Felice Lifshitz, PhD, MPhil, MA, BA

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Womens & Gender Studies


Professor, Faculty of Arts - Womens & Gender Studies



I am a medieval historian teaching in Women's and Gender Studies. With an undergraduate degree in Medieval Studies, and graduate degrees in History (a field I chose due to my conviction that it comprehends all disciplines), I have been expanding my own knowledge through teaching in extremely broad ways (chronologically, geographically, and multi-disciplinarily) for over 30 years. I also founded and, for many years, directed the Working Group for Pre-Modern Histories and Cultures at Florida International University (Miami, FL), dedicated to the comparative study of the Global Middle Ages. Among other endeavors, we hosted the 2005 annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America in Miami Beach with a focus on that theme.

The majority of my published scholarship is based on and revolves around the study of surviving manuscripts from Christian communities in Medieval western and central Europe. Although many topics have interested me, two are particularly prominent: the construction and representation of the past, and the histories of women and gender. I have particularly cultivated my understanding of these important fields through my teaching, where I have been able to explore the issues in arenas far beyond the world of medieval European Christians. I am happy to supervise students in medieval European Christian cultural studies but also in the study of other periods, places, and cultural communities should they wish to put gender, historical representation, or both at (or near) the center of their inquiry.


 I have previously published extensively on medieval cultural, religious and intellectual history, with a particular focus on saint veneration practices, monastic life and women's history. My current monograph in progress, entitled Projections: Audiovisual Histories of the European Middle Ages, addresses cinema as a mode of historical representation. My most recent publications along these lines are "Epistemology and Representation in Historical Film and Television: How the Gendered Past is Constructed in Knowledge and Representation" (with Siobhan Craig and Carol Donelan), Gender and History 30 (2018): 1 - 25 (in a special issue of the journal which I co-edited), "'A Piece of Cachou called Ivanhoe': Elizabeth Taylor, Medievalist Historical Film, and American Jewish Life,” Journal of Jewish Studies LXX (2019): 375 - 397, and “The Bear Keeper’s Daughter and the Armenian Dwarf: Cinematic Byzantinism in Post-War Europe,” in İstanbul’da Bu Ne Bizantinizm! Popüler Kültürde Bizans/What Byzantinism in İstanbul Is This! Byzantium in Popular Culture, ed. Emir Alışık (Istanbul Research Institute: Istanbul, 2021), pp. 56 – 85.


I have taught a wide variety of European and comparative history courses, but now at the University of Alberta I focus on themes such as (among others) Feminism and Religion, Representations of Girls and Women, Religion and Violence, History of Feminist Thought, Feminism and Historical Film, Histories of Gender, Feminist Historiography, and Spirituality and Social Justice. Although I have not been able to reflect this in the formal course titles, I am committed to a robust inclusion of Womanist perspectives in all of these classes.


I love to travel and, as an act of shameless self-promotion, I will state here that nothing would make me happier than an invitation to speak in a country that I have never visited....and there are a lot of them!


GSJ 502 - Gender Research Workshop

Advanced study of interdisciplinary research on gender and feminist scholarship.

GSJ 508 - Feminist Historiography

Examines contemporary and historical approaches to writing feminist histories of a variety of regions and time periods.

GSJ 598 - Special Topics - Topics in Gender and Social Justice Studies

Special topics will vary.

WGS 101 - Representations of Girls and Women

An exploration of the impact that cultural representations of gender have on the political, economic, and social lives of girls and women throughout the world.

WGS 315 - Histories of Gender

Introduction to a range of practices and ideas concerning women, gender, and kinship that characterized societies and cultures around the globe before the twentieth century. Prerequisite: Any 100 or 200 level WGS course, or consent of department.

WGS 498 - Special Topics

Prerequisite: Any 100 or 200 level WGS course, or departmental consent.

Browse more courses taught by Felice Lifshitz

Featured Publications

Felice Lifshitz

New York. 2023 February;

Felice Lifshitz

New York. 2020 October;

co-editors Siobhan Craig, Carol Donelan and Felice Lifshitz

Special Issue of Gender and History 30.3 (2018)). 2018 January;

Felice Lifshitz and Joseph F. Patrouch

2017 January;

Felice Lifshitz

Quaestiones Medii Aevi Novae (QMAN). 2014 January; 19

Felice Lifshitz

2014 January;

co-edited by Celia Chazelle, Simon Doubleday, Felice Lifshitz and Amy Remensyder

2011 January;