Ellen Joyce studies the history of Medieval Europe and is especially engaged with questions about the role that the medieval church played in shaping Western European culture between the eighth and twelfth centuries. Her own research focuses on the way that medieval writers described dreams, visions, and other miraculous events in order to give structure and meaning to the events of the world around them. Her dissertation looked at the ways visions and dreams can be best interpreted through the lens that medieval people would have understood-that is, the intellectual and cultural context of medieval religious experience. Ellen's interests range from a very narrow focus on the meaning of visionary experience in eleventh -century monasteries to much larger questions about what it meant to take religion seriously in pre-modern Europe and how we can even begin to understand that perspective in the twenty-first-century. While religious life and thought are recurring themes in her own studies, she is also intrigued by the role of literacy in the era before printing had been introduced to the west and in how medieval people's experience of words and images might tell us something about life in the new information age.
Ellen has been at Beloit since the fall of 2001 and is an associate professor. She holds an undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.
Ellen's courses at Beloit include "Medieval European Civilization," "Books and Readers from Antiquity to the Reformation," "Introduction to the College Archives," "Looking East: Medieval Views of Byzantium, Islam, and Beyond," "Saints and Society in the Middle Ages," and the History Workshop (History 190).
New courses in 2013-14 include "European Crisis and Renewal, 1300-1700" (Fall Semester) and a lab course called "Mapping the Middle Ages" (Spring Semester).