Medieval Europe
  History Department, Rutgers-New Brunswick


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Information for prospective students

Rutgers program in Medieval Studies


     Medieval, Byzantine and Early Turkic/Ottoman history are important and growing fields of graduate study at Rutgers University. Our faculty includes a group of internationally recognized scholars who are able to provide expert training in the fundamentals of medieval research as well as guidance in specialized fields of learning. Students who come to Rutgers have access to significant opportunities for furthering their interest in the Middle Ages, ranging from guest lectures and events sponsored by the university’s Program in Medieval Studies to convenient access to world class museums and manuscript repositories in the greater metropolitan New York area.

     We aim to give our students maximum flexibility in their course of study and most students follow individualized courses of study that vary according to personal interests. The core course for the major field in medieval history is “Problems and Directed Readings in Medieval History,” a survey of major secondary works that have defined the field. Students choose other advanced courses from offerings derived from specific faculty research interests, and are also welcome to pursue medieval courses in other departments as part of their major field preparation. A minor field is also a required part of our program and students are free to select the minor field they find most beneficial. Minors in global and comparative history or women’s history are particularly popular, and both fields are highly recommended for students whose major field is medieval history.

     In addition to cultivating major and minor fields, students concentrating in medieval history also need to develop proficiency in the languages relevant to their field. Latin is the core language required for every research field and most fields also require knowledge of French and German. Students specializing in Byzantine history also need a solid foundation in ancient Greek. To ensure proficiency in medieval Latin, we require our students to pass the PhD level exam administered by the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto as part of their degree requirements. Proficiency in other languages is measured by written exams administered directly by the History Department. We are able to train students in all of these languages if necessary, but in our admission process we are likely to give preference to applicants who have established a foundation in at least one of the pertinent languages before arrival

We will be happy to arrange for prospective students to visit campus and meet professors and current students.


Faculty Publications




Jim Masschaele


Sarolta Takacs






Rutgers History Department

Van Dyck Hall
16 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Phone: 732-932-7905

Fax: 732-932-6763


contact webmaster at jemjones@rci.rutgers.edu

Last updated 8/20/09

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Core Faculty

Rudolph BELL Professor (Ph.D., 1969, City University of New York). Specialties include popular religion, saints, and the history of reading. Currently working on female mystics in modern Italy, as well as on Italian widowhood in the period 1200-1600. Works include Party and Faction in American Politics: House of Representatives, 1789-1801 (1973); Fate and Honor, Family and Village: Demographic and Cultural Change in Rural Italy since 1800 (1979); Saints and Society (1982, with Donald Weinstein); Holy Anorexia (1985); How to Do It (1999); and The Voices of Gemma Galgani (2003, with Cristina Mazzoni). Professor Bell teaches courses on European history, with a focus on Italian cultural history. For 2003-2005 he is co-directing with Virginia Yans the RCHA project on "Gendered Passages: Single Women in Historical Perspective."

Peter GOLDEN, Professor of History at Rutgers-Newark, and member of the New-Brunswick Graduate Faculty (Ph.D., 1970, Columbia). Author of Khazar Studies: An Historico-Philological Inquiry into the Origins of the Khazars; numerous articles; and Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples (1995). Professor Golden's major interests are nomads of medieval Eurasia, medieval Islam, Byzantium, medieval Slavs, early Ottoman history, and cultural relations of the Altaic world with surrounding sedentary societies.

Samantha KELLY Associate Professor (Ph.D., 1998, Northwestern University) Professor Kelly has a special research interest in the political and intellectual history of late-medieval Italy. She is the author of The New Solomon: Robert of Naples (1309-1343) and Fourteenth-Century Kingship (2003). Her current research project deals with historiography and civic identity in late-medieval Naples.

James MASSCHAELE Associate Professor (Ph.D., 1990, Toronto). Professor Masschaele is the author of Peasants, Merchants, and Markets: Inland Trade In Medieval England, 1150-1350 ( 1997) , Jury, State, and Society in Medieval England (2008) and more than a dozen articles in major journals.  His interests include medieval social and economic history in general (especially the history of towns and villages) and the development of law and government in the high Middle Ages.

Karl F. MORRISON Lessing Professor of History and Poetics (Ph.D., 1961, Cornell). Karl F. Morrison is a specialist with wide perspectives. The focal point of his teaching and research is late Romen and early Medieval History, with an emphasis on the era of Charlemagne and his dynasty. Yet, he works in fields as different as theology and coinage, empathy and art, and political thought and the writing of history, always looking in cross-disciplinary ways for unifying themes and enduring human concerns from Antiquity into modern times. At Rutgers since 1988, he has published widely. He is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and, for one of his books, he received the Acacdemy's Haskins Medal.

Stephen REINERT Associate Professor (Ph.D., 1981, California at Los Angeles). Professor Reinert is broadly interested in comparative medieval history in the later middle ages, especially fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. He has published numerous articles on late Byzantine and early Ottoman history and literature, and is currently writing a book on the interaction of Burgundy, Byzantium, central Europe, and the Ottomans in the context of the Crusade of Nicopolis.

Sarolta TAKÁCS,  Professor  History  (Ph.D., 1992, California at Los Angeles). Professor Takacs’s research interests focus on issues of Roman social history, religion, and culture. Her scholarship is driven by a fascination with the continuation and transformation of traditional patterns, be they literary, social, or cultural. Her newest monograph looks at Roman women and the role they played maintaining Rome’s socio-political structure as well as the understanding of the Roman self by means of religious rituals. Forthcoming in 2007,  Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons: Women in Roman Religion.

Paola TARTAKOFF, Assistant Professor, History and Jewish Studies (Ph.D. 2007, Columbia University). Professor Tartakoff's  research interests lie in the religious and cultural history of medieval Europe.  She is particularly interested in the encounter between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula, Jewish conversion to Christianity, and medieval heresies and inquisitions.

Associate  Faculty

Tarek KAHLAOUI, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and member of the history department (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania).  Professor  Kahlaoui is researching a project on  depictions of the Mediterranean in Islamic cartography (11th -16th centuries) where he emphasized the pre-modern visual sources, notably cartography, representing the Mediterranean, which were usually marginalized in favor of the textual sources.


Tia M. KOLBABA
Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, and member of the History Department’s graduate faculty (Ph.D., 1993, Toronto). Professor Kolbaba is the author of The Byzantine Lists. Errors of the Latins (Illinois 2000); her research focuses on relations between eastern Greek-speaking Christians and western Latin-speaking ones in the Middle Ages; she is interested also in crusade studies and Mediterranean history, broadly defined.