About this Program

About Us

Al-Zumar, MS 21, Fol. 3, John Hay LibraryAl-Zumar, MS 21, Fol. 3, John Hay Library

Faculty in the Program in Medieval Studies all have their primary appointments in regular University departments (see People).  Program activities that reach beyond Brown University include the Rhode Island Medieval Circle lecture series, which meets three to four times each semester, and the Graduate Student Medieval Conference, which was founded at Brown and convenes annually at Brown, Yale and the University of Connecticut in rotation.

The Program in Medieval Studies offers two concentration tracks: (1) the concentration in Medieval Cultures and (2) the concentration in Late Antique Cultures.

History of the Program in Medieval Studies

Prior to 1968 there was no formal undergraduate major in Medieval Studies, although many courses in history, arts, and languages dealt with Medieval subjects, and graduate students could take their degrees in Medieval fields.  In that year the University adopted the New Curriculum, which allowed undergraduate students to pursue Independent Concentrations on Medieval subjects under the direction of appropriate members of the faculty. 


1968.  New Curriculum begins.  Students can do Independent Concentrations in Medieval Studies. 

1970.  The Brown Medieval Group is established with Professor Michel-Andr√© Bossy as its first chair.  Over the next few years this group changes its name to the Interdepartmental Study Group for Medieval Studies and then to the Medieval Studies Group

1979.  Concentration in Medieval Studies is formally proposed and approved by the Educational Policy Committee.  The Committee on Medieval Studies is formed as an official group to oversee the concentration.  Professors William Crossgrove and Robert Mathiesen are its first chairs. 

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1980.  Medieval Perspectives (now MDVL 0360), an introductory course team-taught by a group of Program faculty on Medieval topics, is offered for the first time.

1983.  First Concentrator in Medieval Studies graduates. 

1994.  Under the leadership of Professor Sheila Bonde, the Committee on Medieval Studies becomes the Program in Medieval Studies.  The Program is housed in the Annmary Brown Memorial.

2014.  Medieval Studies graduates since 1983 enter diverse professions.  Among them, Lisa Fagin Davis, Medieval Studies concentrator Class of 1988, is named Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America on July 1, 2014.

2015.  The title of MDVL 0360 is "Cities: Medieval Perspectives."
2022. "Medieval Bodies: Medieval Perspectives."

Director of the Program in Medieval Studies

Jonathan Conant
Associate Professor of History, Associate Professor of Classics
[email protected]