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 world history and western civilization; upper-level undergraduate courses in early modern European history, including the European Renaissance; Reformation; the history of everyday life; marriage, family and sexuality; and the European Witchhunt; and graduate courses in society and religion and popular culture. I have also taught a two-semester series of graduate readings courses in central European history to the eighteenth century, a methodology course on material culture approaches, and the department’s required graduate course in historiography.


I am interested in the history of central Europe from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, especially the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, as an important area of encounter between different languages, religions, culture and societies. An interest in cities led me to my current research focus on Prague, a bilingual and multi-confessional community which was faced in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries with the the dual challenges of political centralization and religion reform, and became an important Habsburg residential city.

Selected Publications

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

"Wer besaß die Kirchen und Klstöer in Prage vor dem Dreibjährigen 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

with Stephen T. Staggs, "The Successes and Challenges of Teaching World History in the Twenty-First Century: Two Case Studies from Western Michigan,"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 (Spring2003):123-45

"The Diffusion or Social Disciplining of Material Culture? The Case of the New City of Prague in the Age of Rudolf II," Disziplinierung im Alltag des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, Hrsg. von G. Jaritz (Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wessenschaften 1999), 121-38

Professional Activities

I am a member of the American Historical Association, the World History Association, the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, the German Studies Association, and the International Society for the Study of Material Culture of the Middle Ages.


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