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Cathleen Fleck, Ph.D.

Department Chair
Fine and Performing Arts

Associate Professor
Art History

Courses Taught

Art and its Histories; Art of Cathedrals and Kings; Art of Pilgrimage and Crusades; Art and the Body; The Art of Jerusalem and Three Faiths: Past and Present; Islamic Art and Society; Northern Renaissance Art; Art History Seminar; Research Methods; Global Masterpieces of Art


Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
M.A., Johns Hopkins University
B.A., University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

Dr. Cathleen Fleck's current art historical research encompasses her various interests involving the art of the Mediterranean. Her recent book, entitled Reimagining Jerusalem’s Architectural Identities in the Later Middle Ages, examines how Christians and Muslims in the Crusader era of the Middle Ages (1187–1382) understood Jerusalem’s history and used the representation of its monuments to express shifting Christian and Islamic religious concepts. She is also working on a co-authored volume called Encounters: The Crusades in 50 Objects (Routledge, forthcoming 2023), with essays regarding art and material culture of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish art in the Levant during the European crusader period from 1099–1400. Her other project involves the medieval city of Naples; she is preparing a volume on a beautiful illustrated Neapolitan Bible now in Berlin, the Hamilton Bible, for publication in 2024. 

In 2021, Dr. Fleck also became an Executive Board member of the Center for Research on Global Catholicism at SLU. She has been helping to launch the CRGC and arrange many academic events to support its mission to support “scholarship at the nexus of Catholicism and culture, providing robust programming that promotes interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and methodological innovation.”  

Another aspect of Dr. Fleck’s research has been in areas regarding the arts and pedagogy. She is leading a project at SLU entitled “Artful Observation” that engages with pre-medical undergraduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences and Physical Therapy in the Doisy College of Health Sciences. She and her colleagues have established curricular and research programs based on evidence-based methods about training with the visual arts to help students develop their attentiveness, descriptive skills, individual and collective awareness, and empathetic capabilities.   

As Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department (2019-), Dr. Fleck has expanded her professional development in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as higher education leadership research. Various workshops (with external groups such as Cultural Connections by Design, Crossroads Antiracism Training, and AAC&U’s Diversity, Equity, and Student Success conference and with internal entities such as the SLU Office of Diversity and Innovative Creative Engagement and the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning) have informed her professional commitment to grow her department’s knowledge and action in DEI areas. Her leadership training with the International Center for Fine Arts Deans and the National Association for Schools of Art and Design provided her with tools to work with her department faculty and staff to formulate a new mission and vision, DEI statement and goals, and begin deliberate actions for a more accessible and welcoming department.

Her interests include:  

  • Higher education leadership
  • DEI research
  • Late Medieval European and Islamic art and architecture of the Mediterranean
  • Crusader art and cultural exchange
  • History and representations of Medieval Jerusalem
  • Medieval court art
  • Medieval European and Islamic manuscripts
  • Pedagogy in the arts
  • Global Catholicism

Publications and Media Placements

  • Co-author with Elizabeth Lapina, Richard A. Leson, and Vardit R. Shotten-Hallel. Encounters: The Crusades in 50 Objects. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, forthcoming 2023
  • The Hamilton Bible. Magic Moments of mankind series. Sinnbach am Inn: Verlag Müller and Schindler, forthcoming 2024.
  • Reimagining Jerusalem's Architectural Identities in the Later Middle Ages.  Leiden: Brill, 2022
  • "Art of an Emblematic King: Robert I of Naples as King of Jerusalem in the Fourteenth Century." In New Horizons in Trecento Italian Arteds. Bryan C. Keene and Karl Whittington. Trecento Forum, 247-261. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2020.  
  • "Signs of Leadership: Buildings of Jerusalem in a Crusader Relief." In Crusading in Art, Thought, and Willeds. Anne Romine, Ben Halliburton and Matthew E. Parker. Medieval Mediterranean Series, 37-67. Leiden: Brill, 2018.  
  • "Review of Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People under Heaven, eds. Barbara Boehm and Melanie Holcomb, catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition 2016 (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016)." Jewish Quarterly Review 108, no. 4 (2018): 562-568. 
  • "The Crusader Loss of Jerusalem in the Eyes of a Thirteenth-Century Virtual Pilgrim," in The Crusades and Visual Culture, Eds. Laura Whatley, April Morris, Susanna Throop, and Elizabeth Lapina (Farnham, Surrey, England/Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, forthcoming 2015
  • "The Luxury Riccardiana Psalter in the Thirteenth Century: A Nun's Prayerbook?" Viator 46/1 (2015), 135-160.
  • "Crusader Spolia in Medieval Cairo. The Portal of the Complex of Sultan Ḥasan," Journal of Transcultural Medieval Studies, I/2 (Dec. 2014), 249-300. 
  • "'Vergine madre pia': Text and Image in a Medieval Psalter in a Renaissance Dominican Convent," Source: Notes in the History of Art, XXXIV/2 (2015), 5-13.
  • The Clement Bible at the Medieval Courts of Naples and Avignon: A Story of Papal Power, Royal Prestige, and Patronage. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2010.
  • "The rise of the court artist: Cavallini and Giotto in 14th-c. Naples," Published in Art History (2008): 460-83 and in Art and Architecture in the Kingdom of Naples, 1266-1713: New Approaches. Eds. C. Warr and J. Elliott. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010: 38-61.
  • "Seeking Legitimacy: Art and Manuscripts for the Popes in Avignon from 1378-1417," A Companion to the Great Western Schism. Eds. Joëlle Rollo-Koster and Thomas Izbicki. Brill, 2009: 239-302.

Honors and Awards

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow: Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, SLU, 2023-25

Professional Organizations and Associations

Community Work and Service

Regular volunteer at local middle and high school.