Caroline Dunn Awarded 2020 Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship

Caroline Dunn was the recipient of the 2020 Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship for her project Ladies-In-Waiting in Medieval England.

Historian Caroline Dunn of Clemson University has been an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Clemson University since 2013. She was the 2019 recipient of the John B. and Thelma A. Gentry Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities at Clemson. Her numerous publications include several peer-reviewed articles and her 2012 monograph Stolen Women in Medieval England: Rape, Abduction and Adultery c. 1100-1500 (Cambridge University Press). With Elizabeth Carney, she co-edited Royal Women and Dynastic Loyalty (Palgrave Macmillan 2018).

Dunn’s project examines female attendants who served queens and aristocratic women during the late Middle Ages. From her extensive archival research, she has identified over 1,200 individual women serving queens and noblewomen and found nearly 4,000 references to specific activities chronicling their experiences as ladies-in-waiting. With the aid of the fellowship, Dr. Dunn will be able to make a final necessary research trip and gain sufficient release time from teaching to allow her to complete the project on these surprisingly understudied medieval women.

A special feature of the Bonnie Wheeler Fellowships is the designation of a mentor who takes responsibility for reading the work-in-progress of the Fellow and for offering criticism and encouragement. Professor Katherine French, J. Frederick Hoffman Professor of History at the University of Michigan, kindly agreed to serve as Dunn’s mentor.

The Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship is a nationally-focused private fund created by fellow medievalists and admirers of Dr. Wheeler and administered by the non-profit The Dallas Foundation. Its Fellowships provide recognition and financial assistance to women medievalists throughout the nation who are close to completing a significant work of research that may help them break through the “glass ceiling.” Women are much more likely than men to “stand still” in the course of their academic career and to be “caught in the middle” of the promotion ladder. Current analyses affirm that this distortion unfortunately still persists in academic promotion. Our Fellowships aim to help correct this distortion

Update from Fellow: "Funding for child care last summer enabled me to complete a chapter on my book. COVID cancelled sabbaticals at my university, but I was able to use fellowship funds to buy one course-release each semester (instead of just for fall), which allowed me to complete drafts of another three chapters. I'm more than halfway through the book writing stage at this point. I hope to get to London in September and a sabbatical for the Fall (still awaiting word). Thus, I'm cautiously optimistic that I can complete the manuscript by the end of 2022. When I do go up for promotion, the award of the external Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship will be of great help."
-Caroline Dunn
Associate Professor, Medieval Europe
History Department 
Clemson University