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Albrecht Diem

Albrecht Diem

(Pronouns: He, Him)

Contact Information:


145 Eggers Hall

Office Hours:

Monday 4:00-6:00
Tuesday 12:00-2:00, by appointment

Albrecht Diem

Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, History Department


  • 2024 Spring
    • HST 301 Practicum in the Study of History
    • HST 310 The Early Middle Ages
  • 2023 Fall
    • HST 301 Practicum in the Study of History
    • HST 210 The Ancient World
  • 2023 Spring
    • HST 310 The Early Middle Ages
  • 2022 Fall
    • HST 401 Senior Seminar - The Barbarian Middle Ages?
    • HST 210 The Ancient World

Highest degree earned

Post-graduate Licentiate, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2003


Albrecht Diem is a historian of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. His research focuses on the history of Western monasticism from its beginnings to the period of the Carolingian monastic reforms. He approaches the history of monasticism as a long-term experiment in creating perfect communities, to overcome the effects of human sinfulness and to achieve institutional continuity. This “monastic experiment” produced a wide variety of theological frameworks and institutional models that had a lasting impact not only on monastic institutions but also on medieval society at large.

Diem considers himself a historian of ideas and an archaeologist of concepts who contributes, for example, to the history of sex and love, silence, confession, discipline and control, bodies, space and boundaries. Diem’s various projects in digital humanities can be found on He is an associate project investigator of the project "Visions of Community: Comparative Approaches to Ethnicity, Region and Empire in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism (400-1600 CE)" of the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Science, Vienna.

Areas of Expertise

Late Antiquity, Early Middle Ages, Hagiography, Monasticism. Medieval Sexualities, Medieval Manuscript Studies

Research Interests

Monastic Rules, Techniques of Discipline, Asceticism, Queer Sexualities, Merovingian and Carolingian history, Pastoral Care in the Early Middle Ages, Editing and Translating Monastic Norms

Research Grant Awards and Projects

"Norm and Community:Early Medieval Monastic Rules and the Development of Regular Observance", Sponsored by American Council of Learned Societies.

Selected Publications

Presentations and Events

Friedrich Meinecke Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, "Wendepunkte in der Geschichte des spätantiken und frühmittelalterlichen Klosterwesens" (July 13, 2023)

Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, University of Lund, "Regulating and educating in Early Latin Monasticism" (July 9, 2023)

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, Leeds University, "Gregory’s Holy Trouble Makers" (July 4, 2023)

Early Medieval Lecture Series, Jerusalem Institute for Advanced Studies, "The pursuit of early medieval monastic studies" (May 23, 2023)

12th Annual International Graduate Workshop The Quotidian and the Divine, University of Michigan, "Was the First Medieval Monk a Woman? – Reconsidered" (April 6, 2023)

Lecture series of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Binghamton University, "Early Medieval Monasticism, An Archaeology of Emotions" (March 29, 2023)

Institut für Geschichte und Kulturwissenschaften, Universität Wien, "Experimentelle Gemeinschaften im frühen Mittelalter’" (March 24, 2023)

Die Klosterinsel Reichenau im Mittelalter. Geschichte – Kunst – Architektur, Badische Landesbibliohtek, Karlsruhe, "Regulierung des Lebens. Klosterregeln und Reform in Kloster Reichenau in der Karolingerzeit’, , Reichenau, conference organized by the Badische Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe" (March 2, 2023)

Emotions and the Subject of Modern History, Institute of History of the Government College, University of Lahore, "Regulating Emotions in Early Medieval Monasteries" (December 5, 2022)

Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, "Fachdidaktik im Frühmittelalter" (November 18, 2022)

Freie Universität Berlin, Department of History and Cultural Studies, "Hagiographie und kollektive Heiligkeit" (July 12, 2022)

International Medieval Congress, "The Regula Benedicti and Carolingian Monastic Reform" (July 5, 2022)

