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Dr. Kathryn Jasper

Associate Professor
Schroeder Hall - SCH 314
Office Hours
Monday and Wednesday, 4:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and by appointment
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


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:

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:

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

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

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:

Current Courses

221.001Ancient History Rome

300.001Research in Latin

223.001The Middle Ages: 1100-1500

101.001Western Civilization To 1500

101.002Western Civilization To 1500

285.007Honors Undergraduate Research I

287.003Independent Study

115.001Second-Year Latin (Part I)

300.002Senior Seminar In History

222.001The Middle Ages: 395-1100

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

I study approaches to rural land tenure in religious houses during Late Antiquity and through the central Middle Ages, especially in northern Italy. I am also interested in how people communicated and disseminated ideas about land management. My background in archaeology affords me a unique perspective in terms of theory and praxis, and my current project incorporates both documentary and physical evidence. At present I am completing a book on how interactions with the natural environment and contemporary economic practices influenced religious behaviors. How did a reformed congregation behave economically amidst an increasingly more commercialized economy, an environment constantly in flux, and waves of new religious movements focused on poverty during the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries? Constructions of “wilderness” shaped interactions with the physical world in Renaissance Italy. The book's inherent interdisciplinarity combines the fields of history, economic geography, archaeology, and environmental studies. Consequently, the project utilizes different tools to address its research questions. I use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map property acquisitions over time. Data from archaeological survey shows the physical characteristics of specific landscapes and places. Finally, qualitative data analyzing software serves to isolate and pattern the frequencies of terms pertaining to property, infrastructures, and stewardship in relevant documents.

Ph D History

University of California, Berkeley

MA History

University of Arizona

BA Anthropology

University of Arizona

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History

Outstanding CAS Teacher Award

College of Arts and Sciences

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History

Teaching Innovations Grant


Franklin Research Grant

American Philosophical Association

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History

Influential and Inspirational Faculty Award

Department of History

Impact Award

Illinois State University

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.


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.

Grants & Contracts

CAS URG. CAS. Illinois State University. (2023)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. National Endowment for the Humanities. Federal. (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)