Melissa Vise Associate Professor of History, Head of the Italian Studies Faculty Cohort

Melissa Vise

Newcomb Hall 314
Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. Northwestern University, Medieval and Early Modern History, 2015

M.T.S. University of Notre Dame, History of Christianity, 2008

B.A. Boston University, summa cum laude, Philosophy and Religion, 2006


Medieval European intellectual, cultural, and religious history with special attention to the Italian peninsula


Medieval European history, violence, crime and punishment, law, religion and culture

Prof. Vise is currently teaching the following on rotation:

 HIST100: European History, 325-1492

 HIST180B/MRST110: Medieval Pandemic

 HIST201: Violence in Premodern Europe

 HIST212: Crime and Punishment in Pre-Modern Europe

 HIST225: Pilgrims, Pillagers, and Peddlers: Travel in the Middle Ages (a Digital Humanities course)

 HIST229: The World of the Decameron

 HIST310: Speech and Censorship in the Middle Ages

Selected Publications

“The Matter of Personae in Medieval Italy” American Journal of Legal History Volume 63, Issue 2, 2023: 131-48.

“Compositio: Horizons of Truth in The Decameron, the Notarial Register, and Civic Peace Pacts” Viator 52, Issue 2, 2021: 227-259.

            --honorable mention from the Society for Italian Historical Studies 2023

“Jill Moore, Inquisition and its Organisation in Italy, 1250-1350 (York Medieval Press, 2019)” Review for H-Net Italy

"The Women and the Inquisitor: Peace-making in Bologna, 1299" Speculum 93, no. 2. (April, 2018): 357-386.

"To the Podestà or the Inquisitor? Adjudicating Blasphemy in Medieval Bologna, 1250-1450" in Justice and Violence: Bologna 1250-1700. ed. Sarah Blanshei (Lexington Press, 2018).

Current Research

Professor Vise's current book project, The Unruly Tongue: Speech and Violence in Medieval Italy, explores the power and perceived dangers of speech in the republican communes of northern Italy.

Undergraduates (with our without Latin reading skills!) are encouraged to inquire about research assistantship opportunities.

Professor Vise is the current head of the Italian Studies Faculty Cohort, a group which unites Italianists across the disciplines here at W&L. Please visit their website to learn more.