Katherine van Liere

Katherine van Liere


  • B.A., History of Ideas, Williams College
  • M.A., History, Cambridge University
  • Ph.D., European History, Princeton University


I love to travel, hike, bicycle, backpack, swim, sail, and kayak. I also enjoy music, cooking, corresponding with old friends, practicing foreign languages (especially Spanish and Dutch), and reading.

Academic interests

Kate van Liere's interests include early modern European cultural and religious history; Renaissance humanism; history of scholarship; historiography;  history of Spain; and museums and public history. Her current research focuses on the writing of national history and “sacred history” (stories of saints, miracles, and other religious phenomena) in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain.

Kate van Liere has also taught Spanish 308 and Dutch 102 at Calvin. She directs the history department's internship program and serves as a board member of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council. She co-directed the Semester in Britain program in 2009 and 2019, along with her husband Frans van Liere.

Read Kate van Liere's posts on Historical Horizons, the history department blog

Research and scholarship

In July 2016, Kate van Liere co-directed an NEH Summer Institute at Calvin, along with the Meeter Center's Karin Maag, on "Teaching the Reformation after Five Hundred Years." 

She was on sabbatical leave in Princeton, New Jersey for the 2012-2013 academic year, researching and writing a book on the Spanish historian Ambrosio de Morales and the development of humanist scholarship, Christian thought, and history writing in sixteenth-century Spain.


