Matthew Wranovix, Ph.D.

Matthew Wranovix Headshot
Director of Honors Program

Division of Humanties and Social Sciences - History
College of Arts & Sciences

Ph.D., Yale University, History
Dissertation Title: “Parish Priests and their Books: Reading, Writing, and Keeping Accounts in the Late Medieval Diocese of Eichstätt”

M.Phil., Yale University

M.A., Yale University

B.A., Rice University, History

About Matthew

I am a historian of medieval and early modern Europe who specializes in the history of religion, but more broadly speaking I am interested in the circulation, reception, and transformation of ideas. I have written, for example, on clerical education, the circulation of books, and the construction of personal and institutional libraries by members of the secular clergy in fifteenth-century Germany as well as on the legend of the Magi, the wise men from the East who make a brief, tantalizing appearance in the Gospel of Matthew. Recently I have begun to explore medieval attitudes towards games of chance and games of skill in literature, law, and art.

At the University of New Haven I serve as both the Honors Program Director and as a Lecturer in the department of History. I teach courses that stress the history of ideas; for example, I have taught a course about how Greek, Roman, and medieval ideas affected the expectations and behavior of Christopher Columbus and another that traced concepts of crime and punishment from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Enlightenment. I also use Reacting to the Past’s innovative pedagogy, which transforms the classroom into an elaborate, historically rigorous role-playing game. The immersive, competitive environment fostered by this method encourages students to engage with big ideas and classic historical texts in a new way. 

Academic Honors and Awards

Hans Gatzke Prize for outstanding dissertation in European History (May 2008)

University Dissertation Fellowship (Yale University, 2005/06)

Fulbright Grant Recipient (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany, 2004/05)

University Teaching Fellowship (Yale University, 2003/04; 2006/07)

Medieval Studies M. Phil. Fellowship (Yale University, 2002/03)

Yale University Graduate School Fellowship (Yale University, 1999-2001)

Phi Beta Kappa (Rice University, 1999)

Honors Program (Department of History, Rice University, 1998)


Tempting Fate: Using a Card Game to Teach Students about the Black Death,
"The Once and Future Classroom" 11.1 (Spring 2013).

"Ulrich Pfeffel's Library: Parish Priests, Preachers, and Books in the Fifteenth Century," Speculum 87.4 (2012), 1125-1155. 

“The Three Kings of Cologne,” in The Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage, Larissa J. Taylor et al, eds. (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 355-356.

Review of Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum, Band VI: Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Sixtus’ IV. vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des Deutschen Reiches, 1471-1484, Ludwig Schmugge, ed. (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2005), Sixteenth Century Journal 38.3 (2007): 852-854.

“A Fragment of the Institutio Canonicorum Promulgated by the Council of Aachen in 816,” in New Studies on Yale Manuscripts from the Late Antique to the Early Modern Period, Robert G. Babcock, ed., Yale University Library Gazette, Occasional Supplement 7 (New Haven, CT: The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 2005), 37-44. 


"Teaching Historical Thinking Using Board Games" PCA-ACA International Conference, Iceland (2015) 

"In Praise of Scribes? Copying Texts in the Fifteenth-Century Parish," The New England Medieval Conference (2014) 

“Transmission and Selection: Educating the Parish Clergy in Late Medieval Germany,” Transmission, Selection and Dissemination in the European Middle Ages, 1000-1500, University College Cork, Ireland (2012) 

“Bureaucrats or Bumpkins? The Parish Clergy in Pre-Reformation Germany,” Plymouth State Medieval and Renaissance Forum (4/21/12)

“Tempting Fate: Using a Card Game to Teach Students about the Black Death,” Plymouth State Medieval and Renaissance Forum (4/21/12)

“Playing with History: The Use of Conflict-Simulation Board Games in the Classroom,” Creativity, Play and the Imagination across the Disciplines, Teachers’ College, Columbia University (5/26/11)

“The Definition of Insanity? Bishops, Priests and the Circulation of Diocesan Statutes in the Middle Ages,” 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (5/13/2010)

“Structuring Circulation: Bishops, Priests, and Pastoral Literature in Fifteenth-Century Germany,” 31st International Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference, Villanova University (10/13/06)

“Ulrich Pfeffel’s Library: Priests, Preachers, and their Books in Late Medieval Germany,” 41st International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (5/4/06)

“Politics and Reform on the Eve of the Reformation,” American Society for Church History Annual Meeting, Philadelphia (1/6/06)

“Parish Priests and their Books in the Fifteenth-Century Diocese of Eichstätt,” German Historical Institute’s Medieval History Seminar, Venice, Italy (10/20/05)

“Pfarrer und Gemeinde im Bistum Eichstätt: Quellenlage und Fragestellung,” guest lecture, Doktorandkolloquium, Universität Leipzig (June, 2005)

“Pfarrer und Gemeinde im Bistum Eichstätt: Quellenlage und Fragestellung,” guest lecture, Doktorandkolloquium, Universität Mainz (5/10/05)

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