Marci Sortor, Provost and Dean of the College and Professor of History, comes to St. Olaf College after serving Grinnell College for twenty-one years in various capacities, including as Professor of History, Associate Dean of the College, Vice President of Institutional Planning, and interim Vice President for College and Alumni Relations. She received the PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 1988, and held a teaching and research fellowship at Stanford University before moving to the Midwest to join the history faculty at Grinnell College in 1989.
Some of her most recent activities have included implementing an interdisciplinary curricular initiative as part of Grinnell’s strategic plan, leading a planning team and providing final oversight for the construction of the second phase of an athletic and fitness center, working with faculty and staff members on library planning, developing new kinds of teaching spaces for the Humanities and Social Studies, planning for a new preschool psychology laboratory, and budget planning. While serving in administration, she continued to teach and mentor undergraduate research students.
A student of medieval history, she has taught courses on Europe from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. Her research takes her to northern France and Belgium. She has given presentations and published on the economic history of northern European cities, medieval market systems, and immigrants in fifteenth-century cities. Some of her publications include “The Business of Business in the Middle Ages,” “The Measure of Success: Evidence for Immigrant Networks in the Southern Low Countries, Saint-Omer 1413-1455,” “The Ieperleet Affair: The Struggle for Market Position in Late Medieval Flanders,” and “Saint-Omer and Its Textile Trades in the Late Middle Ages: A Contribution to the “Protoindustrialization” Debate.” She has also co-edited with Stanley Chodorow two editions of The Other Side of Western Civilization vol. 1, a collection of readings on European popular culture from antiquity through the Reformation. Her current research project, “Work, Business, and Investments: Economic Networks in a Fifteenth-century City,” entails exploring the intersection of social networks and profitable connections for medieval city dwellers.