Articles and Book Chapters
  • "Nuestros españoles: The first Spaniards and the first Habsburg chronicler,” in Gen Liang and Jarbel Rodríguez, eds., Authority and Spectacle in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2017).
  • “Renaissance Chroniclers and the Apostolic Origins of Spanish Christianity.” In Sacred History: Uses of the Christian Past in the Renaissance World, edited by Katherine van Liere, Simon Ditchfield, and Howard Louthan. Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • “Shared Studies Foster Friendship: Humanism and History in Spain,” in John Jeffries Martin, ed., The Renaissance World. New York and London: Routledge, 2007: 242-261.
  • “The Moorslayer and the Missionary: James the Apostle in Spanish Historiography from Isidore of Seville to Ambrosio de Morales.” Viator 37 (2006). (Winner of the 2007 Bishko Prize from the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies for the best article on medieval Iberian history.)
  • Epistolae familiares in Sixteenth-Century Spain: Three Recent Letter Collections in Literary and Historical Context.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition (Spring 2006).
  • “Catholic Reform of the Divine Office in the Sixteenth Century: The Breviary of Cardinal Francisco de Quiñones.” In Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice, edited by Karin Maag and John D. Witvliet, 162-199. University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.
  • “After Nebrija: Academic Reformers and the Teaching of Latin in Sixteenth-Century Salamanca.” Sixteenth Century Journal, 34, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 1065-1105.
  • “Humanism and Scholasticism in Sixteenth-century Academe: Five Student Orations from the University of Salamanca.” Renaissance Quarterly 53, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 57-107.
  • “Vitoria, Cajetan, and the Conciliarists.” Journal of the History of Ideas 58 (Oct. 1997): 597-616.
Encyclopedia Articles
  • “Ambrosio de Morales.” Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Marco Sgarbi (New York: Springer), forthcoming 2017.
  • History.” Vocabulary for the Study of Religion, ed. Robert A. Segal & Kocku von Stuckrad (Leiden: Brill, 2015).
  • “Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva.”In Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, edited by Paul F. Grendler, et al. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1999.
  • “Francisco de Vitoria,” Ibid.
  • “University of Salamanca,” Ibid.
  • “Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda,” Ibid.
Book Reviews
  • Review of Katrina Olds, Forging the Past: Invented Histories in Counter-Reformation Spain. In Bulletin of Spanish Studies (forthcoming 2016). 
  • Review of Rebecca Ard Boone, Mercurino di Gattinara and the Creation of the Spanish Empire. In Bulletin of Spanish Studies 93:2 (2016).
  • Review of Alexandra Bamji, et al., ed., The Ashgate Research Companion to the Counter-Reformation. In Calvin Theological Journal 49:2 (November, 2014): 329-32.
  • Review of Miguel Morán Turina, La memoria de las piedras: Anticuarios, arqueólogos y colleccionistas de antigüedades en la España de los Austrias, in Bulletin of Spanish Studies 90:2 (2013): 269-70.
  • Review of Henry Kamen, The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance, in Bulletin of Spanish Studies 89 (2012), 133-5. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14753820.2012.646814
  • Review of Alister Chapman, John Coffey and Brad Gregory, eds., Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and the Return of Religion, in Journal of Early Modern History 15 (2011), 461-5. http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/10.1163/157006511x590767
  • Review of Richard L. Kagan, Clio and the Crown: The Politics of History in Medieval and Early Modern Spain, in American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain newsletter (Winter 2010).
  • Review of Harald E. Braun, Juan de Mariana and Early Modern Spanish Political Thought, in Bulletin of Spanish Studies 87:4 (2010), 550-552. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ftinterface~db=all~content=a922234612~fulltext=713240930
  • Review of Patricia E. Grieve, The Eve of Spain: Myths of Origins in the History of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Conflict, in ASPHS Bulletin (online) 34 (2009), 21-22.
  • Review of Fernando de los Ríos, Religión y estado en la España del siglo XVI, in Bulletin of Spanish Studies 86 (2009), 391-392. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/section?content=a911462649&fulltext=713240928
  • Review of A. Katie Harris, From Muslim to Christian Granada: Inventing a City’s Past in Early Modern
    , in Renaissance Quarterly 61 (2008), 170-2.
  • Fernando Bouza, Communication, Knowledge, and Memory in Early Modern Spain, for Sixteenth Century Journal (Winter 2005).
  • Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Obras Completas, VII: Antiapología en Defensa de Alberto Pío, Príncipe de Carpi, frente a Erasmo de Rótterdam and Comentario sobre la reforma del año y de los mese romanos and Exhortación a Carlos V for Sixteenth Century Journal (Winter 2005).
  • Gary K. Waite, Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, for Mennonite Quarterly Review 79 (online) (July 2005).
  • Anthony Pagden, ed., The Idea of Europe from Antiquity to the European Union, in The Medieval Review (on-line), 1/19/2004
  • “A Golden Age of Religious Tolerance?”: Review of María Rosa Menocal, The Ornament of the World for Books and Culture: Book of the Week (on-line), August 11, 2003.
  • Lu Ann Homza, Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance, for History of Religions 4: 3 (February 2003): 269-270. Review of same in Bulletin of the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, XXVI, no. 3 (2001-2): 19-21.
  • Ronald Truman, Spanish Treatises on Government, Society and Religion in the Time of Philip II, for Renaissance Quarterly 54, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 282-4.
  • William R. Blue, Spanish Comedy and Historical Contexts in the 1620s, for Sixteenth Century Journal 28 (1997): 1428-30.
  • Richard Kagan and Geoffrey Parker, eds., Spain, Europe, and the Atlantic World, for Bulletin of the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies 21, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 22-25.
Papers Presented
  • Nuestros Españoles: Hispanic Identity in the Habsburg Historical Imagination.” American Historical Association, New York City, 4 January 2015.
  • “Images of kings and kingship in the Habsburgs’ first royal chronicler, Florián de Ocampo.” Renaissance Society of America, New York City, 28 March 2014.
  • “Habsburg historian as Renaissance moralist: Ambrosio de Morales and humanist pedagogy.” Association for for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, Albuquerque, N.M., 5 April 2013.
  • “Believers and unbelievers in Spanish historiography: the homo hispanus in the historical imagination.” Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton, N.J., 15 February 2013.
  • “Christian saints in pagan Hispania.” Patristic and Medieval Conference, Villanova University, 21 October 2011.
  • “Ambrosio de Morales and the origins of Spanish Renaissance sacred historiography.” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Montreal, Canada, 14 October 2010.
  • “Reimagining the Origins of Spanish Christianity.” CCCS/Notre Dame symposium: Historia Sacra: Visions of Christian Origins in the Renaissance World. Notre Dame London Centre, 11 June 2010. (Planned and co-hosted full 3-day colloquium.)
  • “The early Spanish saints in Ambrosio de Morales’s Coronica General de España.” 34th Annual Patristic and Medieval Conference, Villanova University (PA), 18 October 2009.

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