Invited Lectures & Conference Papers


“The Modern Invention of the Medieval Executioner,” 42nd James Savage Renaissance Lecture, presented April 8, 2014, at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS.  Also to be presented in modified form on November 11, 2014 at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

„Meister Franz Schmidt von Nürnberg: Der Kosmos eines frühmodernen Scharfrichters,“ presented onMarch 26, 2014 at the Stadtmuseum Dresden; and on March 27, 2014, at the Verein fürGeschichte der Stadt Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany.


“Producing a Good Death: The Art of Execution in Early Modern Germany,” presented on March 21, 2104, at the Fitzwilliam Museum; Cambridge, England. “The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Executioner,” Fortieth Annual Walter C. Schnackenberg Memorial Lecture, presented on March 5, 2014, at Pacific Lutheran University; Tacoma, Washington; also presented on March 18, 2014, at Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Commentary on John Martin, “Torture, Early Modern Jurisprudence, and Limits on the Sovereignty of The State and the Self in the Venetian Empire,” presented on February 24, 2014 at the Vanderbilt History Seminar.

The Nineteenth-Century Invention of the Gothic Executioner,” presented on January, 2, 2014, at the
American Historical Association annual conference; Washington, D.C.


Commentary on Peter Lake, “William Sibthorpe becomes Heterodox, or the Local Dynamics of Ideological Change,” presented on October 1, 2012 at the Vanderbilt History Seminar.

“Down but not out: social mobility among the dishonorable of early modern Europe,” plenary address presented on March 23, 2012, at On the margins?  Rethinking the problem and place of 'outsiders' in medieval and early modern history,” St. Anne’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, U.K.

“The Early Modern Executioner as Narrator,” presented on October 29, 2011 at the Sixteenth Century Studies Association Conference, Ft. Worth, TX.

Commentary on Sharon Farmer, “From Personal Charity to Social Welfare: The Evolution of Poor Relief in Paris, c. 1250-1600,” presented on October 10, 2011, at the Vanderbilt History Seminar.

“The hand that wields the sword: the inner life of a sixteenth-century executioner,” presented on September 25, 2011 at the German Studies Association Conference, Louisville, KY.

“Waisen- und Findelkinder im frühneuzeitlichen Nürnberg – obrigkeitliche Fürsorge und ,‘informal circulation,’” presented on September 17, 2011 at the 9. Arbeitstagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft ,,Frühe Neuzeit“ im Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen  Deutschlands: Sicherheit in der Frühen Neuzeit,Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.

“The cosmos of a sixteenth-century executioner,” presented on May 27, 2011 at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
“The experience of early modern poverty,” presented on March 17, 2011, at the San Francisco Theological Faculty, San Anselmo, CA.

“The World of the University; The University and the World,” presented March 15, 2011 at the Collegium Honorum annual assembly, St. Francis de Sales High School, Toledo, Ohio.

“’Keine Besserung zu hoffen’: Die Ausbildung von jugendlichen Dieben in der frühen Neuzeit,” presented on October 22, 2010 at Arbeitskreis Interdisziplinäre Hexenforschung:“Hexenkinder, Kinderbanden, Straßenkinder,” Weingarten, Germany.

“Apprentices in Crime: the training of juvenile criminals in early modern Germany,” presented on October 19, 2010, at the Seamus Heaney Center, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


“Producing the Good Death: Meister Frantz Schmidt of Nuremberg,” presented on October 17, 2010, at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Montreal, Canada.

Roundtable participant, “Thomas Robisheaux’s Last Witch of Langenburg,” on October 10, 2010, at the German Studies Association Conference, Oakland, CA; also moderator for “The Supernatural in Medieval and Early Modern Germany,” on October 9, 2010.

Commentary on Magda Teter, “The Making of Sacred Space: Poznań as the ‘Polish Jerusalem,” presented on October 4, 2010 at Vanderbilt History Seminar.

“Vanderbilt’s Global Strategy,” plenary address presented on May 17, 2010, at the British Council, London, U.K.

”Meister Frantz Schmidt von Nürnberg: Der Kosmos eines frühmodernen Scharfrichters,” presented on November 24, 2009, at the Kolloquium zur Geschichte des Spätmittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit,Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Plenary address, presented on November 9, 2009, at the German Fulbright Alumni Association, Frankfurt, Germany.


“God’s Executioner: Meister Frantz Schmidt of Nuremberg (1554-1634),” presented on October 13, 2009, at the American Academy in Berlin.

“Child circulation within the early modern urban community: rejection and support of unwanted children in Nuremberg,” presented on October 27, 2007, at Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Minneapolis.

Comment on “Sin , Society, and Salvation in Early Modern Europe,” presented on March 30, 2007, at the Thirty-Fourth Annual Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, Sewanee, TN.

Comment on “Disciplining in Post-Reformation Germany: Parents, Peasants, and Public Clocks,” presented on April 8, 2005, at the Fourth Triennial Frühe Neuzeit Interdisziplinär, Durham, NC.

“Child Abandonment in Early Modern Nuremberg and the Peculiarities of the German Model,” presented on October 30, 2004, at Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Toronto.

