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Assistant Professor of History History 402-472-2414 624 Oldfather Hall



Carolyn Twomey (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in Medieval European History in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she specializes in the religious and material history of the Early Middle Ages. After her BA in Medieval & Byzantine Studies and English Literature with a minor in Theology & Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, she pursued an interdisciplinary MA degree in Medieval Studies at the University of York, UK, concentrating in History and Art History. Prof. Twomey completed her PhD research at Boston College, during which time she worked as an archives assistant at the John J. Burns Library, trained at a University of Glasgow archaeological field school, and completed the Apprenticeship in College Teaching program through the Boston College Center for Teaching Excellence. She is currently revising her book project entitled Living Water, Living Stone: A Material History of Baptism in Early Medieval England which examines the places, objects, and things of the sacrament between 600 and 1200 AD, including the history of liturgical handbooks, Roman baptisteries, rivers in the landscape, blessed water and oils of anointing, and the stone baptismal font.

Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the history of cultural and religious change in the premodern world seen through the ritual objects and physical environments of conversion—things and places which communicate identity across time and distance. Other areas of academic interest include water and medieval environmental history, Romanitas and the recycling of stone in early Europe, religious rites and sacred spaces in medieval Christian churches, and saints and gender in the Middle Ages.

In and outside of the classroom, Prof. Twomey makes medieval strangers less strange by engaging students in hands-on learning experiences of the medieval world through metalcasting demonstrations, Viking-Age funeral reenactments, immersive Reacting to the Past gameplay, and handling parchment manuscripts in the Love Library. Students in her courses examine a variety of types of primary and secondary source texts and objects to learn how our narratives of “History” are formed from many diverse, contingent “histories.”

Prior to joining UNL, Prof. Twomey previously taught at Boston College and St Lawrence University in northern New York. Originally from New England, Carolyn developed a love of the outdoors and the power of places & things in public history as a former national park ranger and as a graduate intern at both the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the McMullen Museum of Art. For more on her scholarship and teaching see


Meanings of Water in Early Medieval England, co-edited with Daniel Anlezark, Studies in the Early Middle Ages 47 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2021), 12 contributions

Encounters: Early English History in 50 Objects, co-edited with David A. Petts, Mateusz Fafinski, and Katherine Weikert (London: Taylor & Francis), contracted for 2025


“Region V: Baptisteries of the Insular World,” in Baptisteries of the Early Christian World, edited by Robin Jensen, Nathan Dennis, and Nathan D. Chase (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming). A two-volume international collaborative research project, edited volume, and online catalogue of late antique & medieval baptisteries.

“Baptisms and Baptisteries of Roman Britain and Early Medieval England,” in Baptême et baptistères: regards croisés sur l’initiation chrétienne entre Antiquité Tardive et Moyen Age, edited by Béatrice Caseau, Lucia Orlandi, and Vincent Michel (Milan: Silvana), forthcoming.

“Rivers and Rituals: Baptism in the Early English Landscape,” in Meanings of Water in Early Medieval England, Studies in the Early Middle Ages 47, edited by Carolyn Twomey and Daniel Anlezark (Turnhout: Brepols, 2021), pp. 59-84

“Introduction: Worlds of Water,” in Meanings of Water in Early Medieval England, Studies in the Early Middle Ages 47, edited by Carolyn Twomey and Daniel Anlezark (Turnhout: Brepols, 2021), pp. 13-32. Co-authored with Daniel Anlezark

“Recutting the Cross: The Anglo-Saxon Baptismal Font at Wilne,” in Insular Iconographies: Essays in Honour of Jane Hawkes, edited by Michael D. J. Bintley and Megan Boulton (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, 2019), pp. 7-22

“Baptism and Burial in Stone: Materializing Pastoral Care in Anglo-Norman England,” Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Ancient and Medieval Pasts 7 (2018): 4–36, special issue edited by Robin Fleming and Katherine French. Co-authored with Aleksandra McClain (DOI:

“Romanesque Baptismal Fonts in East Yorkshire Parishes: Decoration and Devotion,” in Devotional Interaction in Medieval England and its Afterlives, edited by Elisa Foster, Julia Perratore, and Stephen Rozenski (Leiden: Brill, 2018), pp. 309-45

“Kings as Catechumens: Royal Conversion Narratives and Easter in Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica,” The Haskins Society Journal 25 (Oct 2014): 1-18

“Nave to Chancel: The Metamorphic Implications of Anglo-Saxon Altar Placement,” Quaestio insularis: Selected Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic 9 (2008): 118–28


2022–23 Johnson Fellow, the Wallace Johnson Program for First Book Authors, Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University

National Endowment for the Humanities, 2020 Summer Seminar Technologies and Cultures of Writing in the Age of Print - SUNY Potsdam, NY

Medieval Academy of America, 2019 Olivia Remie Constable Award

American Historical Association, 2016 Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant

Institute of Historical Research, London, UK, 2014-15 IHR Mellon Dissertation Fellowship

Medieval Academy of America, 2014 John Leyerle-CARA Prize

National Endowment for the Humanities, 2014 Summer Seminar Arts, Architecture, and Devotional Interaction in England, 1200–1600 - York, UK

The Charles Homer Haskins Society, 2012 Denis Bethell Prize


PhD, Boston College
MA, University of York, UK
BA, The Catholic University of America


Early Medieval History

History of Christianity

Water Studies

Material Culture Studies