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Sara Ritchey

Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences


My research interrogates premodern conceptual categories such as nature, the body, and most recently, periodization and time. At the same time, I am interested in how these past constructions continue to resonate in contemporary values, aesthetics, and social structures.

My most recent book, Acts of Care: Regulating Women in Late Medieval Health (Cornell, 2021), explores the nexus of gender, caregiving, and medical epistemology in the Middle Ages. I am also the author of Holy Matter: Changing Perceptions of the Material World in Late Medieval Christianity (Cornell, 2014) and co-editor (with Sharon Strocchia) of Gender, Health, and Healing, 1250-1550 (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) and (with Lynn M. Thomas and Kristin Burnett) the “Health, Healing, and Caring” special issue of Gender & History (Fall 2021). In 2021, I joined Shazia Jagot and Julie Orlemanski as co-editor in chief of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies.

My current research explores medieval performance traditions across the French Atlantic. I am interested in the temporal entanglement of troubadours, traiteurs, passion plays, and Catholic processions, and the role of these performances in French philologists’ efforts to furnish a textual record of orality; I also consider how that textual record, the corpus of medieval French poetry and drama, continues to shape our imagining of the Middle Ages.

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the history of medieval medicine, gender relations in medieval Europe, late medieval religious and cultural history, and historical methods.


PhD, University of Chicago

MA, University of Texas, Austin

BA, Tulane University

Selected Publications

Acts of Care: Recovering Women in Late Medieval Health (Cornell University Press, 2021).

Gender, Health, and Healing, 1250-1550, co-edited with Sharon Strocchia (Amsterdam University Press, 2020). Co-winner of the Collaborative Project Award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender.

Holy Matter: Changing Perceptions of the Material World in Late Medieval Christianity (Cornell University Press, 2014).

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