Monday, October 29, 2012

Obits For Notable Women

Maria Rosa Menocal, 59, formerly of Philadelphia, a Yale University professor and scholar who studied the interactions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in medieval Spain, died Monday, Oct. 15, at the home of a friend in Killingworth, Conn., after a three-year battle with melanoma.

Dr. Menocal was born in Havana. When she was 7, a year after the Cuban revolution, she came to Philadelphia to join relatives.

Her family eventually settled in Wayne, and she graduated from Radnor High School. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973; a master's degree in French from Penn in 1975; and a doctorate from Penn in 1979 in philology, the study of language as used in literature.

Early in her career, Dr. Menocal lived in Cairo and studied Arabic. She also lived in Spain and France, her husband, R. Crosby Kemper III, said.

A fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, she was a visiting lecturer or professor at Bryn Mawr College, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and the American University in Cairo, among others.

From the Irish Times:
At a time when it was very unusual for people in their 50s to enter university for the first time, Sheelagh Harbison undertook an undergraduate degree in general studies at Trinity College Dublin, which included history.

Her talent was spotted by the great professor of medieval history Jocelyn Otway-Ruthven, who arranged for her to have special tuition in Latin so she could enter the honour school, and study for a moderatorship BA degree in history and political science.
She took her degree in 1972 and went on to complete an M Litt on William of Windsor, an English justiciar of Ireland in the later Middle Ages, subsequently published in a festschrift for Prof Otway-Ruthven.
She continued to work in TCD as a tutor until the 1990s, working also under Prof Jim Lydon. When he retired, she contributed also to his festschrift an essay on Colony and Frontier in medieval Ireland.
Another important work was her study of Rinndoon Castle on Lough Ree for the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society.

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