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Presented By: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)

Winter 2024 MEMS Lecture. Mass Expulsion in Medieval Europe

Rowan Dorin, Stanford University

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Beginning in the twelfth century, Jewish moneylenders increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs of European authorities, who denounced the evils of usury as they expelled Jews from their lands. Yet Jews were not alone in supplying coin and credit to needy borrowers. Across much of Western Europe, foreign Christians likewise engaged in professional moneylending, and they too faced repeated threats of expulsion from the communities in which they settled. In charting the emergence and spread of this association between usury and expulsion, this talk will explore how mass expulsion became a pervasive feature of European law and politics—with tragic consequences that have reverberated down to the present.

Bio: Rowan Dorin is associate professor of History at Stanford University, where his teaching and research focus on premodern Europe and the Mediterranean. He holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, and he was previously a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. In addition to his recent book, No Return: Jews, Christian Usurers, and the Spread of Mass Expulsion in Medieval Europe (Princeton UP, 2023), he has also published articles on Jewish-Christian relations, medieval canon law, digital humanities, and the circulation of people, goods, and manuscripts in the premodern world.

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