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Nicholas Paul

Nicholas Paul

Associate Professor of History and Director, Center for Medieval Studies
Email: [email protected]
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

I am an historian of political culture in the central Middle Ages (c. 1000-c. 1300). To date, my research has concerned the lay aristocracies of this period, and the intersection between European aristocratic culture and the phenomenon of crusading. Seeking to uncover how shared concepts, such as nobility, lordship, and lineage were shaped, and to learn more about how attitudes toward crusading developed over time among the aristocracy, my work deals with topics such as literacy, material culture, and the uses of the past. 

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. In 2016, the book was co-winner of the John Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America. 

My current research concerns the place of the crusades within aristocratic performance culture. Provisionally entitled, Theaters of War: Status, Power, and Performance on the Crusading Frontier, my current book project was supported by a Fulbright-University of Birmingham US-UK Fulbright Scholar Award in 2019-2020. 

I have collaborated widely with his Fordham colleagues, acting as co-editor, with Suzanne Yeager, of Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) and, with Laura Morreale, of The French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Crusading Mediterranean (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018). Together with Andrew Albin, Mary Erler, Thomas O'Donnell and Nina Rowe, he is the editor of Whose Middle Ages? Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019). The first two volumes emerged from Fordham conferences held in 2008 and 2014, respectively Most recently, together with History department colleague Wolfgang Mueller he has completed a the first ever edition and translation of the thirteenth-century  Latin narrative How the Holy Cross Was Brought from Antioch to the Monastery of Brogne. 

Digital Humanities Projects

Paul is the founder and supervising scholar of several of the digital humanities initiatives of the Center for Medieval Studies, including the French of Outremer website, the Oxford Outremer Map, the Independent Crusaders Project, the Siege of Antioch Project, and the Outremer Legal Texts Working Group.  


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


The French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Crusading Mediterranean, co-ed with L. Morreale (Fordham University Press, 2018) 

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

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


"Writing the Knight, Staging the Crusader: Manasses of Hierges and the Monks of Brogne," in Knighthood and Society in the High Middle Ages, ed. D. Crouch and J. Deploige (Leuven University Press, 2020), 167-191. 

"An Angevin Imperial Context for the Amboise-Anjou Narrative Programme," Anglo-Norman Studies XLI (2019), 103-118

"Possession: Sacred Crusading Treasure in the Material Vernacular," Material Religion 14:4  (2018) [Special Issue: Material Religion in the Crusading World], 520-532

"The Fruits of Penitence and the Laurels of the Cross: the Poetics of Crusade and Conquest in the Memorials of Santa Maria de Ripoll," in Crusading at the Edge: Ideas and Practice of Crusading in Iberia and the Baltic Region, 1100-1500, ed.  T.K. Nielsen and I. Fonnesberg-Schmidt (Brepols, 2016), 245-273

Origo Consulum: Rumors of Murder, A Crisis of Lordship, and the Legendary Origins of the Counts of Anjou,” French History 29:2 (2015), 139-160

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. A. Lester and M. Cassidy-Welch], 292-310.

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

For a full list of publications, see my profile on

Curriculum Vitae