History, Philosophy & Religion

Dr. Shelley Wolbrink

Shelley WolbrinkProfessor of History
Director of Medieval Studies Program

Office: Burnham Hall, Room 306
Phone: (417) 873-7387
E-mail: swolbrin@drury.edu
View Office Hours

Dr. Shelley Wolbrink has been a history fanatic since her high school years. In college at Miami University of Ohio, she took over fifty hours of history! Originally from Michigan, Dr. Wolbrink received her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1998.  A professor of History since 1998, she teaches premodern European history for the Department of History. In addition to classes such as Medieval Europe, Renaissance and Reformation, and Women in European History, she offers specialized classes on the Witch-hunts of Early Modern Europe, Joan of Arc: Film and History, and the Black Death. She also teaches Ancient history. Social and cultural history cuts through her classes, as well as penchant for primary sources. Favorites include: The Song of Roland; The Letters of Abelard and Heloise; and Suetonius’ Twelve Caesars.

Dr. Wolbrink’s research focuses on women and monasticism during the twelfth century, particularly the Premonstratensian monasteries of Northwestern Germany.  Archival research was conducted in Cologne and Düsseldorf, Germany. Publications include: “Necessary Priests and Lay Brothers: Male-Female Cooperation in the Premonstratensian Women’s Monasteries of Meer and Füssenich, 1140-1255,” in Partners in Christ: Men, Women, and Religious Life in Germany, 1100 - 1500, ed. by Fiona J. Griffiths and Julie Hotchin (Brepols, 2013) and “Women in the Premonstratensian Order of Northwestern Germany, 1120-1250,” Catholic Historical Review, vol. 89: 3 (July 2003): 387-408. Her essay on the Premonstratensian order appears in Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia (2006). In addition, Dr. Wolbrink served as the editor for the two-volume Dictionary of World Biography: The Middle Ages, 457-1453 (Salem Press, 2005). Encyclopedia entries include: Mary Ward; the Therigatha; Clovis; St. Benedict of Nursia; St. Angela of Foligno; Balthasar Hubmeier; and Pope Boniface VIII.  Conference presentations include The American Historical Association, The International Congress of Medieval Studies, the Conference on the History of Women Religious, the Midwest History Conference, and the Mid-America Conference of History. In 2009, she was invited by St. Norbert’s College and the Institute of Norbertine Studies to serve as convocation speaker during Heritage Days, allowing her to tour a Premonstratensian monastery in Wisconsin and to meet monks, brothers, and lay affiliates dedicated to the history of the order.  To sum up, she is intrigued by religion, the interplay with the past and the present, and gender.

Nothing enlivens history more than a visit to the places where gladiators fought, pharaohs were buried, and saints were revered. Along with her husband Dr. Jeff VanDenBerg, she has led study abroad trips during the summer terms to Greece and Italy, and in the winter terms to Egypt and Morocco. She has taken Drury students to Rome for over a decade, and still remains enthralled with the history and beauty of the Eternal City. Her hobbies include traveling, eating, and keeping up on the Middle Ages in popular culture. Dr. Wolbrink serves as director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program, a fifteen-hour multi-disciplinary minor at Drury. At Drury she has served as chair of the Division of Social Sciences; chair of the Promotion and Tenure committee, and adviser for Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary. Please drop by her office on the third floor of Burnham Hall for history cartoons, research advice, or visual images from the past, including a postcard of the well-preserved body of St. Margherita of Cortona and the Mona Lisa (wearing headphones, of course).

B.A., Miami University (Ohio), 1991
M.A., University of Cincinnati, 1993
Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 1998

Drury University faculty member since 1998
Professor since 2010