Valerie Ramseyer

Valerie Ramseyer
(781) 283-2635
A.B., Smith College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago
FND 216

Valerie Ramseyer

Associate Professor of History

Medieval historian of southern Italy and the Mediterranean, with special interest in the relationship between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities.

My research focuses on southern Italy and Sicily in the early and central Middle Ages (c. 500-1200 AD). I chose to study southern Italy because it is a cultural and religious crossroads, with communities of Greek and Latin Christians, Muslims, and Jews, as well as immigrants from a variety of European and Mediterranean regions. My research also takes a comparative approach whenever possible, integrating the history of southern Italy and Sicily into the larger contexts of Mediterranean and European history. I published a book in 2006 entitled The Transformation of a Religious Landscape: Medieval Southern Italy, 850-1150 that examined religious life and organization in the Lombard Principality of Salerno in the late Lombard and early Norman eras. My current book project, entitled "Lombards and Greeks, Arabs and Normans: Southern Italy in the Early Middle Ages", is a study of the political, religious, economic, and social structures of southern Italy and Sicily in the early Middle Ages (c. 500-1100 AD), comparing and contrasting regions under Latin, Byzantine, and Arab rule.

I teach a wide range of courses on the history of Europe and the Mediterranean from c. 300-1300 AD. My courses cover all aspects of life in the Middle Ages: political, religious, social, economic, and cultural. Topics of my courses include the fall of the Roman empire and the establishment of the barbarian kingdoms in late antiquity; the history of Byzantium and Islam in the early Middle Ages; the Carolingian empire and its successor states; Europe in the high Middle Ages; heresy and popular religion; religious persecution and the crusading movement; and the history of medieval Italy. I also teach a seminar on 12th-century Europe.

In addition to my publications, I present papers on a regular basis at conferences and in recent years I have organized sessions for the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Medieval Academy of America, and the International Conference on Medieval Studies held in Leeds, U. K. I have also translated texts and articles from both Latin and Italian.

Recent Publications: 

“Monasteries and Bishoprics in Southern Italy in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries,” Rassegna Storica Salernitana 57 (June 2012)

“Vescovi e monasteri nei secoli XI-XII,” to appear in 2014 in Giovanni Vitolo (ed.) Riforma della chiesa, esperienze monastiche e poteri locali.  La Badia di Cava e le sue dipendenze nel Mezzogiorno dei secoli XI-XII.  Atti del Convegno Internazionale sulla Badi di Cava, 15-17 settembre 2011 (Salerno: SISMEL-Edizioni del Galluzzo)

“Cave Dwelling,” in The Blackwell Companion to Mediterranean History ed. Peregrine Horden and Sharon Kinoshita (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)


HIST208   Society and Culture in Medieval Europe

HIST213   Conquest and Crusade in the Medieval Mediterranean

HIST214   Medieval Italy

HIST222   The Barbarian Kingdoms of Early Medieval Europe

HIST279   Heresy and Popular Religion in the Middle Ages

HIST330   Seminar: Revolutiona nd Rebellion in Twelfth-Century European Society

HIST379   Heresy and Popular Religion in the Middle Ages