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William Chester Jordan

Author of Europe in the High Middle Ages

Includes the names: William C. Jordan
Also includes: Jordan (2)

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William Chester Jordan (born 1948) is an American medievalist, in which field he is a Haskins Medal winner. He is currently the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History and Chairman of the History Department at Princeton University. He is also a former Director of the Program in Medieval Studies at Princeton. Jordan has studied and published on the Crusades, English constitutional history, gender, economics, Judaism, and, most recently, church-state relations in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.


Jordan earned his PhD at Princeton, where he was a student of Joseph R. Strayer, in 1973. He was Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies from 1994 to 1999. In 1996, he won the annual Charles Homer Haskins Medal from the Medieval Academy of America for his outstanding work on the Great Famine, published in The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. He was elected the Second Vice-President of the Medieval Academy of America in 2012.

Jordan has shown a marked interest in pedagogy and edited single-volume and four-volume encyclopaedias on the Middle Ages, aimed at the elementary and middle-school audiences respectively. He is the editor-in-chief of the first supplemental volume of the Dictionary of the Middle Ages.

Besides being an expert on the Great Famine, Jordan has made a name in the study of the reign of Louis IX of France, especially with respect to his Crusades. His Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade is "the most comprehensive secondary source account of the seventh crusade currently available" and has been cited by Frances Gies, Malcolm Barber, and Robert Chazan.

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