Katie Bugyis


Co-Coordinator, Radical Thinking in Religious Contexts: Medieval Women, Epistemic Authority, and Philosophy as a Way of Life 

Katie Bugyis is a historian of Christian theology, liturgical practice, and material culture, who is particularly interested in reconstructing the lived experiences of religious women in the Middle Ages through their documents of practice and other material remains. Her first book, The Care of Nuns: Benedictine Women’s Ministries in England during the Central Middle Ages (Oxford University Press, 2019), recovers the liturgical practices of Benedictine nuns in England from 900 to 1225 primarily through detailed analyses of the books their communities produced and used. Integrating methodological approaches yet to be employed in the study of these women—from ritual studies to manuscript archaeology—she demonstrates that they actively participated in the organization, performance, and memorialization of their liturgical practices, including public teaching and preaching, reading the gospel liturgically, hearing confessions, and offering intercessory prayers for others.

Bugyis is currently working on two other book projects. The first, Sainting the Abbesses of Barking: Goscelin, Alfgifu, and their Legacy, with Stephanie Hollis and Michael Wright, presents English translations of and interpretative essays on the most significant and extensive collection of original saints’ Lives, liturgical texts, and chronicled events assembled for a community of religious women in England during the Middle Ages: the dossier of texts that the Flemish monk, Goscelin of Saint-Bertin, composed in the late eleventh century for the community of  Benedictine nuns at Barking Abbey at the behest of the reigning abbess, Alfgifu.

Bugyis’s second project, Hives of Prophets: Women Religious and the Honeybee in the Middle Ages, documents and analyzes the appropriation of the figure of the honeybee by religious women from across Western Europe during the Middle Ages for the authorization of their prophetic speech acts, liturgical and pastoral ministries, and circumvention of clerical control.

Bugyis has published numerous book chapters and articles, in such journals as Speculum, Traditio, Church History, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, and Journal of Medieval History. She also has coedited two volumes, Women Intellectuals and Leaders in the Middle Ages (D.S.  Brewer, 2020) and Medieval Cantors and Their Craft: Music, Liturgy, and the Shaping of History (York Medieval Press, 2017). Her research has won fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Medieval Academy of America, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.