The Ramonat Seminar: Defeat

My experience receiving feedback on the first draft was smooth enough but, actually implementing said feedback has been a challenge. I’m overwhelmed as the semester draws to a close, as other assignments pile up with this paper still looming in the distance. Similar to Saint Sebastian as he was portrayed in Revolt of the Slaves (1960), pictured above, my Professor’s comments felt like I was going toe to toe with a formidable foe! The sense of apathy I’m feeling towards my paper is probably why it was so difficult to go back and revise. Nevertheless, I buckled down and hammered out a second draft and will undergo the process yet again very soon.

One of the biggest areas of struggle for me was revising the unfinished sections, namely Fabiola’s Legacy Through Text (combining the novels and plays surrounding Wiseman’s novel), and Fabiola’s Legacy Through Film (I just finished the last movie Fabiola; or, The Fighting Gladiator (1949) a week ago as I needed the version with English subtitles). Compared to the rest of my revision process, which was more or less just grammatical and clarification issues, these two sections gave me the most trouble for two main reasons: I feel like I’m not doing them justice, and I don’t have the language to talk about some elements.

For the text portion, with Fabiola itself clocking in at 600+ pages, I simply didn’t have the time to do any significant literary analysis of Callista, Hypatia, Two Plays, and Fabiola’s Sisters as well. While that’s obviously not expected as my focus is on the original text, I feel as though anyone reading through will have a lot of questions I can’t fit into the paper. Having already cut some text such as outside reviews, and a retelling, I’m starting to think I should have done the paper on Fabiola and (maybe) one other text, so I could more accurately capture what’s going on. The movie section is outside of my realm altogether. While I’m an avid movie buff, I don’t have any academic language to discuss these films without it coming down to “here’s a picture and this is what happened.” Even discussing something as simple as the choice of actress, the musical score, or the historical context surrounding a film could be papers in of themselves.

Another issue my Professor brought to my attention is the lack of secondary sources I have to back up, or and clarify some statements I make. For all the notes I took on the original text itself, I don’t feel like I did my best in that area either. Overall, if I were to take on something like this paper again, I’d stick to what I know best (literary analysis) and something like one other primary source. Trying to tackle such different formats all at once was a little much as a sophomore who’s never written this much or and so formally.

Despite these worries, I still know everything will be okay. I just have to buckle down with the rest of my assignments and do my very best till the final version is out of my hands. Now it’s time to rebuild! Hopefully, when I post my last blog assignment, my paper can be something I’m proud of rather than a source of anxiety and regret.

ROtS_7

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The Ramonat Seminar: Fabolia; or, The Church of the Catacombs

Oh, how plans fall apart! I was originally going to do my project on the portrayals of Catholic females by Catholic authors in the 19th century. However, after stumbling across a work of historical fiction by Cardinal Wiseman, my research project has taken a rather abrupt u-turn. The featured image above is from the 2012 reprint of the novel. 

Written at a seminal moment in English Catholic history, with the reestablishment of the Church’s hierarchy there, Fabiola is a strange text in of itself. It’s a part of a small segment of fiction by a church official, chiefly concerned with theoretical musings, with an ultramontanist(pro-Pope), anti-Protestant lean. Wiseman’s other works of fiction called The Witch of Rosenburg and The Hidden Gem, A Drama in Three Acts are the only others I’ve found. First discovered in a primary source (a collection of works written by Catholic authors up to that point in England, Ireland, and America), I then tracked down a version of Fabiola in HathiTrust.

So far, I’ve been reading my main primary source as a reflection of the author’s worries and hopes for English Catholics at the time. I believe he’s using the Early Church as an analogy for their present situation. Studying the history of this book will be a challenge but, one I hope is rewarding in the end. Below is the cover of the 1880 version published in New York that I’m reading. As I read through the actual text, its impact as a cultural work has raised some interesting questions.

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The Ramonat Seminar: Final Reflection (Fall 2015)

 

Introduction

What Has Made

Chicago Catholicism Distinctive?

21st Century Perspective

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The Ramonat Seminar #5: Music, Tradition, and Culture

“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimmy Hendrix

Now, I’m not sure how much BrainyQuote is to be believed when it comes to the validity of these quotes being said by the supposed author, but I do believe it beautifully illustrates what I’m trying to get at in this post about music’s role in shaping tradition, and therefore, broader culture.

