Constance H. Berman

Professor Emerita

Professor Emerita Constance Hoffman Berman developed an interest in medieval history at Carleton College in Minnesota and did her graduate work at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she was admitted into the research seminar of the late David J. Herlihy.

Professor Berman retired as of June 30, 2016, but remains an active researcher with a forthcoming book, The White Nuns: Cistercian Abbeys for Women in Medieval France (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and other projects, including additional work on medieval monastic women and medieval women's work.

Her first book, Medieval Agriculture (1986) changed what historians expect to find in investigating Cistercian economies in medieval Europe, arguing that the contributions to economic growth by that monastic reform group of the twelfth century were not as pioneers, but as entrepreneurs who reorganized the landscape. Her second monograph The Cistercian Evolution (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000/pb 2010), suggested a rethinking of the dating and organizational aspects of the new religious order.  Other publications include edited volumes, Medieval Religion: New Approaches (2005) and and Women and Monasticism in Medieval Europe (2002). 

She has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim, NEH and Camargo Fellowships and has served on many national and international committees and review boards, including the American Historical Association's Committee on Graduate Education. She is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge, England.




Research areas
  • Medieval Social, Economic, Religious, and Women's History - France and Italy)