Catelyn Cantrell

 Catelyn Cantrell
Mentor: Dr. Mary Watt
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"At first, I got involved in research because my application to the interdisciplinary program in Medieval/Early Modern Studies. In order to be accepted into the major, I had to submit a proposal for a thesis, part of which will be submitted to the University Scholars Program. Research allowed me to connect seemingly disparate coursework into a more coherent course of study. I have continued pursuing research because I felt that it provides the best possible preparation for graduate study. I also sought to work more closely with my research mentor, so as to gain a greater understanding of not only the state of the medievalist's profession but also the nature of research in the Humanities."


Medieval Studies, Geography


Classical Studies, English

Research Interests

  • Medieval Spatial Thought
  • Dante
  • Cartography and Literature

Academic Awards

  • Sigma Tau Delta English Honorary
  • Florida Bright Futures Academic Scholar
  • Golden Key International Honor Society
  • President's Honor Roll


  • Head Usher, UF Performing Arts
  • UF American Meteorological Society
  • UF Center for Undergraduate Research


  • Judge, Florida Odyssey of the Mind
  • Classroom Assistant, Buchholz High School
  • Peer Leader, UF Honors Program Common Course (2011)

Hobbies and Interests

  • Italian Language
  • Theatre
  • Cartography
  • Hurricanes

Research Description

"Figurando Il Paradiso": Spatial Modeling and Dante's Commedia
My project traces the case for Dante's Commedia as not only a model of the heights of medieval culture, but also as something that is mediated--or, better put, modeled. St. Augustine once wrote, "Maior noster orbis terrarum est," meaning, "The world is our greater book." He recognized and later purported this conflation between text and space throughout his writings. In my research, I review previous works regarding this aspect of medieval geographical study. This conflation continued to be a central paradigm in medieval spatial thought. The desire or, rather, the compulsion to "read the world" drove the study of both scripture and nature in the Middle Ages. Dante writes during a time caught between a concern for authority and an interest in discovery. The goal of this project is to explore the notion of Dante's poem as a model and, specifically, one of space while applying this idea to a reading of key moments in the work. I not only review attempts to read the poem as an act of spatial modeling, but also consider those attempts to model the space of the poem itself.