Lisa Bitel

Dean's Professor of Religion and Professor of Religion and History
Email Office ACB 126 Office Phone (213) 821-2150

Research & Practice Areas

Medieval European history, history of Christianity, religious studies, women’s and gender history, Irish history, Celtic literatures and cultures, art and archaeology of medieval Europe, visual and material culture of pre-modern Europe

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Interdisciplinary Research Group, CRCC, Director
  • Medieval Academy of America, Elected Fellow
  • Monastic Matrix, Editorial Board
  • USC Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Senior Fellows


I am a first-generation college student. My parents came from a very small midwestern town and never considered university.

I attended Smith College, Harvard University, and University College, Dublin. I learned Latin and Old Irish, and conceived a perverse obsession with the pre-ancient history of northern Europe, particularly the so-called “Celts”.

I have since published books, articles, chapters, reviews, databases, mutlimedia websites, and a few blog postings on European history, Celtic Studies, gender studies, Religion, and rock bands.


  • Ph.D. History, Harvard University, 1/1987
  • AM History, Harvard University, 1/1982
  • A.B. , Smith College, 1/1980
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor of History and Religion, University of Southern California, 08/15/2010 –
    • Professor of History and Gender Studies, USC, 08/2001 – 05/2010
    • Professor of History, University of Kansas, 01/01/1999 – 01/01/2001
    • Director of Women’s Studies, University of Kansas, 01/01/1998 – 01/01/2001
    • Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies, University of Kansas, 01/01/1995 – 01/01/1999
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Lisa Bitel studies the social, cultural, and religious history of medieval Europe. She has written four books about religion and/or gender in early medieval Europe, one book about religious apparitions and visions in contemporary California, and has published articles about sex, dreams, architecture, and saints, among other topics. She is currently researching a book on religious change and the supernatural in pre-modern Europe.

    Research Keywords

    medieval europe, middle ages, religions, history of Christianities, monasticism, visions, apparitions, supernatural, Ireland, Britain, Celtic Studies, digital humanities, visual religion, gender

  • Book

    • Bitel, L. M., Gainer, M. (2015). Lady of the Rock: Vision and Faith in the California Desert. Cornell University Press.
    • Mecham, J. (2014). Sacred Voices, Sacred Vision. (Bitel, Lisa; Berman, Constance; Beach, Alison, Ed.). Brepols.
    • Bitel, L. M. (2009). Landscape with Two Saints: How Saint Genovefa of Paris and Saint Brigit of Kildare Built Christianity in Barbarian Europe. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    • Bitel, Lisa Marie; Lifshitz, Felice (Ed.). (2007). • Gender and Christianity in Medieval Europe : New Perspectives. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    • Bitel, L. M. (2002). Women in Early Medieval Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    • Bitel, L. M. (1996). Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender From Early Ireland. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    • Bitel, L. M. (1990). Isle of the Saints: Monastic Settlement and Christian Community in Early Ireland. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    • Digital Repository, Monastic Matrix (, 01/01/2003
    • Elected Fellow, Medieval Academy of America, 2016
    • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, , 2010-2011
    • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, , 1998-1999
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, , 1995-1996