About the Hagiography Society


Past Presidents:

Founding President and Historian: Sherry L. Reames, Emerita, University of Wisconsin

Past Officers: Jennifer N. Brown, Mary Morse, Janine Larmon Peterson, Sara Ritchey, Barbara Zimbalist, Nikolas Hoel, Lydia Walker, Anna Harrison, Stephanie Grace-Petinos


The Hagiography Society was founded in North America in 1990 to promote communication among scholars in various disciplines whose research involves the study of textual and visual media pertaining to holy men and women. Although our original emphasis was on medieval Christian saints, we welcome and help to disseminate information about new research on holy people and their cults in all eras, cultures, and religious traditions. By December 1995 our mailing list had grown to include nearly 500 scholars, over 100 of them from Europe and the U.K. and most of the rest from the U.S. and Canada. Since 2016, the Society has published books in the series Sanctity in Global Perspective, which remains dedicated to publishing works that explore the concept of sanctity in ideational, literary, artistic, and sociohistorical dimensions.

Each year the Society publishes three issues of its newsletter. We also maintain an online directory of researchers in hagiography and related fields, which includes bibliographical information on recent publications and a list of works in progress as well as the researchers’ contact information. The Society holds an annual business meeting and organizes several sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, each May.

On the other side of the Atlantic, we have sponsored multiple sessions at the International Medieval Congresses at the University of Leeds in 1994, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2012-2014, held a small international symposium of our own in England in July 1998, and co-sponsored additional symposia with the Dutch society of hagiographers in Groningen in July 2000 and with the Medieval Studies Department of the Central European University in Budapest in June 2004. We collaborated with Hagiotheca to organize and sponsor a symposium on “Saintly Bishops and Bishops’ Saints” in Poreč, Croatia in 2010 and with the AISSCA for a symposium on “Hagiography and Popular Cultures” in Verona, Italy in 2010. In future years we hope to find additional ways of working cooperatively with our colleagues and fellow societies in the U.K., Europe, and elsewhere in the world. We recently achieved affiliated society status with the Renaissance Society of America, the American Academy of Religion, and the Sixteenth Century Society.


Download the Constitution

Groups Affiliated with the Hagiography Society

Renaissance Society of America

American Academy of Religion

Sixteenth Century Society & Conference

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