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Beth Plummer

WKU History Department





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Beth PlummerBeth Plummer


Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1996

Fields: Renaissance and Reformation Europe

Office:  Cherry Hall 223B

Phone:  (270) 745-5739



Curriculum Vita


Research Interests

My research focus is on the early Reformation; family, gender, and religion in early modern Europe; and crime and punishment in sixteenth-century Germany.

In addition to publishing an edited collection of essays with Robin B. Barns, Ideas and Cultural Margins: Essays in Honor of H.C. Erik Midelfort (Aldershot, 2009) and several articles including one in the Archive for Reformation History and one in Gender and History, I have recently completed a book, From Priest's Whore to Pastor's Wife: Clerical Marriage and the Process of Reform in Early Reformation Germany (Ashgate, 2012). This study investigates the way that clerical marriage was received, and the progress of reform on this issue, in the dioceses of Mainz and Magdeburg under Archbishop Albrecht von Hohenzollern from 1513 to 1545, concentrating on three key regions within this territory: Saxony, Franconia, and Swabia. My research reveals the active role that the laity (i.e. artisans, craftsmen, housekeepers, concubines, pastors' wives), local clergy (parish priests, nuns, monks), and magistrates played in situating public controversies over clerical marriage in the early German Reformation. I explore how the resulting debates and disputes led to the creation of new cultural and social norms of clerical and lay behavior, and connect this change to broader intellectual and public concerns about marriage, gender, and social identity.

My current research project, tentatively titled "Stripping the Veil: Nuns, Violence, and the Experience of Laicization in Sixteenth-Century Germany," explores the experience of former nuns as they returned to lay status during the sixteenth century.


Teaching Interests

In addition to teaching Western and World Civilization I and II and undergraduate and graduate courses on Renaissance and Reformation Europe, I have taught seminar courses in Early Modern European Cultural and Social History, Monasticism, Popular Religion in Pre-Modern Europe, Early Modern Printing and Propaganda, Crime and Punishment in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, and European Women's History.


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 Last Modified 11/21/16