Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster Assistant Professor of History Ping-Yuan Wang has been selected for Ohio University Research Committee funding during its spring 2013 cycle. Wang's proposal was one of eight faculty proposals to be awarded funding.
Wang plans to expand on her dissertation by adding new material on the writings of nuns during the mid to late 17th century, focusing on three groups of nuns. Nuns were among the very few women at the time who knew how to read and write. The texts Wang examines are convent writings such as biographies, obituaries, letters and convent history and shed light on the life of the majority of nuns who endeavored to live a virtuous, humble and simplistic life. She plans to do more research in Belgium and France in the summer of 2013.
"I asked for the funding to conduct additional research to include new source materials in my book," said Wang. "With the support of the OURC grant, I will spend five weeks in Belgium and France collecting data.I plan to collect archival sources on the English nuns in Belgian archives.I will also consult printed and manuscript primary sources in Belgian and French libraries. These sources will allow me to provide a broader historical context for the culture of reading and writing in convents, which will strengthen the overall interpretive framework of my study."
Wang was awarded $7,710 by the Ohio University Research Committee. In total, the committee awarded $62,832 to projects.
"Most studies of the female monastic experience focus on the extraordinary cases – saints, mystics, reformers, or insincere or unwilling nuns – or institutional forces and material factors that affected convent life," said Wang. "My study draws on the written words of 'ordinary' nuns of the Discalced Carmelite, Visitandine, and English Benedictine communities and explores the various ways in which these nuns, through writing, upheld their institutional identity and balanced it with their individual aspirations."
The OURC program, which is funded by the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity, provides seed money for new faculty members or senior faculty members seeking to start a new direction in their research. Applicants may request up to $8,000 per proposal. During the spring cycle, the committee received a total of 17 proposals requesting $120,987 in funding.