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Dr. Kathryn Jasper

Associate Professor
History
Office
Schroeder Hall - SCH 314
Office Hours
Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, and by appointment
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research

Biography

Dr. Kathryn Jasper earned her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in History and Medieval Studies in 2012. She is Associate Professor of History and Director of European Studies at Illinois State University:

https://illinoisstate.edu/academics/european-studies/

Dr. Jasper supervises the Latin minor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. If you are interested in the Classical Studies Minor, please visit:

https://lan.illinoisstate.edu/latin/

Dr. Jasper is also co-director of a summer archaeological field school in Gradoli (Bolsena), Italy.

https://about.illinoisstate.edu/vallegianni/

If you would like to know more about Paleography Illuminated, an online hub for transcriptions of ISU's manuscript collection, please visit our site:

https://about.illinoisstate.edu/manuscriptproject/

If you would like to know more about Traveler's Lab at ISU, a collaboration among universities bringing together students and professional scholars to study medieval history using digital methods, please visit:

http://travelerslab.research.wesleyan.edu

Current Courses

221.001Ancient History Rome

286.006Honors Undergraduate Research II

398.001Professional Practice: Internship in Historical Research

300.001Research in Latin

223.001The Middle Ages: 1100-1500

101.001Western Civilization To 1500

101.002Western Civilization To 1500

Teaching Interests & Areas

My courses examine the major social and political transformations of the Roman and medieval Mediterranean Basin, from Western and Central Europe, to North Africa, Byzantium, and the Middle East. I ask that my students engage multiple sources beyond documents, such as monuments, art, and architecture. Some of my courses include an undergraduate seminar on the city of Rome, a graduate seminar on the historiography of the central Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance (usually taught as part of the ISU Orvieto study abroad program), and a two-part class on the Middle Ages from 200-1100, and 1100-1500, respectively. I teach Latin 115, the Introduction to Paleography course, and Advanced Latin Paleography in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Research Interests & Areas

My current research project is an archaeological excavation of a Roman imperial period, monumental fountain located 300 meters from the western coast of Lake Bolsena in central Italy. Its high quality of construction and materials and its remote rural location suggests the fountain was part of a larger complex, likely a Roman villa. Answering questions about the identity and motivations of the fountain’s patron hinges on uncovering how its construction related to the agrarian economy, to routes of export and import, and consumption of goods in the region. My approach blends analysis of historical documents with modern datasets of the physical environment, when relevant, to generate hypothetical ancient and medieval landscapes and practices in GIS databases for analysis.

My first book entitled Bounded Wilderness: Land and Reform at the Hermitage of Fonte Avellana, ca. 1035-1072 (Cornell University Press, 2024) studies economic practices, religious traditions, and the natural environment in tandem to shed light on another side of religious reform. Eleventh-century reform was never solely confined to the rarefied realm of the intellect. Religious reform left its mark on the land and the landscape in Italy. It circulated much more widely and demanded thought about matters as ostensibly mundane as property boundaries and rights to water, orchards, pastures, and mills. In a word, the a book about land. Land is an excellent lens for telling the story of reform because it relates to two fundamental reform principles: independence from lay control and the sacred nature of ecclesiastical property. In a land-based economy, the value of land seems self-explanatory, but in the Middle Ages its meaning was multivalent. For many religious, land was at once the site of ascetic experience and the means of supporting their way of life. Land, therefore, became a fulcrum of reform.

Ph D History

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley

MA History

University of Arizona
Tucson

BA Anthropology

University of Arizona
Tucson

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2022

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2021

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2020

Outstanding CAS Teacher Award

College of Arts and Sciences
2019

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2019

Teaching Innovations Grant

CTLT
2019

Franklin Research Grant

American Philosophical Association
2019

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2018

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2018

Impact Award

Illinois State University
2018

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2017

Internationalization Award

Office of International Studies and Programs
2016

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2016

University Teaching Initiative Award

Center for Teaching and Learning
2016

CAS Excellence Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Pre-tenured Faculty Member

College of Arts and Sciences
2015

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2015

Teaching Initiative Award Nominee

CAS
2014

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History
2014

Research Initiative Award Nominee

CAS
2013

Book, Chapter

Coauthor with John Howe. “Hermitism in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.” Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism in the Latin West. Edited by Alison I. Beach and Isabelle Cochelin. Cambridge New History Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
Jasper, K. "Peter Damian and the Language Friendship: The Polysemy of Caritas". William S. Short, Charles McNamara, Michael Fontaine (EDs), Quasi Labor Intus: Ambiguity in the Latin Language. Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study, Inc. (2018)
Jasper, K. “Reforming the Monastic Landscape: Peter Damian’s Design for Personal and Communal Devotion.” In Rural Space in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: The Spatial Turn in Pre-modern Studies. Edited by Albrecht Classen. Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture 9. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012.

Journal Article

Erin Mikulec, Kathryn Jasper, and Lea Cline. “ ‘I can navigate the world’: Student Reflections of Study Abroad - Evidence from One University Campus.” The Journal for Research and Practice in College Teaching 4:1 (2019): 84-109.
Jasper, K. “Peter Damian and the Communication of Reform.” The Catholic Historical Review 104:2 (2018): 197-222.
“The Economics of Reform.” History Compass 10/6 (2012): 440-454.
Coauthor with Maureen C. Miller. “The Foundation of the Convent of San Pier Maggiore in Florence.” Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 64 (2010, n. 2): 381-396.

