Office Hours: By appointment
Field & Specialties
Early Modern Europe
visual and aural cultures
Ph.D University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012
M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008
B.A., B.F.A. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Robert E. Cook Honors College, 2005
I am a historian of religion and culture in early modern Europe. I am especially interested in the ways in which Christian belief shaped ordinary Europeans' approaches to their daily lives in a rapidly changing world, and in the broader social and cultural histories of German- and Dutch-speaking Europe. Methodologically, my work explores and transcends the boundaries between history, musicology, and visual studies. My book, Singing the Resurrection: Body, Community, and Belief in Reformation Europe, The New Cultural History of Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018) combines two distinct yet deeply related themes: beliefs about the resurrection of the body and the devotional songs through which those beliefs were formed and given expression. Before the sixteenth century, the universal resurrection of the dead at the Last Judgment was a powerful symbol of the eternal persistence and unity of European Christendom, as medieval Christians were reminded every time the Creed was chanted in the Mass. In the Reformation, that image was shattered. Sixteenth-century Christians, my book reveals, developed a range of new interpretations of resurrection, and they gave voice to them through very different songs. Those songs of resurrection, I argue, reveal the diversity of understandings of body and community that emerged in the sixteenth century, and with them, a plurality of conceptions of the role that faith in resurrection should play in earthly life. As Anabaptist martyrs sang at the stake, for example, they asserted that execution was no threat for those with faith in resurrection. As Reformed exiles left their homes behind, never to return, the psalms they sang aboard ships and in foreign places of refuge proclaimed that resurrection would bring them to the heavenly home from which they would never be expelled. Ultimately, my book suggests, resurrection and song reveal how the meanings of faith and practice were reframed in the context of the Reformation: once understood as the tie that bound all Christians, belief was reimagined as an individual's way of being in the world.
I am currently at work on a book project that explores the Anabaptist practice of outdoor worship in sixteenth-century Europe. Where historians have typically dismissed the use of caves, mountaintops, and forests as worship sites as a mere effort to evade persecution, my project recovers the meaning that these places and practices bore for Anabaptists themselves. Through testimony from trial records and the evidence of the landscape itself, I ask how the practice of outdoor worship was engaged with broader conceptions of creation and the natural world in the Reformation period.
"Friction in the Archives: Storytelling in Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism," Renaissance and Reformation, 2018.
"Hearing Exile and Homecoming in the Dutch Stranger Church." In Sensing the Sacred, edited by Emilie Murphy, Robin MacDonald, and Elizabeth Swann. Routledge, 2018.
Singing the Resurrection: Body, Community, and Belief in Reformation Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).
"The Reformation and the Resurrection of the Dead," Sixteenth Century Journal 47 (2016): 351-70.
“New Worlds, New Images: Picturing the Resurrection of the Body in Sixteenth-Century Germany.” In Anthropological Reformations—Anthropology in the Era of Reformation , edited by Anne Eusterschulte, 535-42. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2015.
“Singing Together and Seeing Differently: Confessional Boundaries in the Illustrated Hymnal.” In Illustrated Religious Texts in the North of Europe, 1500-1800, edited by Feike Dietz, Adam Morton, Els Stronks, Marc van Vaeck, and Lien Roggen, 257-273. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014.
“In corde iubilum: Music in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion,” Reformation and Renaissance Review 14 (2012): 291-309.
Awards & Honors
Cory Family Teaching Award, 2016
Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2011-12
CLIR Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, 2009-10
I teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in early modern European history, including topics such as the Reformation, witchcraft and the supernatural, social history, the history of the body, and the history of foodways.