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I am broadly interested in historiography, that is, the theory and practice of writing history, both in the Middle Ages and in the modern era. In addition to doing research on medieval historical writing, I work on the implications of postmodern critical theory for understanding contemporary historiographical practices.
I regularly teach the medieval civilization survey, as well as graduate courses on medieval historiography, medieval intellectual history, and on critical theory, in particular on The Production of History: Postmodern Perspectives on Historical Writing.
I am the author of The Chronicle Tradition of Saint-Denis: A Survey (1978), Romancing the Past: The Rise of Vernacular Historiography in Thirteenth-Century France (1993), and The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Historiography (1997); Practicing History: New Directions in Historical Writing after the Linguistic Turn (2005); Behind the Scenes: Writing History in the Mirror of Theory (1995); "History, Historicism and The Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages," Speculum 65 (1990): 59-86 and "History and Postmodernism," Past and Present, 135 (1992): 194-208, as well as more than 70 articles on medieval historiography and critical theory.
Practicing History: New Directions in Historical Writing after the Linguistic Turn
The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Historiography
1997, Johns Hopkins University Press
Romancing the Past: The Rise of Vernacular Historiography in Thirteenth-Century France
1995, University of California Press
I have served as the president of the American Historical Association and president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. I was chair of the history department at Hopkins twice, dean of humanities at UCLA, and twice dean of faculty at Johns Hopkins University. I have been elected a Fellow of the Medieval Academy and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. See CV for additional offices.
- Named Gilman Scholar, Johns Hopkins University, 2011
- Elected President, American Historical Association, 2008-09
- Appointed Krieger-Eisenhower University Professor (of History), Johns Hopkins University, 2003
- Elected Vice-President for Research Division, American Historical Association, 2000-2003
- National Endowment for the Humanities Travel to Collections Grant, Summer, 1991
- Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Fellowship (NEH and Mellon), 1989-1990
- Berkshire Conference of Women Historians article prize for the best article in history published in 1989-1990, for "History, Historicism, and the Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages," Speculum, 65 (1990): 59-86
- William Koren, Jr. Prize for the best article on French History, awarded by the Society for French Historical Studies, 1988, for "Social Change and Literary Language: The Textualization of the Past in Thirteenth-Century Old French Historiography," Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1987)
- John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Fellowship, 1988
- Honorary Rockefeller Residency Fellow in the Program in Atlantic History
- Culture and Society Johns Hopkins University, 1987-88 (Fellowship declined/appointment to Program accepted)
- Research Center for Arts and Humanities, University of Maryland, College Park, Fall, 1987, Fellowship
- National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 1979
- American Philosophical Society Grant, 1976
- Phi Beta Kappa, Johns Hopkins University, 1974
- American Association of University Women, Doctoral Fellowship, 1969-70
- Helen Taft Manning Essay Prize in European and World History, Best Honors thesis in History, Bryn Mawr College, 1964