My area of teaching is our rich global heritage from earlier civilizations. I am especially interested in the growth of world religions as people searched for personal meaning and for order in society, especially as this gets reflected in a wide range of people held up as heroes. These heroes encountered in my courses range from mighty emperors ruling vast empires to young mothers willing to die for what they feel is true. Each reflects changes occurring in their societies, and each helped to shape those changes at least in small ways.
In research, my specialty is early medieval Europe and the places where religion collides with other aspects of society and culture, whether it be social hierarchy, poverty, emotions, or gender. My main project is, “The Rise of Medieval Charity: Society, Christianization, and the Poor in the Early Medieval West.” I am also beginning work on a project, “Love in the Early Middle Ages: Society, Religion, and Gender in a Time of Civil War.” Click on my CV above for brief abstracts of each and for my recent publications.