James R. Palmitessa

James R. Palmitessa

James R. Palmitessa

Dr. James R. Palmitessa

Dr. James R. Palmitessa
Associate Professor
Ph.D., New York University (1995)
History of Europe, ca. 1400-1800, especially society and religion, urban history, material culture, central Europe

Mailing Address
Department of History
Western Michigan Univeristy
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5334

Office: (269) 387-4640
Email: james.palmitessa@wmich.edu
Fax: (269) 387-4651


4428 Friedmann Hall


I teach undergraduate survey courses in European history and world history; an intermediate-level undergraduate course on Europe during the Age of the Thirty Years War, 1500-1650; upper-level undergraduate courses on the “European Renaissance”; “Reformation and Society”; “Marriage, Family and Sexuality”; and “The European Witch-Hunt”; and graduate courses in “Society and Religion”, “Popular Culture and Everyday Life”, and “Crime, Society, and the Law” during the late Middle Ages and Early Modern period. I have also taught the department’s required graduate courses in “Historiography” and “College Teaching and Professional Activity”; and co-taught the Ethnohistory Seminar (with José António Brandão) and a seminar on “Princes and their Cities in Burgundian and Habsburg Europe” (with James Murray), offered at the Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies in Chicago.


I am interested in the history of central Europe from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries, especially the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, which has been an important region of encounter between different languages, cultures, and societies. An interest in cities led me to my continuing research focus on the Prague cities, bilingual and multi-confessional communities, which, in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, faced the dual challenges of political centralization and religious reform, and became an important Habsburg residential city and cultural center.

Selected Publications

Between Lipany and White Mountain, Essays in Late Medieval and Early Modern Bohemian History in Modern Czech Scholarship, edited, with an introduction and bibliography by James R. Palmitessa (Brill: Leiden, 2014) (News page)

Material Culture and Daily Life in the New City of Prague in the Age of Rudolf II (Krems: Medium Aevum Quotidianum, 1997)

“Několik poznámek k ohlasu Bartolomějské noci v Čechách mimo dvůr Maximiliána II.” [Some Remarks on the Reception of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Bohemia outside of the Court of Maximilian II,] O felix Bohemia! Studie k dějinám české reformace, ed. Petr Hlaváček (Prague: Collegium Europaeum, 2013), 214-223

"Wer besaß die Kirchen und Klöster in Prag vor dem Dreißjährigen Krieg," Konfessionelle Pluralität als Herausforderung. Koexistenz und Konflikt im Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit, Hrsg. von Joachim Bahlcke, Karen Lambrecht & Hans-Christian Maner (Leiziger Universitätsverlag, 2006)

"The Reformation in Bohemia and Poland," A Companion to the Reformation World, ed. R. Po-chia Hsia (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 185-204

"The Successes and Challenges of Teaching World History in the Twenty-First Century: Two Case Studies from Western Michigan,” with Stephen T. Staggs, World History Connected 3/1 (October 2005)

"The Arbitration of Neighborhood Ties and Honor: Building and Property Disputes before the Six-Man Councils of Prague, 1547-1611, The Sixteenth Century Journal XXXIV/1 (Spring 2003):123-45

Professional Activities

I am a member of the American Historical Association, the World History Association, the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, and the German Studies Association.


Department of History
4301 Friedmann Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5334 USA
(269) 387-4650 | (269) 387-4651 Fax