Institute for Historical Research/Institute for Biblical Studies and Historical Theology, University of Innsbruck, "Zusammen heilig - zusammen glücklich. Monastische Gemeinschaftsexperimente des sechsten Jahrhunderts" (June 9, 2022)

Institute for Medieval Research, School of Advanced Studies of the University of London, "How to create a holy community: normative and narrative strategies" (June 8, 2022)

Pasados alternativos: ucronías, contrafctuales y otros modos de pensar el pasado en la Antigüedad, University of Granada , "Audiatur et altera pars: hagiographic narratives told from the perspective of the villain" (May 13, 2022)

Der bischöfliche Impetus Individueller und kollektiver Gestaltungswille in Gesellschaft, Kultur und Wirtschaft vom 6. bis 8. Jahrhundert, University of Kiel , "Die Rolle des Klosterwesens in den Konzilsentscheidungen des 5.-8. Jahrhunderts" (May 6, 2022)

University of Zagreb , Department of History, University of Zagreb, "Collective Sanctity and Early Medieval Hagiography" (April 28, 2022)

Golden years for the Dark Ages: The Transformation of Early Medieval Studies since 1980, Institute for Medieval Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences, "Monastic Identities" (March 26, 2022)

Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, "Purity in Early Medieval Monastic Rules" (March 7, 2022)

Colloquium of the Institute for Medieval Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences, "Monastic Studies – New Developments" (March 4, 2022)

Primitive Monastic Landscapes in the West, Universitat de Barcelona, "A farewell to Iro-Frankish monasticism" (November 4, 2021)

Ewa Wipszycka's Late Antique Seminar, University of Warsaw, "Basil, Benedict and Beyond. Understanding Regular Observance" (October 21, 2021)

In the Grip of the Supernatural: Dependencies above, within, and before us, University of Bonn , "Disciplining Evil: The Devil in Early Medieval Monastic Rules" (September 29, 2021)

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, "The dangers of purity" (July 5, 2021)

International Congress on Medieval Studies, "Monks without Bones" (May 12, 2021)

International Medieval Congress, Leeds , "Spilled Beer and Broken Vessels: On Negligence and Domestic Accidents" (July 2, 2019)

Otmars Welten: St.Gallen und das europäische Mönchtum im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert, Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen, "Der Einfluss monastischer Ideale und Lebenspraktiken auf die nicht monastische Welt" (June 21, 2019)

Confession, Truth, and Power: A Conversation, Dept. of History/Humanities Center, Syracuse University, "The Confessional Machine" (May 3, 2019)

Department of History and Humanities Center, Syracuse University, "Confession, Truth, and Power: A Conversation" (May, 2019)

Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, University of the South, "The Pursuit of Salvation in Early Medieval Monastic Rules" (April 13, 2019)

Program in Medieval Studies, University of Virginia, "Hildemar’s Queer Anxieties. Carolingian Monastic Reform and Same-Sex Anxieties" (April 1, 2019)

Democracy Transformations and Subversions Chronos Undergraduate History Conference, "Democratic Monasteries? On Hierarchy and Equality in Early Medieval Monastic Communities" (February 22, 2019)

Labour in the first millennium AD, School of History, University College Dublin, "Real work or occupational therapy? Provisions on manual labor in early medieval monastic rules" (June 6, 2024)

Research meet-up and lunch, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Civic Engagement, "Lightening talk: The moral universe of a dark-age Christian" (March 7, 2024)

Previous Teaching Appointments

2005-2007: Research fellow at the Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna

2004-2005: Lecturer at the Department of History, University of Utrecht

2002-2004: Post doctoral researcher at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in a research project on the reception of the Cardinal Virtues in the Middle Ages

2000-2001: Lecturer at the Department of History, University of Groningen

Honors and Accolades

Faculty Fellowship, Humanities Center, Syracuse University (2019)

Ted Meijer Fellowship, Royal Netherlands Institute, Rome (2002)

Mellon Fellowship, Pontifical Institute for Mediaevel Studies (2001 - 2002)