Kyle G. Sweeney defends dissertation and joins HRC’s Spatial Humanities Initiative

Kyle G. Sweeney successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Notre-Dame de Louviers: Architecture and Urban Identity in Late Medieval Normandy.” As the third recipient of the doctoral degree in art history, and our first pre-modernist, Sweeney’s research is primarily concerned with the social, spatial, and ritual fabric of late medieval cities. Kyle will further pursue his research on medieval space and virtual modeling as a postdoctoral fellow in spatial humanities at the Humanities Research Center (HRC) at Rice.

Kyle began his study of medieval European and Islamic architecture and urbanism with Professors Linda Neagley and Shirine Hamadeh in fall 2011. As part of his coursework, he walked a 125-mile segment of the medieval pilgrimage trail known as the Via Podiensis. With his classmates, he contributed to a Rice News cover story about the challenges and rewards of the experience. Sweeney also provided service to the profession as co-chair of the 15th annual Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies. The three-day international conference featured twenty-seven student speakers from nineteen universities, three keynote lectures, an excursion to the Menil Collection, and an exhibition of medieval works of art from the Rice Collections. Kyle received the Graduate Student Association’s Outstanding Service Award for his stewardship of the conference and continued his leadership role as Chair of the Vagantes Board of Directors until May 2017.

Beyond the hedges, Sweeney served as William A. Camfield Fellow and HRC Andrew W. Mellon Public Humanities Fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he worked under the supervision of Aimée Froom, Curator of Art of the Islamic Worlds. Kyle continues to present his research at international conferences and is currently preparing a chapter for a book to be published by Routledge. His next major goal is to publish his dissertation as a book, tentatively entitled Fancying Gothic: Architecture and Society in Normandy, 1480-1520.

Congratulations, Dr. Sweeney!