“L’histoire croisée and early modern social history: an experiment,” presented on September 5, 2004, at
Defining and Redefining Early Modern History: Old Paradigms and New Directions. A Symposium to Honor Thomas A. Brady, Jr., University of California, Berkeley.

Response to two Keynote Speakers (Steven McKenzie and Baruch Halpern), “Does Biblical History Have a Future? David as a test case for historical criticism,” presented on January 12, 2004, at the Annual Hebrew Bible Symposium, Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

“The Unnatural Parent: Infanticide in the First Person,” presented on March 23, 2003, at the Symposium on Violence, Politics and Culture in Early Modern Europe, University of Mississippi (Oxford MS).

Comment on “Toleration, Coexistence and the Family” session presented on October 26, 2002 at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, San Antonio.

“Magic in German History and Fairy Tales,” presented on December 6, 2001, in the lecture series of McTyeire International Hall, Vanderbilt University.

Comment on “Mapping the Margins in Theology,” presented on April 22, 2001 at the Frühe Neuzeit Interdisziplinär, Pittsburgh.

Closing Comment on workshop “Grassroots Democracy? A Comparative History of Communities and State Building in New England and Germany, 1500-1850,” presented February 24, 2001 at the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

“The Life and Violent End of a Career Juvenile Criminal in Early Modern Germany,”presented on November 5, 2000, at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Cleveland.

“Bad Parents and Good Advice: Secular and Clerical Intervention in Child-Rearing in Early Modern Germany,” presented on May 5, 2000 at Religion and Learning in Medieval and Early modern Europe: A Conference in Honor of Thomas N. Tentler, Ann Arbor, MI.

“Juvenile Criminals and their Prosecutors in Early Modern Nuremberg,” presented on October 31, 1999 at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, St. Louis.

“Apprentices in Crime: The Lives and Violent Ends of Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany,” public lecture at Belmont University, presented on September 29, 1999.

“Juvenile delinquents and juvenile criminals in early modern Nuremberg,” presented on April 10,1999, at Becoming Delinquent: European Youth, 1650-1950 conference, Cambridge, U.K.

“Das Unverwünschte kind in der frühen Neuzeit; Fünf Perspektiven auf ein soziales Problem,” presented on January 12, 1999 at the Förderverein Medizingeschichte Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany; also on February 8, 1999 at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel; on April 21, 1999 at the Universität Osnabrück; on April 22, 1999 at the Universität Bielefeld; and on April 28, 1999 at the Institut für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart.

Roundtable panelist, annual meeting of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association on April  26, 1997 at Vanderbilt School of Law.

"Bad Parents and the Early Modern Civilizing Process," plenary address presented on November 29, 1996 at the annual meeting of the German History Society, London, U.K.

"The First Campaign to Restore Family Values," Phi Alpha Theta public lecture presented on November 7, 1996 at Berry College (GA).

"The Campaign against Child-begging in Late Medieval Early Modern Nuremberg," presented February 17, 1996 at the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference, Tempe; also on November 25, 1996 at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and November 27, 1996 at the University of Essex (England).

"The Origin of the Nuremberg Workhouse," presented October 28, 1995 at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, San Francisco.

Comment on "Discipline in Early Modern Europe I," session on October 28, 1995 at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, San Francisco.

"Good Intentions on the Road to the Nuremberg Workhouse, 1478-1670," presented May 17, 1995 at the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte, Göttingen, Germany.
"'Singing for his Supper': The Domestication of Juvenile Streetsinging in Early Modern Nuremberg," presented May 7, 1995 at the Historischer Arbeitskreis für Dienstboten, Ehe, und Sexualität, Stuttgart, Germany.

"Social Discipline and the Nuremberg Orphanage, 1632-36," presented December 10, 1993, at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, St. Louis.

"`Against the Marriage-Devil':  Protestant and Catholic Prosecution of Adultery in Reformation Germany," presented April 8, 1993, at the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association Conference, Flagstaff.

"Europe: Making Sense of the Other," session chaired on October 9, 1992, at Transatlantic Encounters: The "Discovery" of the New World and the Old, Vanderbilt University.

"The impact of Protestantism and Roman Law on the Marital Property Rights of Women in Sixteenth-Century Germany," presented May 14, 1992, at the Conference on History of Marriage and the Family, Ottawa, Canada.

"Bastardy, Abandonment, and the Early Modern State: The Case of the Baby on the Bush," presented October 18, 1991, at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Philadelphia.

"Hausvater and Landesvater: The Patriarchal Alliance and Its `Restoration' of Marital Order in Sixteenth-Century Germany," presented December 29, 1990, at the American Historical Association National Convention, New York.
"Biblical Models for Protestant Reforms of Marriage and the Family,"  presented October 27, 1990 at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, St. Louis.

"A New Perspective on the Origin and Spread of the European Witchcraze of l400-l700," presented March l6, l990, at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University.

"Wife or Whore: Women, Marriage, and Reputation in Reformation Germany," presented October 7, l989, at the German Studies Association Conference,  Milwaukee.
"Marriage Reform and Early Modern Statebuilding in the Palatinate, l450-l6l9," presented October 28, l988, at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, St. Louis.