Professor Emerita

Caroline Walker Bynum

School of Historical Studies
European Medieval History
Historical Studies

Caroline Bynum’s work has been instrumental in introducing the concept of gender into the study of medieval Christianity. Her path-breaking books, Holy Feast and Holy Fast (1987) and The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christendom (1995), created the paradigm for the study of women’s piety that dominates the field today and helped propel the history of the body into a major area of premodern European Studies. Her essays “Why All the Fuss About the Body?” (1995), “Wonder” (1997), and “Avoiding the Tyranny of Morphology” (2014) are widely cited in discussions of historical method. Her recent work, in Wonderful Blood (2007) and in Christian Materiality (2011), is a radical reinterpretation of the nature of Christianity on the eve of the reformations of the sixteenth century. She is currently working on Christian devotional objects in comparative perspective.

Dates at IAS
  • Historical Studies
  • Historical Studies
Harvard University Ph.D., 1969
Harvard University M.A., 1963
University of Michigan B.A., 1962
Appointments: American Historical Association, Past President; Medieval Academy of America, Past President
Awards: Federal Republic of Germany, Grand Merit Cross with Star 2013, Order of Merit 2012; Haskins Medal 2011; Gründler Prize 2009; Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion 2007 and 1992; American Society of Church History, Distinguished Career Award 2005; Harvard University, Centennial Medal of the Harvard Graduate School 2001; Barzun Prize 1996; Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize 1995; Trilling Prize 1992; Philip Schaff Prize 1989; MacArthur Fellowship 1986–91; Berkshire Prize 1985
Memberships: American Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Historical Association; American Philosophical Society; British Academy; Medieval Academy of America
Columbia University 1988–2003 University Professor 1999–2003, Professor of History 1988–99
University of Washington 1976–1988 Professor
Harvard University 1969–1976 Faculty