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.