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Jillian Bjerke

I have been at McDaniel since Fall 2020, and I am now a Lecturer in History as of Fall 2022. I am thrilled to be teaching here at McDaniel. In my courses, I emphasize the importance of approaching topics from multiple perspectives and disciplines and draw from other fields such as art history, religion, literature, and music. At McDaniel, I have taught courses in ancient and medieval history as well as thematic courses on gender history and premodern witchcraft and science.

I am a medieval historian focusing on Europe and the Mediterranean in the High Middle Ages. I am particularly interested in administrative, cultural, and gender history. I came to medieval history through reading medieval historical fiction while doing graduate work in physics. After attending a Medieval Studies conference in 2010, I was hooked!


Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder
M.A., Western Michigan University
M.S., Wake Forest University
B.S., Wake Forest University

Research Interests

  • Administrative and cultural history of high medieval Europe and the Mediterranean
  • Cultural exchange in the premodern world
  • Gender history
  • Comparative history

Recent Courses

  • HIS 1T03: Witchcraft, Magic, and Medicine
  • HIS 2T10: Medieval Women
  • HIS 3316: Seminar: The Crusades

Selected Publications

  • “Power, Property, and Paris: The Case of Champagne-Navarre,” in Beyond the Borders of the Realm: Aristocratic Culture and the Making of France, 1000–1300: Essays in Honor of Theodore Evergates, ed. Anne E. Lester and Randall Pippenger (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2024).
  • “Under His Protection: Securing Land, Loyalty, and Sovereignty in Thirteenth-Century Champagne and Navarre,” under review for special issue of French History, forthcoming 2023.
  • “In His Name: Religion as Administrative Strategy in Thirteenth-Century Champagne (and Navarre?),” forthcoming in the Haskins Society Journal in 2021.
  • “A Castilian agreement and two English briefs: writing in revolt in thirteenth-century Castile and England,” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 8.1 (2016): 75-93.

Awards and Honors

  • Fulbright Fellowship (France), affiliated with Université Jean Moulin Lyon III
Jillian Bjerke

"Where does the grandeur of valiant men shine more brightly, or the wisdom of the prudent, or the discretion of the righteous, or the moderation of the temperate, than in the context of history?”

Henry of Huntingdon, The History of the English People, 12th c.