Florida State University Department of Art History alumna Dr. Karlyn Griffith (PhD 2014) will join the faculty of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as Assistant Professor of Art History this fall.
In this tenure-track position, Dr. Griffith will teach undergraduate courses in medieval, ancient, and early modern art while continuing her research into the development of apocalyptic imagery in medieval manuscripts. Griffith is particularly excited to join an institution that focuses on the technical and scientific aspects of all fields, and she is particularly well suited for the polytechnic university with her background and research interests in archaeology and codicology – the study of the materials and techniques of bookmaking – the “archaeology” of manuscripts.
Karlyn’s interests in apocalypticism and codicology grew in the course of her graduate work and teaching experiences at FSU and her 2014 dissertation, “Antichrist, Eschatology, and Romance in the Illustrated Harley Apocalypse, Sibylle Tiburtine, and the Tournoiement Antécrist (MSS Harley 4972 and Douce 308),” written under the direction of Profs. Richard Emmerson and Paula Gerson.
She is now in the process of developing that topic into a book, Illustrated Apocalypse Manuscripts in France, 1290-1385, with the help of two major awards, a $5000 Franklin Research Grant and a £2000 “Major Grant” from the Bibliographical Society of the UK. With the support of these library research grants, Griffith is investigating manuscripts this summer in English and French libraries, tracing the development of apocalyptic imagery from its inception in 13th-century Anglo-Norman Apocalypses to its sudden appearance and transformation in French manuscripts in the 14th century. Her research takes her to Glasgow, London, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Namur (Belgium), Metz, Paris, Angers, and Reims.
Thanks to the generous research grants, Dr. Griffith is also able to expand her topics of study to include apocalypse cycles in other media, such as the Angers Apocalypse tapestries and the sculptural cycle on the recently cleaned Reims Cathedral facade, which she is closely investigating with fellow FSU alumna Jennifer Feltman in preparation for an upcoming joint article.
Griffith also has two solo articles in progress: “The Codicological Histories of Two Metz Compilations (MSS Douce 308 and Harley 4972) and the Implications of Owner Manipulations,” Pecia 17 (forthcoming 2016); and “Personalized Eschatology and Lorraine Apocalypses, ca. 1295-1320,” in Catastrophes and the Apocalyptic, ed. Jaime Lara (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, forthcoming 2016).
This past spring, Dr. Griffith also co-curated with students a digital manuscript exhibition at the University of North Texas, where she was an adjunct assistant professor. Taking inspiration from a class on Medieval Manuscripts that she originally developed at FSU, she taught The Art of the Book: Medieval to Modern. As part of this course, Griffith and students created a digital exhibition of facsimiles at UNT, exploring deluxe facsimiles as contemporary art objects. The project, The Art of the Facsimile: A Digital Exhibition, will be hosted by the Digital Humanities division of the library. In the process Griffith was also able to secure $8,000 of new facsimile purchases for the UNT University Libraries.
In 2016 Griffith also received a Travel Grant from the Medieval Academy of America to present “Illuminating Knightly Virtues and Finding Personal Salvation in the Douce Tournament of Antichrist” at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, MI; and co-authored with Mickey Able a review of an exhibition of the Morgan Library’s Crusader Bible at UT’s Blanton Museum for caa.reviews (forthcoming, 2016).
In the middle of such a successful academic year and looking forward to a promising new position, Karlyn has a very specific word of encouragement for students completing their PhDs: persevere.
I refer to last year as ‘The Year of the Great Rejection.’ I got rejected for 100% of everything I applied for across the board. I think it’s important for graduate students to know this happens. Graduate school is just the beginning. The hard work doesn’t end – and sometimes just begins – once you pass your defense. Though the rejections were discouraging, I did not let them stop me for a moment in my pursuit of a career in this field that I am passionate about. And that passion is the key to success.