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Ellen Joyce


I teach medieval history and a variety of courses that use digital tools to interpret the past. While my scholarly interests focus on religious history in the European Middle Ages, I've had the opportunity to develop courses on the history of medieval manuscripts, medieval maps,and the multicultural history of the Mediterranean from the fall of the Roman Empire through the time of Napoleon. I teach the department's historical methods course in collaboration with the College Archivist, Fred Burwell, so that students can do research using original documents from as early as the mid-nineteenth century (when the College was founded) and write papers about the history of women at the College, for example, or how Beloit participated in the Civil Rights era.

I've been at Beloit since the fall of 2001 and I am an associate professor. I hold an undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and received my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto. I study the history of Medieval Europe, especially the role that the medieval church played in shaping Western European culture between the eighth and twelfth centuries.

My scholarly 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. I'm also intrigued by the role of literacy in the era before printing and in how medieval people's experience of words and images might tell us something about life in the new information age.

In the last few years I've begun to explore the potential of using digital technology to enhance my teaching. I served as a member of the advisory council for vHMML, an online resource for the study of medieval paleography and manuscripts (www.vhmml.org). I also received Beloit’s Phee Boon Kang prize for innovations in technology in 2014 in order to create a website that would allow students to transcribe nineteenth-century materials in the College Archives. More recently, I've added courses that use digital tools to build online exhibits of historic materials and to make interactive maps.