The modern world has been built on self-conscious rejections of religious Byzantine and medieval pasts, and narratives of progression from the age of Renaissance and Reformation to the glories of the Enlightenment, the triumph of free-market capitalism and liberal democratic secularism. To understand this history, and to reframe it through dynamic reinterpretations of the medieval and early modern past, is the purpose of the Medieval and Early Modern program of ACU's Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry.

The program currently enjoys strengths in late medieval and early modern Italy and the Low Countries, late medieval and early modern Central Europe, early modern France, the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman world, and the history of the papacy, the cultures of time, religious violence, theology and literature, women's spirituality, popular religion, politics, and theology.

Under the leadership of the new Director of MEMS, Professor Megan Cassidy-Welch, the program aims to develop additional strengths in the following topical areas: the body and its senses (including emotions), music and sound, material and visual cultures, cultural exchange, philosophy and theology, law, classical and late antique receptions, and the physical environments and the temporalities that conditioned all these things.

Study with us

The Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry's MEMS programme is Australia’s fastest expanding centre for the study of the premodern world. If you are interested in pursuing the PhD or MPhil in IRCI’s MEMS program, please email Professor Megan Cassidy-Welch

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MEMS seminar series

The Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program at IRCI hosts a monthly seminar, ordinarily on the third Thursday of each month. Seminars showcase outstanding work from around Australia and the world on a wide range topics, such as conspiracy theory, political choice-making, imagination in art, disaster, plague, time, and moral invective, from early medieval Ireland through Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment to the present.

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Current Projects

Religious Mobilities: Europe and the Medieval and Early Modern World

A collaborative, international, five-year investigation of the chronology and character of movement within the traditions, structures, social groups, identities, and practices that comprised Christianity within Europe, their connections and relationships with varieties of Judaism and Islam in and around Europe, and colonial interactions of Europeans with non-European Christianities and religions.

View the Religious Mobilities: Europe and the Medieval and Early Modern World project page

Our research team

Our global and multidisciplinary team of scholars are experts in the fields of philosophy, religion, and theology.

Meet our team


Other programs

Biblical and early Christian studies

A major focus of research in this program is the extent to which different strands of early Christianity aimed to define themselves in relation to Jewish and Greco-Roman religious, philosophical, rhetorical, social, and cultural heritages.

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History of Emotions

ACU’s Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions approaches emotions studies from the perspective of religion, philosophy, history, health humanities and literature from antiquity to today.

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Religion and theology

The Religion and Theology program supports constructive work in the study of religion that incorporates a wide range of methodologies. The program includes scholarship in religious studies that draws upon religious thought in order to address issues of widespread concern.

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ACU Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Mailing address

C/- 115 Victoria Pde
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065.