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Elliott Named Peter Ritzma Professor In the Humanities

Dyan Elliott, one of the principal scholars of the history of Western Europe during the Middle Ages, focuses on how gender, spirituality and sexuality interact within a predominately religious culture.

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September 9, 2008 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Dyan Elliott, professor of history at Northwestern University, has been named the Peter Ritzma Professor in the Humanities.

Elliott, one of the principal scholars of the history of Western Europe during the Middle Ages, focuses on how gender, spirituality and sexuality interact within a predominately religious culture. She is especially interested in how the margins help to define the center in a given society.

She has published three books: "Proving Women: Female Mysticism and Inquisitional Practices in Late Medieval Europe" (2004), winner of the 2006 Otto Gründler Award for outstanding contribution to medieval studies; "Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality and Demonology in the Middle Ages" (1999); and "Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock" (1993).

She is currently working on two book-length projects, "The Bride of Christ," a study of the impact of nuptial imagery on female spirituality during the Middle Ages, and "A Hole in the Heavens: Orthodox Dualism and the Crisis of the Late Medieval World," an examination of the crisis of authenticity resulting from Latin Christiandom's encounter with the Cathar religious movement that originated in 11th-century France.

Elliott will be a fellow at the Bogliasco Foundation's Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities in Italy in spring 2009. She has been awarded other fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the Arts and Humanities Institute, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Studies (Princeton University), the Robert Penn Warren Center (Vanderbilt University) and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy. She was an adviser to the Medieval Academy of America from 2004 to 2007.

Before joining Northwestern's faculty in fall 2006 as the John Evans Professor in History, Elliott taught at Indiana University and Vanderbilt University. She received the Outstanding Young Faculty Award at Indiana University.
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