Associate Professor of Medieval History and the College
William Rainey Harper Memorial Library,
East Tower, room 686 – Office
(773) 702-4326 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax
My research and teaching focus on the intellectual and cultural history of Europe in the Middle Ages, with particular emphasis on the history of Christianity and monasticism in the Latin West. I also offer courses on the history of travel and warfare in the Middle Ages, the history of European civilization, and the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. My first book is a study of the intellectual and emotional origins of the European devotion to Christ in his suffering humanity, with special emphasis on the role of scriptural exegesis and liturgy. My current work addresses the interplay between intellect and empathy in the practical development of a discipline of prayer. My immediate purpose is to find a way to describe monastic and Marian prayer as a practical art, that is, as a practice that takes skill and uses particular tools. My ultimate goal is to develop an understanding of the meaning and importance of the aesthetics of worship, that is, of worship as itself a creative act. In pursuit of this goal, I am currently at work on two major projects: a book-length study entitled The Virgin Mary and the Art of Prayer on the history, experience, and meaning of the so-called Little Office, or Hours of the Virgin Mary; and a translation of John of Garland's Epithalamium beate virginis Marie, a thirteenth-century epic poem on the Virgin and her role in salvation.