Sara Ritchey writes about religion, gender, medicine, and the body in public and academic venues such as The New York Times, Religion Dispatches Magazine, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and elsewhere. Her research interrogates medieval intellectual categories in order to reveal how individuals sorted, valued, and regulated their world. At the same time, she is interested in how such medieval constructions as "nature," "body," and "medicine" continue to resonate in contemporary statements of value and social regulation.
Her most recent book, Acts of Care: Recovering Women in Late Medieval Health, will be available from Cornell University Press in January of 2021. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, Acts of Care explores the healthcare practices of nuns and beguines who lived in Flanders, Brabant, and northern France in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
She is now conducting research for a book on "treating" rituals in northern France, the French Atlantic, and south Louisiana. The Treaters: Traiteurs in Rouen, Pointe-à-Pitre, Grand Coteau uncovers the beliefs and practices of so-called "faith healers" known as traiteurs who combined touch, prayer, herbal preparations, and secret knowledge to establish therapeutic relationships within their communities.
She is an Associate Professor of History and Affiliated Faculty in Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, where she teaches courses on the history of medicine, gender relations in medieval Europe, historical research methods, and European historiography.