BA (1997-2000) Hebrew University
MA (2001-2003) Princeton University
PhD (2003-2006) Princeton University
Post-doc (2006-2008) University of Oxford
For an updated CV, publications, projects and blog please go to my personal website
The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Amsterdam (CMRSA) was founded in 2010 as a platform for collaboration among medievalists and Renaissance studies scholars across different fields at the University of Amsterdam. To read more follow the link below.
Lijfstraffen worden vaak gezien als een infaam overblijfsel van de westerse geschiedenis. Een versluierde laag barbaarse praktijken, massaal afgezworen gedurende het beschavingsproces. Geltner laat zien dat het legaal opleggen van fysieke pijn helemaal niet is verdwenen uit de moderne strafrechtpraktijken en dat het niet per se typerend is voor oude beschavingen. Evenmin is er sprake van een versnelde afname van lijfstraffen na de Verlichting. Reeds in de Oudheid plaatste men vraagtekens bij deze praktijk. We moeten het gebruik van lijfstraffen dan ook eerder zien als een beweging die onder druk van verschillende stromingen door de tijden heen toe- of afneemt. Zo zagen moderne staten, voorheen koloniale regimes, niet een afname, maar juist een toename van het aantal lijfstraffen. NB The book has appeared in Dutch and English.
An Italian translation of The Medieval Prison: A Social History (see below)
Documenting the scale and scope of opposition to the medieval mendicant orders, this book contends that the phenomenon reaches far beyond an ecclesiastical in-house debate and supports only tenuous links with Reformation or modern forms of anticlericalism. Drawing on numerous sources, it shows that people from all walks of life lambasted and occasionally assaulted friars, orchestrating in the process detailed and suggestive scenes of urban violence. At the same time, it demonstrates the friars' active role in forging a medieval antifraternal tradition, not only by deviating from their founders' paths, but also by chronicling their suffering inter fideles and thus incorporating it into the orders' identity.
The essays in this volume revisit John V. Fleming's 1977 A n Introduction to the Franciscan Literature of the Middle Ages , from a number of different perspectives, including social, religious and literary history, as well as art, exegesis, political thought and the history of education. A prominent, but not exclusive, theme of the contributions is the distinction between "defenders" and "critics" of medieval Franciscanism, categories which recent scholarship has challenged.
The modern prison is commonly thought to be the fruit of an Enlightenment penology that stressed man's ability to reform his soul. The Medieval Prison challenges this view by tracing the institution's emergence to a much earlier period beginning in the late thirteenth century, and in doing so provides a unique view of medieval prison life.
In 1256, amidst growing tensions between Parisian secular and mendicant academics, William of Saint-Amour published his major assault on the friars, Depericulis novissimorum temporum , or On the Dangers of the Last Times . As its title proclaims, the treatise employed the exegetical language of apocalypticism to expose the mendicants' success as the ultimate universal threat, and to warn theirsupportersthatthey were siding with the Antichrist. William's party was soon silenced, yet for centuries De periculis continued to furnish the basic vocabulary of anti-fraternal polemics. Medieval poets, Reformation theologians, modern playwrights - all have drawn upon this anathematized treatise to different ends.
Whether seen as a transitional moment, an end, a beginning, or neither, death has been continuously reinterpreted in ways thatboth shaped and reflected broader social, intellectual, political, and economic developments. Understanding how Western societies developed their understandings of death and the process of dying (and, by implication, life and living) offers a unique perspective on these cultures' perceptions of history, the cosmos, the body, social relations, and moral conduct. By looking at different texts, images, and physical sites, this seminar examines key several questions associated with death and dying: How were afterworlds shaped? In what ways did the living relate to the dead and vice versa? Is death gendered or stratified? Why are tombs and graveyards important?
This course offers an in-depth introduction to Western monastic thought, life, and culture. We will trace monastic phenomena from their late-antique origins in Egypt and Ireland, to the rise of urban, lay asceticism in the late fourteenth century. At each meeting we will analyze the internal functioning of religious communities, their self-perception, and the justifications and motivations for their members' entry into religious life. We will also observe the ways in which monks interacted with their social and natural environment, and their impact on medieval education, administration, and lay piety. Some key themes will be the environmental dimension of monasticism (in its urban and rural settings), the role of gender and class in monastic development, the relations between monastic spirituality and learning, tensions with the priesthood and secular power, and competition among different monastic models.
