Doctoral Candidate: The University of Tennessee, 2013
M.A. Education: Wake Forest University, 2007
B.A. History and Music: The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2006.
Field of Study: Medieval and Renaissance
Research Interests: Intellectual culture, Crusade, Reform, Medieval Flanders
Dissertation Title (Working): Two Murders and a Coronation: Crusade and the Counts of Flanders, 1071-1204
Biography: My dissertation traces the development of a collective identity that characterized the counts of Flanders in the twelfth century. I argue that the identity of the Flemish counts came to be bound up in their participation in the crusading movement. This ethos was developed within the context of local interactions. Nobles who held lands from the counts, canons who served in the comital administration, monks whose monasteries commemorated comital deeds, and burghers who sought to win recognition of their own collective rights all played roles in negotiating this identity. Consequently, this project also argues that local conditions were critically important to the development of political ideologies in the Middle Ages.
The questions at the center of my dissertation are largely the result of the influence of my advisor, Dr. Jay Rubenstein, who steered me, gently and wisely, toward medieval Flanders at the end of my second year in the PhD program at UT. My broader academic interests include paleography, the history of the book, ecclesiastical reform, and intellectual culture. The latter have their roots in the time that I spent as an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I cut my teeth on medieval history. My interests in paleography and the history of the book are largely a function of the paleographical training I have had at UT, but they are also outgrowths of the years I spent thinking about pedagogy and books while teaching high school in North Carolina before coming to UT. I am deeply invested in teaching, and enjoy studying (and arguing about) pedagogical questions. I’ve enjoyed being able to serve as a teaching assistant at UT, and also helping to establish the position of departmental writing tutor for the History Department.