When Pope Urban II gave a sermon in November 1095 about the “Holy Land,” he began the almost two-century-long military campaigns that we now know as the Crusades. Many medieval popes sanctioned the Crusades against “enemies of Christendom.” As they sought control and territory, Crusaders massacred Jewish communities in France and Germany. These actions and rhetoric fueled widespread antisemitism, including specific conspiracies like blood libel.
Suzanne M. Yeager, Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Fordham University, Nicholas Paul, Director of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University, and Robert Chazan, S H and Helen Scheuer Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University, will delve into the history of the Crusades and their impact on historical and modern antisemitism in discussion with Paola Tartakoff, Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.
Suzanne M. Yeageris Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Fordham University, and was educated at Oxford University and the University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies. Her research focuses on social identity and community formation, including constructions of race and memory in medieval literature and history. Her teaching interests explore a range of topics from Chaucer to Mandeville, as well as premodern adaptation, multicultural encounter, crusade poetry, romance and chronicle, and pilgrim cultures. Dr. Yeager’s monograph, Jerusalem in Medieval Narrative(Cambridge, 2008), examines fourteenth-century literatures of medieval England which strengthened that region’s associations with Jerusalem, creating an authoritative presence during the Hundred Years War. The volume which she co-edited, Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image and Identity, examines memorial theories of writing and their influence on crusade narratives and the societies that produced them. Dr. Yeager has published articles on Chaucerian texts, Jewish identities in 14th century England, scriptural exegesis, medieval travel, and postcoloniality. She is currently at work on a new project exploring affective modes of performance and pilgrim travel in medieval texts.
Nicholas Paul received a BA in Medieval Studies from Davidson College and an M.Phil in Medieval History and PhD in History from Cambridge University. He is currently Associate Professor of History and Director of Medieval Studies at Fordham University in New York City, where he teaches and directs graduate research on topics related to the crusades and political culture in the medieval world. His first book, To Follow in Their Footsteps: the Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages (Cornell, 2012) was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America. He has also published (with Suzanne Yeager) Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity (Johns Hopkins 2012); (with Laura Morreale) French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Medieval Mediterranean (Fordham, 2018); (with Andrew Albin, Mary Erler, Nina Rowe, and Thomas O’Donnell) Whose Middle Ages? Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past (Fordham, 2019) and (with Wolfgang Mueller) How the Holy Cross Was Brought from Antioch to the Monastery of Brogne (Boydell & Brewer, forthcoming).
Robert Chazan is S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Professor of Jewish History in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. His books includeGod, Humanity, and History: The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives (2000), The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom (Cambridge University Press, 2006), and Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Paola Tartakoff is Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, where she is chair of the Department of Jewish Studies. She is the author of two books about Jewish-Christian relations during the Middle Ages: Between Christian and Jew: Conversion and Inquisition in the Medieval Crown of Aragon (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) and Conversion, Circumcision, and Ritual Murder in Medieval Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). She is the recipient of fellowships from the European Institutes for Advanced Study, the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Institute. She is also the recipient of a Rutgers Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. At Rutgers, she teaches courses on Antisemitism, Jewish history, the Middle Ages, and relations between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.