Presentations

“The Cell is a Workshop: The Labor of Hermitism,”. Midwest Consortium on Ancient Religions. The Ohio State University. (2023)
“Women in the Wilderness: Female Hermits in the Age of Reform.”. Wesleyan Renaissance Seminar. Wesleyan University. (2023)
Kathryn Jasper, “Planting Whole Rows: Solutions for Incomplete Agricultural Data,” 30th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 3, 2023.
Riprese delle indagini nel sito di Valle Gianni (Gradoli). Cosa C'e Sotto? Scoperte archeologiche intorno al Lago. Museo Territoriale del Lago di Bolsena. (2022)
The Communication of Monastic Trauma and Monastic Friendship. Medieval Selves and Communities: Identities, Discourses, and Connections. Illinois Medieval Association. (2022)
Women at the Door of Fonte Avellana: Female Religious on the Borders of Male Spiritual Space. International Medieval Congress. University of Leeds, UK. (2022)
Jasper, K. “Coming Together to Live Alone: Solitude and Sociability in Medieval Hermit Communities.” (Invited talk.) Great Lakes History Conference, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 22-23, 2021.
Jasper, K. “Putting the ‘Wild’ in Wilderness: What’s Climate Got to Do with It?” 28th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 5-9, 2021.
Jasper, K. “Mapping the Miraculous: Saints and Travel in the Age of Reform.” 134th Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York, January 3, 2020.
Jasper, K. “The Pragmatics of Monastic Space: Northern Italian Hermitages, Land, and Donor Networks in the Age of Reform.” 26th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 3-6, 2019.
A Learning Culture through Learning Culture: Campus-Wide Outcomes of Participating in Study Abroad. International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. (2018)
Jasper, K. “Applications of GIS to the Study of Monastic Reform During the Eleventh Century.” (Invited talk.) Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences, Northern Illinois University, March 23, 2018.
Jasper, K. “Remembering Romualdian Reforms in the Vita Romualdi.” 25th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 2-5, 2018.
Jasper, K. “Teuzo of Florence, Urban Hermit.” 132nd Meeting of the American Historical Association. Washington, D.C., January 4-7, 2018.
Jasper, K. "Between Rome and Ravenna: Reform Choices in the Mid-Eleventh Century." 22nd International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 6-9, 2015.
Jasper, K. "Sacred Landscapes: Piety and Property at Italian Monasteries." Medieval and Renaissance Studies Speak Series, Lake Forest College, Evanston, Illinois, October 28, 2015.
Jasper, K. “Bounded Wilderness: The Arbitration of Space at the Hermitage of Fonte Avellana.” 21th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 7-10, 2014.
“Mapping a Monastic Network: Travel Distance and Time Using GIS.” Medieval Academy of America Annual Meeting, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, April 10-12, 2014.
“Peter Damian as Prior and Paterfamilias.” New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, New College of Florida, Sarasota FL, March 6-8, 2014.
“Saints and Social Networking.” Keynote Address, Phi Theta Kappa Seminar Day. Andrew College, Cuthbert, Georgia, February 11, 2014.
“Monastic Property, Household Morality, and the Congregation of Fonte Avellana during the Eleventh Century.” First Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, St Louis University, June 17-19, 2013.
“The Edge of the Desert: Boundary Demarcation at the Hermitage of Fonte Avellana in the Age of Reform.” 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 10-13, 2013.
Peter Damian's Ascetic Models: Tradition and Innovation at Fonte Avellana. Annual Meeting of the Medieval Association of the Pacific. Santa Clara University. (2012)
“A Reforming Network: Peter Damian and the Congregation of Fonte Avellana, 1043-1072.” 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, May 9-12, 2012.
“Peter Damian and the Failure of Fraterna Caritas: Property Disputes within the Congregation of Fonte Avellana, 1043-1072.” 18th New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, New College of Florida, Sarasota FL, March 8-10, 2012.
“Peter Damian’s Rule for Hermits.” 19th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July 9-12, 2012.

Grants & Contracts

Advancing Research and Creative Scholarship (ARCS). Illinois State University Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Illinois State University. (2023)
CAS URG. CAS. Illinois State University. (2023)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. National Endowment for the Humanities. Federal. (2023)
Northwest Bolsena Archaeological Project. Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2023)
CAS URG. CAS. Illinois State University. (2022)
Shaw Teaching Fellowship. CAS. Illinois State University. (2022)
Northwest Bolsena Archaeological Project: Valle Gianni Survey. Rust Family Foundation. Private. (2021)
Franklin Research Grant. American Philosophical Society. Private. (2020)
Interdisciplinary Initiative Award. CAS. Illinois State University. (2019)
Summer Faculty Fellowship. CAS. Illinois State University. (2019)
European Studies. OISP International Seminar Series. Illinois State University. (2018)
Interdisciplinary Initiative Award. CAS. Illinois State University. (2018)
Assessing Student Learning Outcomes of Participation in Study Abroad Programs at ISU. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Illinois State University. (2017)
European Studies. ISU College of Arts and Sciences. Illinois State University. (2017)
International Travel Grant. CAS. Illinois State University. (2014)
Pre-Tenure Faculty Initiative Grant. CAS. Illinois State University. (2014)
Teaching-Learning Development Grant. Center for Teaching and Learning. Illinois State University. (2013)