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Nicholas Paul

Nicholas Paul

Associate Professor of History
Office: Dealy Hall 610
Phone: 718-817-3928


Cambridge University, 2001-2005: Ph.D. in History
Cambridge University, 1999-2000: M.Phil. in Medieval History
Davidson College, 1995-1999: B.A. in Medieval Studies (Honors)

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 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012) 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. Reviews of the book have appeared in a number of venues, including Speculum: a Journal of Medieval Studies, The American Historical Review, and the Times Literary Supplement.

Together with Suzanne Yeager of Fordham’s English department, I am also the co-editor Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), a volume of essays that grew out of an international conference hosted at Fordham by the Center for Medieval Studies in 2008. You can read reviews of this collection in The American Historical Review and The Catholic Historical Review.

My current project focuses on the function of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem as a performative space for medieval European elites in the later twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A central part of this project is an edition, translation, and commentary on the textual traditions surrounding Manasses of Hierges (d. 1176), who spent ten years in the Latin Kingdom in the mid-twelfth century.

Together with Laura K. Morreale, Associate Director of Medieval Studies, I am currently working to publish essays related to our 2014 international conference entitled The French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Crusading Mediterranean.

Digital Humanities Projects

I am closely involved with the projects of the French of Outremer digital humanities initiatives of the Center for Medieval Studies. In addition to acting as contributing editor for the French of Outremer website, I am also the supervising scholar and co-founder of the Oxford Outremer Map and an editor and collaborator in the Legal Texts Working Group, leading the project to digitize and translate the text of the Livre of James of Ibelin, a legal treatise from thirteenth-century Cyprus.


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. I also offer an interdisciplinary course on the “World of the Troubadours" which places the evolution of Occitan lyric poetry into the context of the political narrative of the rise and fall of southern France as a distinct political space in the central Middle Ages. Students in my undergraduate classes are encouraged to pursue research projects that we craft collaboratively and to give voice to the medieval world through creative writing and staged debates.

At the graduate level I complement the diverse strengths in Medieval History at Fordham as the historian of political and elite culture and as a historian of the crusades. In my classes, students are encouraged to look beyond the great political events of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to interrogate the social structures and cultural discourses of power and authority that lay behind them. Courses that I regularly teach follow themes, such as the Crusades, or Noble Culture and Society, but they also interrogate places like the Angevin Empire and the Crusader States. These courses, in turn, connect with broader themes in teaching within the Center for Medieval Studies, and have also been timed to correspond with the Fordham's annual international conferences on Medieval Studies. Students in my graduate courses are rigorously trained to interrogate primary source materials while becoming fluent in the current scholarship in their chosen areas of study. Many go on to present the findings of their research at academic conferences, some proceeding further to publish their work in leading journals in the field. Students I have taught at the MA level have gone on to pursue doctoral studies at Fordham, Northwestern, Yale, NYU, Princeton. Others are using their skills as historians and medievalists in a wide variety of fields. My current doctoral students pursue research related to historical writing, politics, and intellectual culture in twelfth century Normandy, and to the aristocracy of the crusader states.

I encourage students interested in pursuing doctoral work with me to get in touch via email.

Courses Taught

HPRU 3015 - Medieval History
HIST 3270 - The Crusades
HIST 3011 - Byzantium and the West
HIST 3994 - World of the Troubadours
HIST 6065 - The Crusades
HIST 6078 - The Crusader States
HSGA 6076 - Noble Culture and Society
HSGA 6077 - The Angevin Empire
HSGA 8056 - Proseminar: Medieval Political Cultures

Selected Publications


To Follow in Their Footsteps: Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 2012)


Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity, co-ed. with S. Yeager (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)



“Origo Consulum: Rumors of Murder, A Crisis of Lordship, and the Legendary Origins of the Counts of Anjou,” French History (2015)

In Search of the Marshal’s Lost Crusade: The Persistence of Memory, the Problems of History, and the Painful Birth of Crusading Romance,” Journal of Medieval History 40:3 (2014) [Special Issue: Crusades and Memory, ed. Anne Lester and Megan Cassidy-Welch], pp. 292-310.

"Warlord's Wisdom: Literacy and Propaganda at the Time of the First Crusade," Speculum 85:3 (2010), 534-566.

Crusade, Memory and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Amboise,” Journal of Medieval History 31:2 (2005), 127-141

For a full list of publications, see my profile on

Curriculum Vitae