Valerie Ramseyer

Associate Professor of History, Wellesley College

106 Central Street, Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481-8203
Phone: (781) 283-2635 / Fax: (781) 283-3661

Email: vramseyeatwellesleydotedu













Valerie Ramseyer is a historian of the medieval Mediterranean, with a focus on southern Italy and Sicily in the early Middle Ages (c. 500-1100).  She received her BA from Smith College and her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. She has taught at Wellesley College since 1999.

Professor Ramseyer teaches courses on medieval Europe and the medieval Mediterranean from c. 300 to 1300 AD.   Topics of her courses include the fall of the Roman empire and the establishment of the barbarian kingdoms in late antiquity; the history of Byzantium and Islam in the early Middle Ages; the Carolingian empire and its successor states; Europe in the high Middle Ages; heresy and popular religion; religious persecution and the crusading movement; and the history of medieval Italy.  She also teaches a seminar on 12th-century Europe. 

Professor Ramseyer published a book in 2006 entitled The Transformation of a Religious Landscape: Medieval Southern Italy, 850-1150.  The book was a study of religious life in the Lombard Principality of Salerno in the ninth and tenth centuries and of the dramatic changes that occurred in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries as a result of the Norman conquest of southern Italy and the program of church reform carried out by the archbishop of Salerno and the abbey of Cava.  The book was awarded the 2007 Helen and Howard R. Marraro prize for best book on Italian History by the Society for Italian Historical Studies.

Currently Professor Ramseyer is working on a book project examining religion in early medieval southern Italy and Sicily and the relationship between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities.  She is also writing an article on caves in the medieval Mediterranean and their utilization as monasteries, religious houses, residences, and villages.   Finally she is writing a book that provides a survey of the history of southern Italy and Sicily in the Early Middle Ages (c. 500-1100).  

In recent years Professor Ramseyer has received fellowships to support her research from a variety of sources, including the American Council on Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Medieval Academy of America.

Professor Ramseyer is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the Medieval Academy of America, the New England Medieval Conference, the Society for Italian Historical Studies, the American Catholic Historical Association, and the Charles Homer Haskins Society.  She has organized sessions recently for the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Medieval Academy of America, and the International Conference on Medieval Studies held in Leeds, U. K.  She has also translated texts and articles from both Latin and Italian. 

The Transformation of a Religious Landscape: Medieval Southern Italy, 850-1150
   (Cornell University Press, 2006, in Barbara Rosenwein’s series, “Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past”)
Awarded the Helen and Howard R. Marraro prize for best book on Italian History (2007) by the Society for Italian Historical Studies

“Land Leasing and Legal Status in Southern Italy,” “Family and Marriage in Lombard Salerno,” “Property Rights and the Legal System in Salerno” and “Proprietary Religious Houses in the Diocese of Salerno,” in Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation, ed. Katherine L. Jansen, Joanna Drell, and Frances Andrews (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)

“Pastoral Care as Military Action: the Ecclesiology of Alfanus I Archbishop of Salerno  (1058-85)” in The Bishop Reformed: Studies in Episcopal Culture and Power in the Central Middle Ages, ed. John Ott and Anna Trumbore (Ashgate, 2007)

“The Archdiocese of Salerno, c. 500-1250,” “Archbishop Alfanus I of Salerno (1058-85),” and “The Abbey of the Holy Trinity of Cava,” in The International Encyclopaedia of the Middle Ages-Online, ed. Patrick Geary (Brepols Publisher, 2006-07)

"Religious Life in Eleventh-Century Salerno: The Church of Santa Lucia in Balnearia," in Haskins Society Journal XIII (Boydell & Brewer, 2002)

“Territorial Lordships in the Principality of Salerno, 1050-1150,” in Haskins Society Journal IX (Boydell & Brewer, 2001)

"Ecclesiastical Reorganization in the Principality of Salerno in the Late Lombard and Early Norman Period," in Anglo-Norman Studies XVII (Boydell & Brewer, 1995)

Ecclesia sancti Michaelis Arcangeli quae sita est in crypta montis qui dicitur aureus
La Grotta dell'Angelo / The Hermitage of St. Michael the Archangel (8th-10th century)
Olevano sul Tusciano (SA) Italy