University of Birmingham Scholar Award, University of Birmingham - Medieval Studies
I am associate professor of History and director of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University in New York, the city where I was born and raised. The period I study, the central Middle Ages (c. 1000-c. 1300 CE), saw the establishment of many structures and institutions that came to play a large role in the history of the premodern world, including Christian holy wars that we call the crusades and new ideas about social class such as hereditary nobility and courtly behaviour. My research concerns the relationship between these phenomena of holy war and social distinction. The Fulbright-University of Birmingham Scholar Award will give me the opportunity to spend time in Europe, in close proximity to the archives and materials of medieval historical research. The University of Birmingham is currently the strongest department for research in History in the United Kingdom, and their staff number many experts in the study of the medieval world and especially the crusades and the Near East. In addition to talking to them about specific research questions, I also hope to use this opportunity to talk about the place of the Middle Ages in contemporary discourse about politics and identity, both in the UK and the US.