Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Nicholas Paul
Associate Professor of History
Office Location: Dealy Hall 610
Phone: (718) 817-3928

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Research Interests

My research concerns the world of the lay nobility in the central Middle Ages, and the intersection between that world and the experience of crusading. Seeking to uncover how shared concepts such as “nobility,” “lordship,” and “lineage” were shaped, and to learn more about how attitudes toward the crusades developed over time among the aristocracy, my past work has touched on topics such as the uses of the past in the formation of the political identity of the nobility and on the uses of literacy by the laity in the early twelfth century.

My first book, To Follow in Their Footsteps: The Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages examines how the crusades became part of the collective memory of medieval noble families in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Drawing on a variety of literary, documentary, narrative, and artistic sources from across medieval Latin Christendom, the book reveals the texts, materials, and rituals through which images and ideas were transmitted among members of certain families.

Together with Suzanne Yeager of Fordham’s English department, I am also the co-editor Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity, a volume of essays that grew out of an international conference hosted at Fordham by the Center for Medieval Studies in 2008.

My current projects include analyses of various local and dynastic chronicles and a study of household clergy and the role of proprietary religious institutions in the operation of the seigneurial regime. I am also a contributing editor for the French of Outremer project website.


At the undergraduate level, I offer courses on the crusades, the medieval nobility, and political and cultural relations between Byzantium and the West. Most years, I teach in the honors program at Rose Hill. In Fall 2012, I will be offering a new interdisciplinary capstone course entitled “World of the Troubadours.”

I have offered graduate courses on the crusades, medieval political culture, and the social and cultural history of the medieval nobility. In Spring, 2013 Suzanne Yeager and I will be teaching a new course entitled “Writing East: Outremer and Identity in the Middle Ages.” 

Selected publications:

“Crusade, Memory and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Amboise,” Journal of Medieval History (2005), 127-141.

“The Chronicle of Fulk le Réchin: a Reassessment,” Haskins Society Journal (2006), 19-35. [Winning paper: Denis Bethell Prize]

“Warlord’s Wisdom: Literacy and Propaganda at the Time of the First Crusade,” Speculum 85 (2010), 534-566.

Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity, co-edited with Suzanne Yeager (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)

To Follow in Their Footsteps: The Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012) [Winner: Medieval Academy of America Book Subvention Award for 2012]

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