William Chester Jordan

Dayton-Stockton Professor of History; Director, Program in Medieval Studies
Office Phone
232 Dickinson Hall

William Chester Jordan is Dayton-Stockton Professor of History. He is a former Director of the Program in Medieval Studies and has also been Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies (1994 to 1999). He is the author of several books: Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade: A Study in Rulership (Princeton University Press, 1979); From Servitude to Freedom: Manumission in the Sénonais in the Thirteenth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986); The French Monarchy and the Jews from Philip Augustus to the Last Capetians (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989); Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial and Developing Societies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993); The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century (Princeton University Press, 1996; awarded the Haskins Medal of the Medieval Academy of America); Europe in the High Middle Ages (Penguin, 2001); Unceasing Strife, Unending Fear: Jacques de Thérines and the Freedom of the Church in the Age of the Last Capetians (Princeton University Press, 2005); A Tale of Two Monasteries: Westminster and Saint-Denis in the Thirteenth Century (Princeton University Press, 2009); Men at the Center: Redemptive Governance under Louis IX (Central European University Press, 2012); From England to France: Felony and Exile in the High Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 2015), and The Apple of His Eye:  Converts from Islam in the Reign of Louis IX (Princeton University Press, 2019).  His most recent book is Servant of the Crown and Steward of the Church:  The Career of Philippe of Cahors (University of Toronto Press / Medieval Academy of America Books, 2020).  Professor Jordan has also edited a one-volume encyclopedia of the Middle Ages for elementary school pupils (Franklin Watts, 1999) and a four-volume version for middle school students (Scribner's, 1996). He was the editor-in-chief of the first supplemental volume of the Dictionary of the Middle Ages (Scribner's, 2004). He is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current research focuses on migrant labor in the thirteenth and early fourteenth century. From January 2009 to January 2010 Professor Jordan served as President of the American Catholic Historical Association. In 2011-2012 he served as President of the Fellows of the Medieval Academy of America, and in March 2012 and April 2013, he was elected Second Vice-President and First Vice-President respectively. He served as President of the Medieval Academy in 2014-2015. In 2019 Harvard University awarded Professor Jordan the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. He has also been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Ripon College (2002), Bard College (2016), Catholic University of America (2021), and Oxford University (2022).

The following is a list of Professor Jordan's former and current Ph.D. students:

  • Richard Landes
  • David Nirenberg
  • Jonathan Elukin
  • Katherine Jansen
  • Mark Pegg
  • Elspeth Carruthers
  • Emily Rose
  • Adam Davis
  • Jarbel Rodriguez
  • Emily Kadens
  • Christopher MacEvitt
  • Anne Lester
  • Holly Grieco
  • Guy Geltner
  • Maya Soifer
  • Hussein Fancy
  • Michelle Garceau Hawkins
  • Erica Gilles
  • Manu Radhakrishnan
  • Christopher Kurpiewski
  • Hagar Barak
  • Rebecca Johnson
  • Jenna Phillips
  • Thomas Boeve
  • Troy Tice
  • Andrew Collings
  • Randall Pippenger
  • Hollis Dvorkin
  • Ariana Myers
  • Sucharita Ray
  • Abigail Sargent
  • Corinne Kannenberg
  • Joseph Snyder
  • Vicky Hioureas
  • Mark Benton
  • Rachel Gerber
  • Ksenia Ryzhova
  • Courtney Barter-Colcord
  • Alice Morandy
  • Albert Kohn


B.A., History, Mathematics, and Russian Studies, Ripon College
Ph.D., History, Princeton University