Katharine Olson

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Associate Professor
Department of History    


medieval; early modern; religion; culture; Reformation; British; Celtic; Europe; society; politics; history of the book 

Current Research Activities

My current and future research is concerned primarily with the cultural, religious, social, and intellectual history of medieval and Reformation Europe and the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World, set in a transregional and global context. In the widest sense, it offers a richer and more nuanced understanding of the human experience of religion, culture, society, and identity. It examines the nature and meaning of religion, culture, and community for contemporaries, their experiences of these, and how they were manifested, articulated, and negotiated in their daily lives. It utilizes the varied comparative experiences and voices of medieval and early modern individuals, families, communities, and networks in Britain, Ireland, and Europe, and beyond (including the Americas, Asia, and Africa) to explore the complex nature, development, meaning, and interplay of a variety of crucial concepts and their intersections. These include cultural, social, and religious identity and boundaries, realities of toleration and intolerance, and ideas of faith, nation, community, and conscience. More broadly, it considers the significance and intersections of religion, language, culture, and gender, to the study of mentalities and the articulation of identity. 


Research Connections to Current Events

See above. To expand on this, my current research relates to questions of religious and cultural tolerance and intolerance, identity, nationalism, minority languages and cultures and their survival, gender and women's roles, the history of the book, and more. 


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