fostering community as we navigate the current pandemic. This will include organizing a virtual conference and maintaining connections through social media outlets. Our mission as an organization is to provide a space to support each other’s professional and personal well-being.
For 2020-21, Richard Ibarra (History), Stefanie Matabang (Comparative Literature), and Patrick Morgan (History) are the MEMSA officers and are looking forward to serving the MEMSA graduate student community this year.
MEMSA Mission Statement
We, the new MEMSA officers, hope to make MEMSA a welcoming, friendly, supportive, and useful community to pre-modernists and early-modernists from a diverse group of departments and fields, especially those fields beyond the traditional medieval-Renaissance axis. MEMSA will serve as a bridge between graduate students and research institutions like the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) and advocate on behalf of students with CMRS and other institutions relevant to our grad students’ research. MEMSA will provide community, support, and enrichment to graduate student social and intellectual life at UCLA.
There is no question that the past year has seen enormous change and extreme challenge and as MEMSA officers for the AY 20-21, we seek to meet those various challenges responsibly, and with the diverse needs of the medieval graduate student community in mind. ‘Community’ is a key idea for us and when we speak to that idea, we want to emphasize that we are referring to ALL pre-modernists and early modernists, especially those who have yet to be wholly integrated into our medieval/renaissance fold–but rightfully should be! One of our goals is to foster more interdepartmental community and communication with African Studies, American Indian Studies, Latin American Studies, Asian Languages and Cultures and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Adding to the groundwork laid by the previous officers, we also plan to facilitate further social and intellectual engagement between medievalist and early modern grad students through various spaces. We would like to offer as many forums as possible for students to discuss their work and key issues related to the field, build skills, and promote professional development during this time when many options are not as accessible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may all be held virtually if necessary. This would include such things as:
- Workshops or group discussions centered around racism and medieval studies as well as indigeneity and medieval studies.
- An interdisciplinary graduate student conference.
- Informal working groups and roundtables with faculty and others tackling skills many of us need for our research, such as paleography.
- A reading group for graduate students focusing on a widely-needed or especially common medieval text that would be useful for and voted on by the group.
- Workshops geared towards preparation for the job market, like application workshops, mock job talks, and discussions with recent alumni about their experiences.
- Social events like movie nights, museum excursions, renaissance faire trips and happy hours.
- More ways of facilitating connections among members, such as a Facebook page and member directory.
- We will also make an effort to secure a dedicated physical study and social space for MEMSA students and their colleagues.
We look forward to incorporating a larger group of student voices as MEMSA moves from the English department and expands under the aegis of CMRS, shaped with the needs of our larger student community in mind.
MEMSA Officers 2020-2021: