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Memorial for Klemens von Klemperer

Lester Little
Dwight W. Morrow Professor Emeritus of History

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Lester K. Little is Dwight W. Morrow professor emeritus and a senior fellow of the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute at Smith College. He is a former director of the American Academy in Rome, a past president of the Medieval Academy of America, and also a past president of the International Union of Institutes of Archaeology, Art History and History in Rome. From 2000 to 2005 he served on the board of directors of the Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange between Italy and the United States.

A specialist in the social history of religion and religious movements in the European Middle Ages, Professor Little's principal publications include: Nature, Man, and Society: New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West (a translation of M.–D. Chenu, La theologie au 12e siecle) (1968); Religious Poverty and the Profit Economy in Medieval Europe (1978); Liberty, Charity, Fraternity: Lay Religious Confraternities at Bergamo in the Age of the Commune (1988); Benedictine Maledictions: Liturgical Cursing in Romanesque France (1993); and, with Barbara H. Rosenwein, Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings (1998). He edited and contributed the introductory essay to Plague and the End of Antiquity: the Pandemic of 541-750 (2007), a collection of twelve essays on the history, archaeology, and epidemiology of the so-called Plague of Justinian, the first historically-documented pandemic of bubonic plague in history.

His most recent publication is Indispensable immigrants: The wine porters of northern Italy and their saint (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015). In addition to preparing an Italian version of this book, he is working on a comparative study of the identity formation of the Japanese living in the shadow of the Chinese Empire, of the Arabs in that of the Persian and Byzantine Empires, and of the Europeans (Celts and Germans) in that of the Roman Empire.  He is also preparing a lecture on the context of lay piety that gave rise to the widespread interest in and influence of St. Francis of Assisi, to be given at the University of Amsterdam in 2016.