Spring 2017


            (Photo by: Katherine Hodges-Kluck '05)


Victoria Morse and William North

Professors Morse and North have taught medieval and Renaissance history at Carleton since 1999 and have served as directors of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies concentration at Carleton since 2000. Both have held fellowships at the American Academy in Rome and have lived in Italy (Rome and Milan) for more than three years. Professor Morse’s research and teaching interests focus on the Italian urban experiences and changing conceptions of civic space in the late medieval and Renaissance periods. She is also an expert in the history of medieval and Renaissance cartography. Professor North works on the development of the reform papacy in the 11th and 12th centuries and the ways in which Roman and early Christian past is mobilized for contemporary agendas. Both have worked extensively in Italian libraries and archives. They are excited to share their love of Rome, Italy, and Italian food (and pop music) with students.



How do cultures and communities construct, preserve, re-purpose, and destroy spaces and places to achieve new political, social, or religious aims or to press new ambitions and sensibilities? How do urban and rural landscapes and sites come to play vital roles in the realization of political or religious ideas? How do cities as complex agglomerations of people, places, and activities develop and by what historical forces are they shaped? How do historical legacies shape and enable yet also constrain a city’s present? How do buildings and cities function as sites of cultural encounter?

Centered in Rome, a city with one of the richest historical pasts in Europe, this program will provide students with diverse opportunities to explore these broader questions through the close examination of texts, images, sites and landscapes produced during Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond. A central purpose of the courses in the program is to have students experience and explore the city and environs in depth and to learn how to integrate this experiential knowledge with academic sources of insight and information. Each course will therefore have a significant number of site visits inside and outside Rome as well as assignments that require independent exploration.



  • Gain deep knowledge of the history and art of medieval Italy and its connections with the wider Mediterranean world.
  • Learn to understand urban space and experience in the pre-modern world.
  • Learn to integrate textual, visual, and topographical evidence to achieve a deeper understanding of individuals and communities.
  • Learn to analyze and explain how spaces, structures, objects, and imagery were and are used to convey complex political, religious, and cultural messages.
  • Gain practical skills and confidence in living in a modern urban environment.
  • Gain practical skills and confidence in living and traveling in a non-English speaking environment.


For questions about the coursework or itinerary, please contact Professor Victoria Morse, vmorse@carleton.edu or Professor William North, wnorth@carleton.edu. Other questions may be addressed to the Office of Off-Campus Studies, Leighton 119, x4332.