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Samantha Herrick 2021

Samantha Kahn Herrick

Contact Information:


527 Eggers Hall

Samantha Kahn Herrick

Associate Professor, History Department

Advisory Board Member, Center for European Studies


  • 2024 Spring
    • HST 496 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 301 Practicum in the Study of History
    • HST 373 The Crusades
  • 2023 Fall
    • HST 495 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 391 Mary Magdalene: History of a Legend
    • HST 311 Medieval Civilization
  • 2023 Spring
    • HST 301 Practicum in the Study of History
    • HST 300 Selected Topics - Whose Middle Ages?
    • HNR 360 Topics in the Social Sciences Honors - Whose Middle Ages?
  • 2022 Fall
    • HST 311 Medieval Civilization
    • HST 600 Selected Topics - Whose Middle Ages?

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Department of History, Harvard University, 2002


Samantha Herrick’s research focuses on Europe in the central Middle Ages (roughly 700 to 1300), particularly the uses and significance of Latin hagiographical legends. In addition to studying how and why medieval people fashioned and disseminated stories about the past, she is also interested in how historians can use problematic but abundant hagiographical legends to supplement the very limited number of more “reliable” sources that survive.

Her first book, "Imagining the Sacred Past: Hagiography and Power in Early Normandy" (Harvard University Press, 2007), demonstrated the political significance of legends celebrating largely imaginary saints in eleventh-century Normandy. She recently edited a volume on history and hagiography, in which leading scholars demonstrate just how to use such sources and what can be learned from them.

She is currently writing a monograph about a sizeable but neglected body of apostolic saints’ lives, tentatively entitled "Networks of Shared Imagination: Apostolic Legends of Medieval Europe." This book explores the legends’ local significance, how they traveled over space and time, and how numerous authors drew on them to construct a larger historical vision.

She has been a Fulbright Fellow; Professeur invitée at the Université Paul Verlaine in Metz (France); a member of the Institute for Advanced Study; a Faculty Fellow at Syracuse’s Humanities Center; and a Solmsen Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She teaches courses on medieval civilization, the Crusades, the legend of Mary Magdalen, and the history of food in pre-modern Europe.

Areas of Expertise

Medieval European history, Christian hagiography and apostolic legends, France

Research Interests

Medieval European history, saints and hagiography, memory, literacy, networks, urban history, rivalry, pilgrimage, circulation of texts

Research Grant Awards and Projects

"Networks of Shared Imagination: Apostolic Legends in Medieval Europe", Sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Selected Publications

  • Books
    • Herrick, S. K., "Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500-1500." Reading Medieval Sources, 2019.
    • Herrick, S. K., Imagining the Sacred Past: Hagiography and Power in Early Normandy. Harvard University Press, 2007.
  • Journal Articles
    • Herrick, S. K., ""Very Great Strife": The Monks of Saint-Clément as Competitors in Twelfth-Century Metz." Journal of Medieval History, 2020.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Friend or Foe? The Bishops of Metz in Monastic Historical Narrative, c. 1000-c.1200." Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 2020.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Remembering the Vikings in the Duchy of Normandy." Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, 2010.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Studying Apostolic Hagiography: The Case of Fronto of Périgueux, Disciple of Christ." Speculum , 2010.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Between Neighbors and Saints: Waleran I of Meulan and the Allegiance of Lesser Lords in the Eleventh Century." Haskings Society Journal, 2009.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Rivalry and Alliance: Conceptualizing Ecclesiastical Networks in the Middle Ages." European Studies Forum, 2008.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Reshaping the Past on the Early Norman Frontier: Vigor of Bayeux." Haskins Society Journal, 2003.
  • Book Chapters
    • Herrick, S. K., "Introduction." In Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500-1500. , 2019.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Saints’ Lives on the Move: The Circulation of Apostolic Legends." In Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500-1500. , 2019.
    • Bousquet-Labouérie, C., Maurey, Y. and Herrick, S. K., "Apostolic Founding Bishops and Their Rivals." In Espace sacré, mémoire sacrée: Le culte des évêques dans leurs villes (IVe-XXe siècle). Brepols, 2015.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Le pouvoir du passé apostolique." In Hagiographie médiévale: idéologie et pouvoir. Colloque international du Centre d’Études supérieures de Civilisation médiévale de Poitiers. Bozoky, É. (ed.) Brepols, 2012.
    • Herrick, S. K., "The Interdependent Vitae of Apostolic Saints." Hagiographica: Rivista di agiografia e biografia della «Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino, 2012.
    • Herrick, S. K., "Heirs to the Apostles: Saintly Power and Ducal Authority in Hagiography of Early Normandy." In The Experience of Power in Medieval Europe, 950-1350. Berkhofer III, R. F., Cooper, A. and Kosto, A. J. (eds.) Ashgate, 2005.
  • Book Reviews
    • Herrick, S. K., "Understanding Hagiography: Studies in the Textual Transmission of Early Medieval Saints’ Lives." Alberto, P. F., Chiesa, P. and Goullet, M. (eds.) Speculum (2022), 2020.
    • Bouchard, C. B., Herrick, S. K., "Rewriting Saints and Ancestors: Memory and Forgetting in France, 500-1200." Speculum (2016), 2014.
    • Kuefler, M., Herrick, S. K., "The Making and Unmaking of a Saint: Hagiography and Memory in the Cult of Gerald of Aurillac." The Catholic Historical Review (2015), 2013.
    • Fassler, M. E., Herrick, S. K., "The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy and the Arts." The American Historical Review (2011), 2011.
    • Thompson, K., Herrick, S. K., "Power and Border Lordship in Medieval France: The County of Perche, 1000-1226." Speculum (2004), 2002.
    • Thorbecke, S., Herrick, S. K., "L’hagiographie du haut moyen âge en Gaule du Nord." Speculum (2003), 2001.
  • Essay
  • Magazine/Trade Publication
    • Herrick, S. K., "Notre Dame’s Long History of Adapting to Changing Times." The Hill, 2019.

Presentations and Events

30th International Medieval Congress, Hagiography Society, Episcopus, ""Narrative Networks and Entanglements in Apostolic Hagiography,"" (July 4, 2023)

57th International Congress on Medieval Studies, "Brevia on Bishops and the Secular Clergy" (May, 2022)

28th International Medieval Congress, "Bishops Without Borders? The Legendary Travels of Apostolic Founding Bishops" (July, 2021)

46th Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, "Privileged Afterlives of Early Medieval Saints" (April, 2021)

27th International Medieval Congress, "Hagiography and History: Where Do We Go From Here?" (July, 2020)

46th Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, "Positing Saints" (April, 2020)

Previous Teaching Appointments

Syracuse University, Associate Professor of History, Syracuse, N.Y., August 2009-present
Syracuse University, Assistant Professor of History, Syracuse, N.Y., August 2003-2009
Northeastern University, Lecturer in History, Boston, Mass., Winter 2003
Harvard University, Tutor and Teaching Fellow, Cambridge, Mass., 1997-2001