John S. Ott

Professor and Chair

Department of History
Portland State University, Portland, OR 97207-0751
Phone (office) : 503.725.3013

2009  L.M.S. (Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies), Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto (Magna cum laude)
1999  Ph.D, History, Stanford University
1994  AM, History, Stanford University
1991  BA, History, University of Puget Sound

Fields of specialization and areas of interest
Medieval Europe, 300-1450 (social and cultural); ecclesiastical and urban history of northern France and Flanders (eleventh and twelfth centuries); hagiography and the cult of saints; social and religious minorities, religious dissent, authority

University employment

Professor of History, Portland State University, June 2014 - present
Associate Professor of History, Portland State University, June 2006 - June 2014
Assistant Professor of History, Portland State University, September 1999 - June 2006
Lecturer, University of California-Santa Cruz, Fall 1998
Instructor, Stanford University, Fall 1995
Teaching Assistant, Stanford University, 1994-1995

Select grants, fellowships, and honors

Academic Publications
Books (authored)
Bishops, Authority and Community in Northwestern Europe, c.1050-1150 (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Reviews of the book: Cahiers des recherches médiévales et humanistes (October 2016) [Marie-Céline Isaa]; History 102 (April 2017): 290-91 [Julia Barrow]; Journal of Ecclesiastical History 68:2 (April 2017): 399-401 [Constant J. Mews]; Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association 12 (2016) [Matt Firth]; Speculum 93:1 (2018): 253-54 [Edward Roberts]; Historische Zeitschrift 306:2 (2018): 824-25 [Julia Exarchos]; Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia 27 (2018): 529-30 [Iuliu-Marius Morariu]; Cahiers de civilisation médiévale 238 (2017): 193-195 [Laurent Jégou]; Church History 89:1 (2020): 171-172 [Katie Ann-Marie Bugyis]
Books (edited)

Editor, with Radosaw Kotecki and Jacek Maciejewski, Between Sword and Prayer: Warfare and Medieval Clergy in Cultural Perspective, Explorations in Medieval Culture 3 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2017)
Reviews and summaries of the book: De re militari: The Society for Medieval Military History (2018) [Courtney Hubbart]; Speculum 94:2 (2019): 551-53 [David S. Bachrach]; Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 46:3 (2019): 486-488 [Florian Messner]
Editor, with Trpimir Vedriš, Saintly Bishops and Bishops' Saints. Proceedings of the 2010 Hagiotheca Conference, Poreč Croatia (Zagreb: Hagiotheca, 2012)

Reviews and summaries of the book: The Catholic Historical Review 100:1 (Winter 2014) [Raymond Van Dam]; The Medieval Review (14.03.05) [Nora Berend]

Editor, with Anna Trumbore Jones, The Bishop Reformed: Studies of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Central Middle Ages (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2007)

Reviews and summaries of the book: Sehepunkte 8:3 (2008) [Jörg Peltzer]; The Medieval Review (08.16.08) [Sarah Hamilton]; Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 64:1 (2008): 263-65 [Gerhard Schmitz]; Early Medieval Europe 17 (2009): 359-60 [Scott Bruce]; Journal of Ecclesiastical History 60:3 (July 2009): 584-85 [Uta-Renate Blumenthal]; Francia 2009/2 [Stefan Burkhardt]; Parergon 27:1 (2010): 235-37 [Marcus Harmes]; Kyrkohistorisk Ãrsskrift 110 (2010): 212-214 [Anna Minara Ciardi].

Articles and book chapters

“Erasing Bad Memories: Fashioning the Reputation of Manasses I, Archbishop of Reims (c. 1069-1080),” in L’évêque contesté. Les résistances à l’autorité épiscopale et à son image, des Pays Bas méridionaux à l’Italie du Nord (Xe-XVIIe siècles), ed. Anne Wagner, Rencontres/Histoire Religieuse (Paris: Editions Garnier, forthcoming 2021)

"Clerical Networks and Canon Law: The Beauvais Election Controversy of 1100-04," in New Discourses in Medieval Canon Law Research: Challenging the Master Narrative, ed. Christof Rolker, Medieval Law and Its Practice 28 (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 58-82
Reviews of the book: Speculum 95:3 (July 2020): 891-893 [Atria Larson]; Francia-Recensio (2020/1) [Brigitte Basdevant-Gaudemet]; H-SOZ-KULT (28.10.2020) [Lotte Kéry]
"Men on the Move: Papal Judges-Delegate in the Province of Reims in the early Twelfth Century," in The Use of Canon Law in Ecclesiastical Administration, 1000-1234, ed. Melodie H. Eichbauer and Danica Summerlin, Medieval Law and Its Practice 26 (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 23-50
Reviews of the book: 27 (2019) [Caspar Ehlhers]; The Medieval Review (20.11.06) [Thomas M. Izbicki]; The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 71:1 (January 2020): 164-165 [Benedict G. E. Wiedemann]; The Cambridge Law Journal 79: 2 (2021): 365-368 [Paul R. Hyams]
With Radosław Kotecki and Jacek Maciejewski, “The Medieval Clergy and War: A Historiographical Introduction,” in Between Sword and Prayer: Warfare and Medieval Clergy in Cultural Perspective, ed. Radosaw Kotecki, Jacek Maciejewski, and John S. Ott, Explorations in Medieval Culture 3 (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 1-23

"Speech and Silence, Ritual and Memory at the Council of Reims (1049)" in From Learning to Love: Schools, Law and Pastoral Care in the Middle Ages. Essays in Honour of Joseph W. Goering, ed. Tristan Sharp (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Press, 2017), 293-314
Reviews of the book: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 70:3 (July 2019): 605-607 [Joan Greatrex]; Speculum 94:3 (July 2019) [Ian P. Wei]

"'Reims and Rome are Equals': Archbishop Manasses I (c. 1069-1080), Pope Gregory VII, and the Fortunes of Historical Exceptionalism," in Envisioning the Bishop. Images and the Episcopacy in the Middle Ages, ed. Sigrid Danielson and Evan A. Gatti (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), 275-302

Reviews of the book
: sehepunkte 14 (2014) [Jean A. Truax]; H-Soz-Kult and H-Net Reviews (04.02.2015) [Dominik Wassenhoven]; The Catholic Historical Review 102:2 (2016) [Christine Kleinjung]; Parergon 32:1 (2015): 230-31 [Sabina Flanagan]; Le Moyen Age 121:2 (2015): 502-4 [Jean Wirth]

"Between Heaven and Earth: Saintly Bishops and Bishops' Saints," preface to Saintly Bishops and Bishops' Saints, ed. Trpimir Vedriš and John S. Ott (Hagiotheca, 2010), vii-xv

With Anna Trumbore Jones, "Introduction: The Bishop Reformed," in The Bishop Reformed: Studies of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Central Middle Ages, ed. John S. Ott and Anna Trumbore Jones (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2007), 1-20

"'Both Mary and Martha': Bishop Lietbert of Cambrai and the Construction of Episcopal Sanctity in a Border Diocese around 1100," in The Bishop Reformed: Studies of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Central Middle Ages, ed. John S. Ott and Anna Trumbore Jones (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2007), 137-160

"Educating the Bishop: Models of Episcopal Authority and Conduct in the Hagiography of Early Twelfth-Century Soissons," in Teaching and Learning in Northern Europe, 1000-1200, ed. Sally N. Vaughn and Jay Rubenstein, Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 8 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), 217-253

Reviews of the book
: Catholic Historical Review 93:4 (October 2007): 922-23 [Marcia Colish]; The Medieval Review (4.24.08) [Constant Mews]; Parergon 24:2 (2007): 224-26 [Clare Monagle]

"Writing Godfrey of Amiens: Guibert of Nogent and Nicholas of Saint-Crépin between Sanctity, Ideology, and Society," Mediaeval Studies: an Annual Journal of Scholarship 67 (2005): 317-65

"Authority, Heresy, and Popular Devotion: Le Mans (1116) Reconsidered," in Varieties of Devotion in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Susan Karant-Nunn, Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, vol. 7 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 99-124

Reviews of the book: Parergon 21:2 (2004): 199-202 [Mary Scrafton]

"Urban Space, Memory, and Episcopal Authority: The Bishops of Amiens in Peace and Conflict, 1073-1164," Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies 31 (2000): 43-77
Co-Winner, 2002 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize, Medieval Academy of America, Best First Article in Medieval Studies (2000)

Encyclopedia articles

Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. Robert E. Bjork (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), s.v. "Cambrai," "Guillaume of Rheims, cardinal of Champagne," "Guy of Bazoches (d. 1203)," "Laon," "Le Mans," "Odo of Tournai," "Prémontré," "Rheims," "Soissons," "Valenciennes"

"Amiens, bishops of, 11th-12th c.," in International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages-Online. A Supplement to LexMA-Online. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2006, in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopaedias <>

Book Reviews

Review of Daniel M.G. Gerrard, The Church at War. The Military Activities of Bishops, Abbots and Other Clergy in England, c.900-1200, Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West (London: Routledge, 2017), in War in History 28:3 (2021): 701-702

Combined review of Anthony John Lappin and Elena Balzamo, eds., Dominus Episcopus. Medieval Bishops between Diocese and Court, Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien. Konferenser 95 (Stockholm: KVHAA, 2018); and Peter Coss, Chris Dennis, Melissa Julian-Jones, and Angelo Silvestri, eds., Episcopal Power and Local Society in Medieval Europe, 900-1400, Medieval Church Studies 38 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), Speculum 95:2 (2020): 537-39

Review of John Howe, Before the Gregorian Reform. The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2016), in Speculum 94:1 (2019): 224-26

Review of Bruno Lemesle, Le gouvernement des évêques. La charge pastorale au milieu du Moyen Âge (Rennes: Presses Unviersitaires de Rennes, 2015), in Francia-Recensio (2017/4)

Review of Christine Bousquet-Labouérie and Yossi Maurey, eds., Espace sacré, mémoire sacrée. Le culte des évêques dans leurs villes (IVe-XXe siècle). Actes du colloque international de Tours, 10-12 juin 2010, Hagiologia 10 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), in The Medieval Review (2016.07.02)

Review of Angelo Silvestri, Power, Politics and Episcopal Authority. The Bishops of Cremona and Lincoln in the Middle Ages (1066-1340) (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), in The English Historical Review 131 (2016): 1125-1127

Review of Sally N. Vaughn, Archbishop Anselm 1093-1109. Bec Missionary, Canterbury Primate, Patriarch of Another World (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), in The English Historical Review 129 (August 2014): 918-920

Review of Ludger Körntgen and Domink Wassenhoven, eds., Patterns of Episcopal Power. Bishops in Tenth and Eleventh Century Europe / Strukturen bischöflicher Herrschaftsgewalt im weslichen Europa des 10. und 11. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011), in The Catholic Historical Review 98:4 (October 2012): 784-86

Review of Detlev Jasper, ed., Die Konzilien Deutschlands und Reichsitaliens, 1023-1059, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Concilia, vol. 8 (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2010), in The Catholic Historical Review 98:1 (2012), 95-96

Review of Karin Fuchs, Zeichen und Wunder bei Guibert de Nogent. Kommunikation, Deutungen und Funktionalisierungen von Wundererzählungen im 12. Jahrhundert (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 2008), in Francia-Recensio 2011/1 (Mittelalter - Moyen Age)

Review of Bruce C. Brasington and Kathleen G. Cushing, eds., Bishops, Texts and the Use of Canon Law around 1100. Essay in Honour of Martin Brett (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2008), in The Medieval Review, 9 June 2010

Review of Erik van Mingroot, ed., Les chartes de Gérard Ier, Liébert et Gérard II, évêques de Cambrai et d'Arras, comtes du Cambrêsis (1012-1092/93), in The Medieval Review, 3 December 2008

Review of Werner Verbeke, et al., eds., Medieval Narrative Sources. A Gateway into the Medieval Mind (Louvain: Louvain University Press, 2005), in The Medieval Review, 6 February 2007

Review of Heather J. Tanner, Families, Friends and Allies. Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, c. 879-1160 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies 81:2 (April 2006), 613-15

Review of Eva Elm, Die Macht der Weisheit. Das Bild des Bischofs in der Vita Augustini des Possidius und anderen spätantiken und frühmittelalterlichen Bischofsviten (Leiden: Brill, 2003), in The Medieval Review, 3 December 2004

Review of H. E. J. Cowdrey, trans., The Register of Pope Gregory VII, 1073-1085 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), in Speculum. A Journal of Medieval Studies 79:4 (October 2004), 1059-1062

Review of Karl Heinrich Krüger, Studien zur Corveyer Gründungsüberlieferung, Abhandlungen zur Corveyer Geschichtsschreibung, Band 9 (Aschendorff-Münster, 2001), in Speculum. A Journal of Medieval Studies 78:3 (July 2003), 930-31

Review of Sharon Farmer, Surviving Poverty in Medieval France: Gender, Ideology and the Daily Lives of the Poor (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2002), H-France Book Reviews, October 2002
98:4 (2012): 784-86

General/Public History Publications

The Tacoma Public Utilities Story: The First 100 Years, 1893-1993 (Tacoma, Washington, 1993), with Dick Malloy

1994 Totem Award, Public Relations Society of America, Puget Sound Region
First Prize, 1994 Special Publications, Utility Communicators International
The Story of the Tacoma Municipal Belt Line Railway (Tacoma, Washington, 1996)

Selected conferences and formal presentations (2007-2018)

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, England, 2-5 July 2018
          Paper title: “Lapidary Virtues: Inscriptions and Epitaphs Commemorating Bishops, c. 900-1150”

Invited Talk, Scientific Congress, "Bishops in the 'Century of Iron'", Universiteit Gent - KU Leuven, 24-25 November 2016
Paper title: "In Praise of Bishops"

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, England, 6-9 July 2015
Paper title: "Men on the Move: Papal Judges Delegate in Northern France in the Early 12th Century"

Forty-ninth Annual Conference of the Medieval Association of the Pacific, Reno, NV, 9-11 April 2015
Paper title: "'a mandato uestre sublimitatis': Papal Judges Delegate in the Province of Reims c. 1150"

NACEP National Conference: Elevating College Transition, Chicago, 26-28 October 2014
Paper title (with Laura Pridmore-Brown and Sally Hudson): "Young Historians Conference: Enhancing College Authenticity in a CEP"

New Discourses in Medieval Canon Law Research: Challenging the Master Narrative, University of Zurich, 11-12 July 2014
Paper title: "Law and Reform: Clerical Networks, Professional Identities, and Textual Transmission: Rethinking the 'Reform' Paradigm"

Invited Talk, Workshop "Rhetorik, Ritual und Recht: Reden und Predigten auf Kirchenversammlungen des Mittelalters (11.-15. Jahrhundert)," Center for Advanced Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, 25-26 July 2013
Paper title: "Speech and Silence at the Council of Reims (1049)"

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, England, 1-4 July 2013
Paper title: "Erasing Bad Memories: Fashioning the Reputation of Manasses I, Archbishop of Reims, c. 1069-1080"

Invited Talk, University of Nevada-Reno, 12 September 2012
        Paper title: "Poetry, Pride and Power: The Archbishop's Court at Reims and the Politics of Reform in the Late Eleventh Century"

XIV Quadrennial International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, 5-11 August 2012
        Paper title: "Texts and Church Reform: The Eleventh-Century Manuscripts of the Provosts of Reims"

Eighty-sixth Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, ACMRS, Scottsdale, AZ, 14-16 April 2011
Paper title: "Archbishop Manasses I of Rheims, Rome, and the Recovery of the True Cross"

Hagiotheca International Hagiography Conference, Porec, Croatia, 27-29 May 2010
Paper title: "Episcopal Sanctity in the Archdiocese of Reims, 1050-1150"

Forty-fifth International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, 13-16 May 2010
Paper title: "Band of Brothers: Episcopal Solidarities and the Limits of Papal Intervention in Northern France around 1100"

Eighth Annual Marco Symposium on "The Building Blocks of France," University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 26-27 March 2010
Paper title: "'Reims and Rome are Equals': Considerations on a Structural Failure"

UC Medieval History Seminar, Huntington Library, 27 February 2010
Paper title: "Becoming Bishop: Clerical Culture and Episcopal Formation in the Archdiocese of Reims around 1100"

Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, Vancouver, BC, 3-5 April 2008
Paper title: "An Armenian Archbishop in Seditious Flanders: Imagining Sacred Landscapes in the Eleventh-Century vitae of St. Macarius of Antioch"

Forty-second International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, 10-13 May 2007
Paper title: "Saints, Borders, and Ecclesiastical Reform: The Case of Cambrai"

Fifty-third Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies, Houston, TX, 15-17 March 2007
Paper title: "After Flodoard: Historiography and Archiepiscopal Identity in Eleventh- and Early Twelfth-Century Reims"

Professional Memberships, Positions, and Affiliations

Episcopus: Society for the Study of Bishops and Secular Clergy in the Middle Ages, 2004 - 2018
President, 2012-2015
Councillor, 2015-2018

Medieval Academy of America, 1997 - 2020
Book Review Editor, 2015-2018 (ecclesiastical history)

Medieval Academy of the Pacific, 1997 - present
President, 2018-2020
Vice-President, 2016-2018
Treasurer, 2007-2016
Councillor, 2004-2007

Hagiography Society, 2003 - present

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