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Research Projects

The Saint Louis University Department of History explores various areas of study through research and dicussion forums.

Current Research Projects

Empires and Interactions in the Early Modern World 1400-1800

Project Coordinator: Amy Wallhermfechtel

 Empires and Interactions in the Early Modern World 1400-1800 immerses National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholars in the extraordinary age of empire building and the interactions those empires fostered around the world. The emergence of powerful Eurasian empires set into motion processes of exchange that touched all continents except Antarctica, expanding trade networks, spreading disease, globalizing religions and fostering intellectual exchange. This Institute utilizes cultural interaction as an interdisciplinary approach to understand the early modern period as a whole. Participants hear presentations from experts in the field, analyze theoretical approaches and primary documents, visit special collections and museums, engage in independent research, and develop curricula and materials for classroom use.

For more information, contact Amy Wallhermfechtel at or 314-977-2913.

The Medieval and Renaissance Italy Prosopographical Database Project

 Director: Thomas F. Madden, Ph.D.

The Medieval and Renaissance Italy Prosopographical Database Project is constructing a large-scale interactive database of Italian prosopography that will reveal for researchers underlying political, social and cultural trends in the history of these important city-republics. At present the project is focusing on Venice. Eventually this database will be made available to all scholars via a web-based search tool.

This sophisticated relational database design accepts all document types, integrating them for analysis. A relational database model is ideal for analyzing the widely divergent document types that survive from these periods. Unlike flat-file systems used in the past, the relational model allows the investigator to transcend the document as a model for electronic storage and integrate various archival materials into one system. It can accommodate all document types since it is based on the one thing all documents have in common — people.

Graduate student assistants working on this project require advanced skills in Latin and paleography, as well as familiarity with Venice and other Italian cities. Because of the integrated nature of the database, it is necessary for assistants to undertake research into each individual they encounter in the archival documents so that that individual can be properly identified and placed within the overall social matrix. Since it was not unusual for people in these societies to have identical names, the assistant must also attempt to identify positively the individual by comparing relatives, parishes or other features. Much of the data entry program is devoted to uncovering relationships in previously entered data. 


American History Forum

The American History Forum is a seminar series dedicated to encouraging scholarship, providing professional development and promoting intellectual exchange among graduate history students at SLU. It offers opportunities for students to present and discuss their research, and to build a deeper understanding of new directions in the field.

The American History Forum also features talks by outstanding faculty members and visiting scholars. A chance for students in SLU's American History program to build community and collegiality, the forum helps provide a common frame of reference for American history students and faculty as they pursue diverse research interests. All members of the University community who are interested in American history may participate.

Byzantine Studies Forum


The Byzantine Studies Forum is a venue for the presentation and discussion of current research on the Byzantine empire and the cultural world of late antiquity. The forum features presentations from established scholars and graduate students designed to provoke inquiry and provide a window into those societies. All are welcome to attend and participate in the forum. No prior reading or experience is required.
Crusades Studies Forum

The Crusades Studies Forum at Saint Louis University is an international venue for the presentation of current research, the discussion of recent scholarship and the exploration of new directions in topics relating to the crusades. Participants include those local to the St. Louis region, as well as distinguished scholars from across the globe. All are welcome to attend and participate in the forum.

Humanities Forum

Currently on hiatus, the Saint Louis University Humanities Forum is a cross-disciplinary seminar for all graduate students in the humanities at SLU. It provides an arena for the exchange of ideas while building community among graduate students in various departments.