Spirituality and Monasticism, East and West

Spirituality and Monasticism, East and West explores the everyday life of monastic individuals and the collective experience of religious communities and it focuses on the nature of asceticism and monasticism rather than monastic institutions, patronage, or property. The series is a home for research on both Western and Eastern Christian communities and also welcomes submissions exploring non-Christian traditions during the period 500-1500 CE.

The series is particularly keen to host research into Sufi orders or lodges, the life of Buddhist, Hindu or Daoist monasteries, and the monasteries of the Eastern Christian churches, including the Nestorian church, as well as new research into spiritual and monastic life in the Roman church. It also welcomes research into gendered differences in spirituality during this period as well as different forms of ascetic practice.

Geographical Scope

Eurasia, where religious communities exist

Chronological Scope

500-1500 CE


Buddhist temples, Desert Fathers, Eastern Christian communities, Western monasticism, Sufism, ascetic practice, female spirituality

Editorial Contact

Titles in Production or Contracted

Ekaterini Mitsiou (University of Vienna), Female Monastic Networks in Late Byzantium: Textual, Spatial and Cultural Entanglements

Laura Cayrol-Bernardo (CRH-EHESS, Paris) and Mercedes Pérez-Vidal (Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf), Women Religious between Cloister and the World

Darlene Lynn Brooks Hedstrom (Wittenberg University), Feeding Asceticism in Byzantine Monasteries: The Archaeology of Monastic Cooking

Mary Ellen Rowe (University of Central Missouri), Women, Spiritual Power, and the Early Anglo-Saxon Church

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Editorial Board

Anne E. Lester

Professor Lester specializes in the social and religious history of Europe during the High Middle Ages (1000-1400). She received her A.B. (Classics and History) from Brown University (1996) and her Ph.D. (History) from Princeton University (2003). She studied at Mansfield College, Oxford University (1994/95) and at the École normale supérieure in Paris (2000/01). Her first book, Creating Cistercian Nuns: The Women’s Religious Movement and Its Reform in Thirteenth-Century Champagne (Cornell UP 2011) won the SMFS best first book award. Lester teaches courses on medieval religion and society, the crusades, English legal history, and women and gender in the pre-modern world. She has published on the institutionalization of charity, the meaning of space and the development of urban networks, and relics and devotion in France and Flanders during the Middle Ages. She is the co-editor of Cities, Texts, and Social Networks (2010) and Center and Periphery: Studies on Power in the Medieval World in Honor of William Chester Jordan (2013). Her research has been supported by several fellowships including: a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Medieval Institute at University of Notre Dame (2004/5), Membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ (2012) and an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship (awarded 2011/held 2013). Her new research focuses on the material history of devotion during the period of the crusades. She is currently writing two books: Fragments of Devotion: Relics and Remembrance in the Time of the Fourth Crusade and a general synthesis entitled Medieval Europe: A World Without Empire (for Yale UP).


Bio and Image from: http://www.colorado.edu/history/anne-e-lester

Massimo ("Max") Rondolino

Dr. Rondolino was born in Italy where he grew up between his family’s vineyard and his grandparent’s alpine village. After obtaining his degree in philosophy, he left for Nepal and India where, over the period of two years, he worked on different educational projects. After a brief period living in Belgium, he moved to the U.K. where he worked as a translator in London and then as a customer service manager for CISCO in Belfast. Dr. Rondolindo eventually returned to university, completing a master in Buddhist Studies and a doctorate in Comparative Religions at the University of Bristol. He has been living in the U.S.A. since 2012, and joined Carroll University in 2013.


Bio and Image from: https://www.carrollu.edu/faculty/rondolino-massimo-a-phd

Darlene Brooks Hedstrom

Dr. Brooks Hedstrom is currently working on three book projects, Feeding Asceticism: The Archaeology of Monastic Cooking in the Byzantine East (in this series); The Desert Fathers for the Past Imperfect series at Arc Humanities; and The Archaeology of an Early Medieval Residence at the Monastery of John the Little (Yale Egyptological Series). After nearly ten years of fieldwork, Dr. Brooks Hedstrom is preparing a volume on a 25-roomed residence from the ninth and tenth centuries for the Yale Monastery Archaeology Project North as the Senior Archaeological Consultant.


Bio and Image from: https://www.wittenberg.edu/academics/hist/facultystaff/brookshedstrom.html

Mario Poceski

Dr. Poceski’s main interests are in Chinese Buddhist history, literature, and doctrine, especially during the Tang era (618–907). His other research and teaching focuses on Chan/Zen Buddhism , the history of Chinese religions, Japanese and Korean Buddhism, religious pluralism, monastic cultures and institutions, Buddhist doctrines, Buddhism and globalisation, contemplative life and practice, and Chinese history more broadly.

He received a PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures, with specialization in Buddhist studies, from the University of California, Los Angeles (2000). He has spent extended periods as a visiting researcher at Komazawa University (Japan), Stanford University, the National University of Singapore, the University of Hamburg (Germany), and Fudan University (China), and has received several prestigious fellowships, including an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship. Prof. Poceski’s most recent books are Communities of Memory and Interpretation: Reimagining and Reinventing the Past in East Asian Buddhism (Hamburg, 2017, ed.), The Records of Mazu and the Making of Classical Chan Literature (Oxford 2015), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to East and Inner Asian Buddhism (Blackwell 2014, ed.), Introducing Chinese Religions (Routledge 2009), and Ordinary Mind as the Way: The Hongzhou School and the Growth of Chan Buddhism (Oxford 2007). His publications also include two other books and numerous articles and chapters on various aspects of Buddhist studies.


Bio and Image from: https://people.clas.ufl.edu/mpoceski/