Blog post 1: Women in Renaissance Art

In crafting my Monroe project proposal, I knew that I wanted to study feminist perspectives on Renaissance art, but I knew very little about the quantity and scope of feminist art historical scholarship. Because of this, I phrased my research question broadly as “How did the portrayal of female figures in Renaissance art from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries relate to the social status of women?” I planned to compile a general review of the literature, possibly focusing in on areas of particular interest that I came across in my investigation.

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Post two: Mothers and children

The first part of my research involved a lot of reading. I started with the shortest text — Ovid’s Heroides VII. While only a few pages long, this dramatic letter is packed with meaning. In typical Ovid style, what is left unsaid is often just as important as what is stated directly. Since Dido’s character is most well known from the Aeneid, Ovid assumes that his reader is familiar with this text. This familiarity with the character highlights any differences between Vergil’s telling and Ovid’s. The latter author takes full advantage of this, giving the reader a big surprise in the middle of the text — Dido’s pregnancy:

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Beginning Research

This first week in lab was really just learning how lab works. Although I started research here in the spring semester, I did not have time to do much as the upperclassmen were busy working on their own projects and did not have the time to show me around the lab. I have learned a lot about how this lab works and feel like I am ready to contribute. I learned frog care procedures and learned how the frogs mate and the mating rotations that are used in this lab to ensure that there are always embryos available for experimentation. I also became more acquainted with the process of collecting the embryos from the mating tank and moving them into the lab. I learned a bit about this last semester, but I never had the opportunity to do it by myself due to class conflicts interfering with the mating collection times. I also learned why each step for the collection procedure is done, as before I only knew to “do the steps” and did not really understand the science behind what I was doing. I also had more time to learn about sorting the bad embryos from the good embryos. If the bad embryos are left in the same plates as good embryos, the bad embryos will die and this will release signals to the other embryos in the plate. If the plate is left unattended for a long period of time, eventually all of the embryos will die due to this signaling. Therefore, sorting bad embryos is important after collecting each batch. The bad embryos are embryos that are undeveloped (meaning that they are only in the “1-cell” stage) or are malformed. I also learned how to make the salt solution that the living embryos are stored in. It is important to keep the embryos in this solution as the salt in the solution keeps the membranes from breaking, which would kill the embryos and ruin the batch. The solution also contains an antibiotic which keeps the embryos protected from bacteria since their protective jelly coating is removed during the collection process. Soon, I will hopefully learn the ablation procedure and run in situ hybridization tests on embryos to determine their gene expression patterns.

And So It Begins: The First Post and Preliminary Research

Today I found myself at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library. Even now, I sit at a worktable among the books, staring past the potted plants on the sill of the massive library windows and out into the city. It is a good library for my research; the unique Richmond History Collection is worth the 10 minute bike ride through the trademark, swampy Virginian summer day.

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