I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see Mick Moloney and Jimmy Keane’s performance last Thursday. I am happy to report that I didn’t blow off the questions their show being put into the seminar raises, however. What is the role of music in history? Why is it important to examine?

At its heart, music is storytelling at it’s finest. One doesn’t need to know the ins-n-outs of chord progression to know if something moves them in a certain way. Music plays a significant role in shaping a nations when it comes to national songs and celebrations of wars, it leaves a lasting memory of the past, and can reflect the concerns of an age, the zeitgeist to use unnecessary German terms.

Cultural scripts are the ways in which a society or and a local community decides what they will project onto the world, and how they will make those in their community follow suit. Music, why it is produced, by who, and for what purpose is one of the most wide-spread cultural scripts out there. Much like the saying “you are what you eat”, what you listen to informs the ideas you shape from a very young age.

While the source and context impacts how one understands a song in question (if it’s lyrics versus an audio version, how the musician performs it, if it was written during or for a certain period in history, and so on), music offers a fairly reliable example of a larger historical moment.

Spirit_of_76

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The Ramonat Seminar: Discovering the Neighborhood 

1870+Census_683

I was in charge of mapping pg. 683 of this 1870 census, taken around the Holy Family neighborhood! Susie and Claire covered the other portions of our section.

Here are some stats to start off with:

  • I have a total of 40 residents
  • Of those residents, there are 9 “families” (Strong, Haganin, Teas, Vanever, Washburn, Camfield, Genard, Templease, and Brown), and three “singles” (John, Burchman, and Fay)
  • The Strong family only lists children between the ages of 9-16, with no parents attached to them
  • While most “families” consist of a mother and father plus a few kids, the Teas are a husband and wife (I assume) with a large age gap (53 Husband to Wife’s 37), and the Camfields are both in their 40’s with no children
  • 14 residents were born aboard (In Prussia (present day Germany), the Kingdom of Hanover (present day Germany), England, and Canada)
  • The rest are born in either Illinois or a Midwestern state
  • Those born aboard have marked both parents being born aboard, while Lizzie (3) and Mary (1) Genard are the only native-born American’s with that mark, indicated that their family immigrated shortly before Lizzie’s birth
  • It seems after the age of 16 or so, most children haven’t attended school within the year, do to the fact that high school and beyond hadn’t really caught on in that era
  • All men 21 and older could vote, all residences were literate, and no one suffered from mental or physical disabilities 
  • The age range is even as well as the mix of males to females
  • Finally, out of all the data the class collected, my page was the only one who had a family who was not of total white descent. The Browns had a black father, with the Mother and two children of mixed white and black descent or mulatto, to use the antiquated term

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The Ramonat Seminar #1: Urban Religion and Identity

dto1-wabash-avenue-ymca

When I signed up for the inaugural year of the Ramonat Seminar, here at LUC, I didn’t imagine it would shape up in the ways it has so far. Granted, I’ve only been in class for a week now having attended two sessions. Nevertheless, my mind had created a false image of what this course will (hopefully) offer, and I can’t say I’m not happy about that!

The full title of the course (Ramonat Seminar: Immigrant Catholics and the Making of Nineteenth-Century Chicago) is all at once a mouthful and straightforward. I believed we’d be solely tracking the rise of Catholic immigration (from the Polish, Italians, and so on) in Chicago point blank. However, I’ve been challenged to throw into this equation my definition of what religion means in an urban setting, and how my various identities have impacted my reading of this phenomenon.

Being a young, Protestant, African-American female from the East coast, having grown up in the depths of suburbia, my perceptions on what it means to be an immigrant Catholic in the city is largely jaded and filled with conclusions fed to me from my youth. Despite Loyola being a Jesuit Catholic University by nature, I have little to no connection with that heritage and rather came for the scenery and pockets of diversity I found in a predominantly white institution. I’m very involved on campus, but at heart, I’m an introvert that prefers to cozy up with a good book then a night out.

With all that said, my knowledge of Catholicism is limited to my theology classes, mass media, close friends, and Saint James Saint John elementary school in the distant past. The city of Chicago has been mediated to me through tourist visits, weekends at mass attractions, and the constant stream of violence on the news. How then, with my own biases, am I to understand the people, places and events we will be covering in this class? For that, again, I have to turn to the authors presented to me and draw upon what I’ve been taught and have experienced “Urban Religion” to be in a general Christian sense.

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