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Graduate Studies - Ancient/Medieval History

Updated May 15, 2019

Vanderbilt boasts a dynamic group of scholars in Ancient and Medieval history. The faculty represent a range of geographic and chronological periods, including the Roman Empire, Ancient/Medieval Syria, medieval Europe, Judaism, Islam and Asia. The faculty share a mutual interest in reconstructing past through rigorous, source-driven historical reconstruction, with specializations in legal, religious, economic, cultural and military history. They work closely with a distinguished cohort of early modern historians, and in collaboration with the programs in Classical and Mediterranean Studies, the Legal History Seminar, Jewish Studies, Women and Gender Studies, the Pre-Modern Cultural Studies seminar (Robert Penn Warren Center); the departments of English, French & Italian, German, Russian and East European Studies, History of Art, and the Graduate Department of Religion.

We welcome applications from potential graduate students interested both in particular subject areas, but also in the questions and methods shared by all historians of pre-modern societies – how to work with patchy or fragmentary evidence, how to reconstruct the world of culture and symbols, how to push beyond the learned texts that predominate in our records, and how to ask meaningful questions about the past.

There is no prescribed graduate curriculum; students are invited to craft their own program within the framework of the History Department Ph.D. requirements during coursework. Particular scrutiny is given, in evaluating applications, to a candidate’s prior preparation (including knowledge of languages necessary to undertake Ph.D. level research) and a candidate’s writing sample. Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors in advance.

Current Faculty

Ari Bryen (History/Classical and Mediterranean Studies)
William Caferro (History/Classical and Mediterranean Studies)  
Leor Halevi (History/Law/Islamic Studies)

Philip Lieberman-Ackermann (Jewish Studies/History/Law)
Peter Lorge (History/Asian Studies)
Tom McGinn (History/Law)
David Wasserstein (History/Jewish Studies)

Early Modern/Medieval      

Lauren Clay (History)
Katherine Crawford (History/Women and Gender Studies)
Joel Harrington (History/Religion)
Peter Lake (Divinity/History)
Paul Lim (Divinity)
Samira Sheikh (History/Asian Studies)

Affiliated Faculty/Other Departments

Elsa Filosa (French and Italian)
Jessie Hock (English)
Paul Lim (Divinity)
David Michelson (Divinity/History/Classical and Mediterranean Studies)
Tracy Miller (History of Art)
Elizabeth Moodey (History of Art)
David Price (Jewish Studies)
Lynn Ramey (French and Italian)
Joseph Rife (Classical and Mediterranean Studies)
Betsy Robinson (History of Art)
Sheri Shaneyfeld (History of Art)

Current Graduate Students

Mohammed Allehbi  late Abbasid history; medieval Islamic history
Shounak Ghosh early modern South Asia
Jessica Lowe Germany during the Reformation
Taryn Marashi Abbasid history; medieval Islamic history
Kathryn Marshalek Reformation England
Dipanjan Mazumder early modern South Asia
Jesse McCarthy Reformation England
Samantha Rogers  Reformation England
Hillary Taylor Italy and Reformation
Marina Walters Reformation England
Anna Young masculinity in early modern England

Recent Graduates

Katie McKenna (2019) " Fashioning Adria, Fashioning Femininity: Venetian Women and the Radicalization of the Querelle des Femmes 1550-1635."

Sean Bortz (2018) "Thinking with Jews: Jews and Judaism and the Struggle for Orthodoxy in late Medieval and Reformation England."  

Katherine Lazo (2018)  "Rigour upon men's consciences': National Identity, Religion and English Catholicism during the Interregnum."


Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies
Program in Jewish Studies
Program in Women's and Gender Studies