• Michelle Herder

    Michelle Herder

    Professor of History

Biographical Sketch

Professor Herder teaches courses covering the range of European history from the early Middle Ages through the end of the 17th century. Course themes include religion, violence, and the relationship between powerful groups and less powerful groups in medieval European society. She is exploring the use of simulations to study history in several of her courses. Her research interests revolve around women and religion in late medieval Spain.

Academic History

  • Ph.D. in history, Yale University, 2003
  • M.Phil., Yale University
  • B.A., Carleton College, 1997 (history major, concentration in medieval studies)


  • "Serving in the Cloister: Slaves, Servants, and Discipline in Late Medieval Nunneries" forthcoming in Boundaries in the Medieval and Wider World.
  • "Hec est virgo prudens: Liturgy and the spiritual experience of religious women" Viator 40 (2009)
  • "Women's Gift-Giving in Medieval Catalonia" Church History and Religious Culture 89:2 (spring 2009); a special issue I also co-edited with Constance Berman
  • "Substitute or Subordinate? The Role of a Male Administrator at a Benedictine Women's Monastery" Journal of Medieval History 31:3 (September 2005)


  • “For Fear of Scandal: Bishops, Nuns, and Enclosure in the Fourteenth-Century Crown of Aragon,” 51st International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2016.
  • “The Troubles of Vilanera: A Failed Monastic Foundation in the Fourteenth Century,” 47th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2012.
  • “Serving in the Cloister: Work and Discipline in Late Medieval Nunneries,” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Amherst, Massachusetts, June 2011.
  • Invited commenter on panel: “Integrated Communities: Religious Women and the World Around Them,” Society of French Historical Studies annual meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, February 2011.
  • “Periculoso and Bishops’ Supervision of Women’s Monasteries,” 45th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2010.
  • “Serving in the Cloister,” Mid-America Medieval Association, Conception Abbey, Missouri, February 2010.
  • “Monastic and Secular Women in Late Medieval Catalonia,” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008.
  • “Appealing to Authority: How did Bishops and Monastic Supervisors Affect Internal Conflicts?” 42nd International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2007.

Courses Taught

  • Europe 800-1300
  • Europe 1300-1700
  • History of Spain, 700-1600
  • Trials and Transitions of the Renaissance
  • Europe in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
  • Women in Medieval Europe
  • Women in the Renaissance and Reformation
  • Persecution, Tolerance, and Violence in Premodern Europe
  • The Crusades
  • The Inquisitions in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
  • Travelers and the Exotic in the Premodern world (first-year seminar)