Associate Professor of History
Phone: (712) 722-6256
I specialize in the history of medieval Europe. I am particularly interested in the intersection of the church, heresy, and crusade in southern France at the turn of the 13th century. That said, I am broadly interested in all areas of history, particularly pre-modern religious history. In my ancient and medieval history classes we attempt to understand how prophets, poets, dramatists, philosophers, and theologians wrestled with the human condition and life's most persistent questions. In these classes we interact with some of the world's most remarkable writers and thinkers. Among them are Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Augustine, and the anonymous medieval poets of Beowulf, Song of Roland, El Cid, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In all of these we find works that are as alive and relevant as the day they were written.
Another area that interests me is "historical memory." This means how various peoples remember certain historical events and eras, and how those "memories" get passed down through the ages and become an "objective" history to them. I consider the issue of "historical memory" in all of my courses to some degree. I am especially interested in "historical memory" in my courses on the crusades and Islamic/Middle Eastern history. In the crusades class we certainly study the crusades in their medieval world, but we also consider how the crusades relate to our own contemporary society and how they are "remembered" today in the West and the Middle East. In my Muslim World class we consider how various Islamic groups view the birth, growth, and development of Islam. In my Modern Middle East class, we examine how certain events acquire significance for various ethnic and tribal peoples, as well as how the past is remembered in such issues as the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Arab Spring, and Arab-Persian-Turkish interactions. We also discuss how radical Muslims think about their own history.
- PhD, Medieval Europe, Saint Louis University (2012)
- MA, Church History, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (2004)
- BA, History, Taylor University (2000)
- Roots of Western Culture and Worldviews (Core 140)
- Ancient History (Hist 220)
- Medieval Europe (Hist 221)
- History of the Muslim World (Hist 212/Core 272)
- The Crusades: History and Memory (Hist 321)
- Modern Middle East (Hist 319)
- Senior Seminar (Hist 388/9)
- "Pierre's Crossing: Violence and Assassination in the South of France," Ecclesia et Violentia: Violence against the Church and Violence within the Church in the Middle Ages, eds. Jacek Maciejewski and Radoslaw Kotecki (forthcoming, 2014)
- "Crucesignatus: A Refinement or One more Term Among Many?" in Crusades: Medieval Worlds in Conflict, eds. Thomas F. Madden, Vincent Ryan, and James Naus (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010)