Honors Program

Fall Showcase Presenters

Sara Jackson

Title:  “Magna Carta: A Legacy of Liberty, Reframed and Rewritten”

Major:  English/French  

Minor: Medieval Studies/International Studies Certificate

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Suzanne LaVere (History)

 Sara Jackson

Sara Jackson is a proud daughter of Fort Wayne, who happens to be a geographical mutt after growing up in Florida, followed by many moves hither and yon. A senior at IPFW, she will complete her BA in English with a Concentration in Writing this   December and her BA in French in May, after a semester abroad in Aix-en-Provence. Her research interests as an undergraduate student have taken her to ten conferences and led to two publications. In addition to being a Withers Scholar, Sara is a member  of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi and has received scholarships from the university, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Honors Program, several academic departments, and multiple outside organizations. She has also completed the certificate requirements for the Honors Program at IPFW, an AA in History, a Certificate in International Studies, a summer intensive in human rights law in Strasbourg, France, and a minor in Medieval Studies. While at IPFW, Sara has served in student government, the Writing Center, Model UN, Anthropology Club, French Club, the University Democrats, and the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta. After graduation, she looks forward to working as a teaching assistant for one year in France, and later serving in the Peace Corps, while also pursuing an MPA with a focus on international development.


Sealed nearly 800 years ago in a field called Runnymede, just outside Windsor, England, many suggest that one can feel the importance and significance of Magna Carta to this day. But just how big a debt do modern democracy and human rights owe to King John’s treaty with his frustrated barons? This project aims to position Magna Carta within its own context, circa 1215, and examine the importance of the document for its contemporaries, while also fixing it firmly within 2015’s increasingly globalized culture.

While some suggest a direct relationship that may not be supported by historical evidence, a   retrospective significance of the charter within the realm of human rights is without doubt.  Scholars, such as Christopher Daniell, J. C. Holt, A. E. Dick Howard, and Nicholas Vincent, among others, provide excellent historiography; to add to that, this project has undertaken to      re-create Magna Carta in its material form and translated into the language of everyday people – Middle English, as a way to further examine the enduring influence of this germinal document.  The culmination of this research is a bespoke magazine, which weaves together all of the disparate strands of inquiry noted above. Rather than a traditional presentation, this project will invite attendees to review this magazine while discussing several of its key elements in greater detail. Further material studies components of this project, including exhibition materials, traditionally produced parchment, and accessories related to manuscript production in the medieval period, will be on display for interactive examination during the talk.