Faculty Profiles


Melissa Franklin-Harkrider, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History

On Faculty since 2003
Blanchard 205


Dr. Harkrider enjoys teaching students in a variety of fields including European history, religious history, world history, and women's and family history. She has supervised student honors theses and worked with students on a range of independent research projects including studies of nationalism, early modern Ireland, and women's history. Besides her academic interests, she cherishes spending time with her husband Curtis, an optical engineer, and their son Ethan. She and her husband have served together in college ministry through InterVarsity and their local church. Currently, they attend a church in Wheaton where they participate in a small group and in children's ministry. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and walking her dog Jasper, a squirrel-stalking, face-licking dynamo who is particularly fond of college students.

Dr. Harkrider's research focuses on early modern Europe. She is specifically interested in the dynamic and diverse responses of men and women to religious change in sixteenth century England. Her work examines the development of Protestantism among England's governing classes and studies how the process of religious change shaped kinship and patronage relationships in this turbulent period. Her book entitled Women, Reform, and Community in Early Modern England: Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, and Lincolnshire's Godly Aristocracy 1519-1603 was published in March 2008. This monograph examines the intermittent and complex process through which Willoughby, her family, friends, and neighbors embraced reform. It shows how they promoted religious change in their households, local parish churches, and political network,s while also maintaining close relationships with neighbors who held a wide range of religious views. It also demonstrates the importance of gender in the process of spiritual transformation, and shows how the changing religious climate provided new opportunities for women to exert greater influence in their society.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Ph.D., History, 2003

University of Rochester, NY
M.A., History, 1996

Rollins College, FL
B.A., English and History, 1995

  • Women's and Family History
  • Religious Change in Early Modern England
  • European History
  • American Historical Association
  • Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
  • Conference on Faith and History
  • North American Conference on British Studies
  • Renaissance Society of America

'Helping Forwardness': Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, and Reform in Sixteenth Century Lincolnshire
Special Plenary Session. Mid-Atlantic Conference of British Studies, March 2008

Chair and Convener. "Everyday Faith: Belief and Practice in the Christian Tradition"
Conference on Faith and History, September 2006

Panelist and Convener. "Plenary Session: Perspectives on Women's History,"
Conference on Faith and History, September 2006

  • World Civilization
  • Ancient History: The Rise and Fall of Empires
  • Medieval Europe to 1300
  • Renaissance Europe (1300-1700)
  • British History to 1688
  • Men, Women, and Society in Early Modern Europe
  • Religious Change in Early Modern England
  • Women's History
  • Family History