This course examines the background, development, and implications of medieval crusading for both Western Europe and its neighbors. By looking at Latin, Greek, and Arabic texts (in translation), as well as art and material remains from that period,wewill address, among others, the following questions: What was a crusade and why did different men, women, and children embark on it? What lies behind the success of certain crusades and the failure of others? In what sense was the Kingdom of Jerusalem a European outpost? How did the crusaders affect the lives of those they encountered and fought against? Were the crusades a religious movement or a holy war? How informed were western Europeans about Islam and vice versa?
How did past governments, institutions, and individuals define and pursue the creation of healthier environments? How did pre-modern societies recognize and imagine health threats? What forces were at work in shaping certain solutions at the expense of others? We will examine these and other questions through a variety of original sources (textual and material) and in conjunction with modern theories and methodologies converging on the study of public health, urban justice, and environmental studies. The course will focus on but will not be limited to urban Europe .
De Italiaanse stadstaten, zoals Venetië, Florence, Pisa,
Lucca en Bologna, vormen één van de invloedrijkste fenomenen in
de geschiedenis van Europa. Binnen hun stadsmuren en palazzi,
en op hun drukke pleinen en markten vonden ontwikkelingen
plaats die de gehele samenleving transformeerden. In deze
cursus zullen we de veranderende wereld van de Italiaanse
stadstaten tussen de dertiende en de zeventiende eeuw
onderzoeken aan de hand van verschillende media en methoden.
Iedere week analyseren we hoe een specifiek thema in de
historiografie is behandeld en bestuderen we primaire bronnen
De thema's die we onder andere zullen bespreken zijn politieke cultuur, religie, de commerciële revolutie, burgerlijke architectuur en de stedelijke ruimte, de positie van de "ander" (vrouwen,joden, migranten), geweld en sociale controle. Een reis naar Midden- en Noord-Italië maakt onderdeel uit van deze collegereeks. Studenten zullen ter plaatse gebruik maken van de stedelijke ruimte als studieobject.
This course introduces Research Masters students to some of the most exciting and foundational works in history. By reading and discussing both recent and not-so-recent historical 'classics', we will trace the development of history writing as a profession and a scientific discipline, and ask what tools and strategies historians employ as scholars and authors.
Co-taught with Prof. dr. Mieke Aerts
This seminar offers a broad historical perspective on the development of penal practices as a form of social control. We will discuss, for instance, the methods and uses of enslavement in the ancient world; the social, economic, political, and theological constraints on the "birth" of the prison in the late Middle Ages; the death penalty; and alternative forms of social censure that prevail in tribal cultures. We will also engage topics such as torture and truth, gender in punishment, and the spatial and performative dimensions of punishment.
Medieval history is a trans-regional, comparative, and multidisciplinary field. Its unique interest for us lies in the variety of vistas into human experience it hasto offer as the best-documented pre-modern culture our planet can boast. This appeal is further augmented by the enormous impact that developments in this period had on shaping the present, from geopolitics to religion, from agriculture to architecture, and from commerce to the world of arts and letters.
Our taught program covers the length and breadth of Europe and the Mediterranean basin from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, with a stronger focus on the latter half of this period. We lay a particular emphasis on comparative research, whether within a certain region or between regions - a method that our faculty is uniquely qualified to pursue. Medievalists at Amsterdam are actively engaged in a number of projects and collaborations, such as the comparative study of urban public health, literacy, the culture of elites, deviance, and corruption. Our diverse training and backgrounds enable us to examine these and other themes from multiple perspectives and foster a truly stimulating environment, combining intellectual rigor and mutual enrichment.
Our research students pursue their own interests without losing sight of the broader implications of historical analysis. Accordingly, they are encouraged to bring their expertise into dialog with a variety of established and evolving disciplines, both within and outside medieval studies, whether through participating in conferences, seminars and workshops or in informal settings such as field-trips and guided tours.
Whatever degree you are pursuing, as a student of medieval history at the UvA you will enjoy access to extraordinary material and human resources in a dynamic setting. The university and city are not only home to excellent research libraries and archives, but they also host a vibrant community of specialists in medieval studies, from literature, to archaeology, to art and theology (for further details, please follow the link below to the Center for Medieval Studies Amsterdam).
We pride ourselves on being attentive to our students' needs
and on providing them with the skills and opportunities
essential for their intellectual and professional growth. To
know more about studying medieval history at UvA, please
contact the Faculty of History, Archaeology and Region Studies:
Follow the link below to learn more about members of the medieval historians at the UvA.
M.A. students at the history department can now arrange to have individual tutorials with faculty members. The idea is to offer students a chance to work intensively on a particular topic (e.g., popular rebellion, maritime trade, etc.) or develop a specific set of skills (paleography, statistical analysis, Arabic sources, etc.), whether in conjunction with a particular research group or completely independently.