Dawn Marie Hayes Wins 2018 Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship

 
Dawn Marie Hayes, recipient of the 2018 Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship, will use her award to support the completion of her new book, Roger II of Sicily: Strategies of Identity and Power in the Twelfth-Century Mediterranean World. A special feature of the Fellowships is the designation of a mentor who is responsible for reading the work-in-progress of the Fellow and for offering criticism and encouragement. David Abulafia, Professor of Mediterranean History in the University of Cambridge and Papathomas Professorial Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, will mentor this project.
 
Hayes earned her Ph.D. at NYU in 1998 and joined the faculty of the Department of History of Montclair State University (MSU) in 2003, where she was promoted to associate professor in 2006. While at this rank, she has carried significant teaching and service burdens, including serving as Founder and Director of MSU’s Summer Institute in Sicily. She is also mother of seven children. A few years after the publication of her first book, Body and Sacred Place in Medieval Europe: Interpreting the Case of Chartres Cathedral, 1100-1389, she began to train herself in a new subfield – medieval Mediterranean history – an effort from which this is the first book-length study. Roger II of Sicily draws on sources of political, social, religious and art history to help better understand a complex historical narrative that grows out of the life of an extraordinary medieval ruler. And because Roger’s seat of power was situated in the crossroads of numerous cultures, the monograph speaks to a number of regions within the greater Mediterranean, calling attention to their interconnectedness. Sicily and Southern Italy emerge from the study as important players in a tangled and vibrant Mediterranean world in which they played vital roles.
 
As it considers the challenges of cultivating a fledgling maritime state in a world that prized precedent and tradition, this study examines various strategies used by early Norman rulers – but above all Roger II (Count of Sicily and Calabria from 1105-1128, Duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily from 1128-1130, and King of Sicily and Southern Italy from 1130-1154) - to establish legitimacy and security in their new home from approximately 1071 to the end of Roger’s reign. While acknowledging that the Normans assimilated to their new geographic and cultural contexts, it also demonstrates that they retained a strong western focus. Behind the mélange that was the early Norman state were very occidental interests and a number of the elements of Norman assimilation, as a few scholars have argued, were very likely adopted simply to help establish the Normans’ authority in a land of considerable diversity.