2013 John Lax Memorial Lecture

From Wine Delivery Man to Saint: The Story of Alberto
A lecture by Lester Little, Dwight W. Morrow Professor Emeritus of History, Smith College
Thursday, October 17, 2013, 4:15pm
New York Room, Mary Woolley Hall 

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 (2006), 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.

He currently has in preparation at Manchester University Press a book titled Indispensable Immigrants: The Wine Porters of Northern Italy and Their Saint (1200-1800).

The John Lax Memorial Lecture was endowed in 1982 by professors Peter and the late Anneli Lax of New York University’s mathematics department, in memory of their son, John, a historian who taught at Mount Holyoke in the mid-1970s.  After John Lax’s premature death, his parents created a permanent memorial in the form of this annual lecture.  The Lax Lecture is given by a historian of the highest distinction to commemorate the work and spirit of John Lax by making the latest advances in history accessible to the public.