Faculty Spotlight: ACMRS Affiliate Prof. Jörg Fichte

Professor Emeritus Dr. Jörg O. Fichte, Department of English, University of Tübingen, Germany

When, some fifteen years ago, I was looking for a winter home in Arizona, the working conditions for a medievalist were a major consideration. Having attended one of the annual conferences (Material Culture and Cultural Materialism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance) sponsored by the ACMRS each February, my mind was made up: It had to be a place in the vicinity of ASU. Speaking to the colleagues, especially Bob Bjork, the director of the Center, confirmed this decision. The Center with its various activities was the ideal place for a “part-time” medievalist, who was interested not only in the natural beauty and the other attractions of the Valley of the Sun, but, more importantly, in a good library and the conversation with his colleagues. Especially, the annual conferences on a vast variety of interesting topics offered a good opportunity of meeting colleagues not only from Arizona, but also from many other universities in the country and from abroad, as the internationality of the conferences greatly contributes to the exchange of ideas. Bob Bjork graciously adopted me as an adjunct professor, helped to smooth the way with the administration, and opened the door to the Center and to Hayden Library.

Although I was used to a good university library at Tübingen, a library that features a fine collection of books started some five-hundred years ago, Hayden Library proved to be a major research library with a service far superior to that at home. Not only are the holdings in my area of interest superb, but also the instant availability of research material - especially, scholarly articles, both, easily accessible and published in far distant places or relatively obscure journals - ordered via Interlibrary Loan is time conserving and thus helpful in expediting the writing process that is so often delayed by waiting for research material to arrive. Thus, the Center together with Hayden Library turned out to be a scholar’s paradise that I will sorely miss.

With the help of the Center I was able to complete a number of articles and three books, two of which are now published and one forthcoming this year. A fourth one, an anthology of medieval debate poetry, to be published next year has greatly profited from my winter sojourns in Scottsdale and the association with the ACMRS. ASU can and should be proud of this excellent research center, which, under the capable directorship of Bob Bjork, has been a great boon to my scholarly activities. Let me express my sincere gratitude for all the help I have received, last but not least, the friendship and good cheer at Bob’s home, where both light and serious talk was accompanied by good food and wine.