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History Department


Joseph P. Huffman  

Distinguished Professor of European History


Medieval & Renaissance Europe, Germany, England, Historiography, Latin Language & Literature


Office: 255 Boyer Hall

Phone: 717-766-2511 x 7259







Joseph Huffman

Educational Background


  • Ph.D., European History, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1991
  • M.A., European History, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1985
  • German Studies, University of Regensburg, University of Cologne, 1988-1989
  • M.A., Medieval Studies, The Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, 1984
  • B.A., History, Seattle Pacific University, 1982





Joseph Huffman is an historian of Medieval and Renaissance Europe.  His research centers on the Rhineland (especially the city of Cologne) and England, with a particular interest in the development of urban institutions and societies and in the inter-regional exchanges between cities.  Dr. Huffman has published books, articles, and reviews in both English and German in Europe as well as in North America.  He teaches courses in Medieval Europe, The Crusading Movement, The Trial of Joan of Arc, Urban History, Medieval England, and Tudor-Stuart England.  He also coordinates the Latin Language and Literature program, and teaches both the foundational Latin courses as well as the third-semester Latin literature course.  In addition to his teaching and research assignments, he has a broad interest in the humanities and in this capacity served as the founding Dean of the School of the Humanities and the Director of the Center for Public Humanities.



Courses Taught


  • Knights, Peasants, and Bandits: A Social History of Medieval England
  • Medieval Europe: AD 700-1500
  • Tudor-Stuart England: AD 1400-1700
  • Topics: The Crusading Movement, Trial of Joan of Arc, Urban History, Monasticism
  • Fundamentals of Latin I and II
  • Intermediate Latin (Literature)
  • Topics in Latin Literature
  • First Year Seminar -- Growing the Family Tree: Family History, Genealogy,
         and Personal Identity
  • Humanities Past and Present (Sophomore Seminar)
  • Humanities Senior Seminar



SELECTED Publications


  • "The Medieval Synthesis: Religion, Society, and Culture," in The Blackwell Companion to World Christianity eds. Lamin Sanneh and Michael J. McClymond (forthcoming).
  • "Between History and Romance: Teaching Medieval Culture to Undergraduates
    through Chivalric Biography," Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching
    17:2 (December 2010) 73-100.
  • "Cologne" and "Travel and Mobility," in The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages
    ed. Robert E. Bjork (Oxford: Oxford University Press, May 2010) I:419; IV: 1650-1651.
  • "Freud's Impact on American Culture," in Encyclopedia of Jewish Popular Culture,
    ed. Jack Fischel (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 2008) 150-151.
  • "Die sozialen Aspekte der Außenpolitik: Diplomatische Beziehungen zwischen
    englischen und deutschen Herrschern im 12. Jahrhundert," in Der Weg in eine weitere Welt: Kommunikation und "politisches Handeln" im 12. Jahrhundert ed. Hanna Vollrath [Neue Aspekte der europäischen Mittelalterforschung 2] Münster/Hamburg/Berlin/ Vienna/London: LIT Verlag, 2008) 59-84.
  • "Potens et Pauper: Charity and Authority in Jurisdictional Disputes over the Poor in Medieval Cologne," in Plenitude of Power: The Doctrines and Exercise of Authority in the Middle Ages ed. Robert Figueira [Church, Faith, and the Medieval West Series] (Abingdon: Ashgate Publishing, 2006) 107-124.
  • The Social Politics of Medieval Diplomacy: Anglo-German Relations (1066-1307) [Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Europe 7] (University of Michigan Press, 2000).
  • Family, Commerce, and Religion in London and Cologne: Anglo-German Emigrants
    c. 1000- c. 1300
    [Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, Fourth Series, 39] (Cambridge University Press, 1998; Paperback edition: December 2002.



selected Presentations


  • Organizer of the Annual Spring Humanities Symposium at Messiah College on the theme of "The Transforming Book" in February 2012.  Keynote Speaker: Dr. Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University and 2011 President of the American Historical Association. 
  • Organizer of the Annual Spring Humanities Symposium at Messiah College on the theme of “Friendship” in February 2011.  Keynote Speaker: Jim Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
  • Chaired a session entitled, "The Holocaust and Changing Theological Narratives," at Millersville University's 30th Annual Conference on the Holocaust on 15 April 2010.
  • "Memory Believes Before Knowing Remembers: Family, Memory, and Historical Knowledge when Ancestry is Lost on the American Frontier," at the special session entitled Memory, History, and Ancestry in the Formation of Family Identity at the Spring Humanities Symposium at Messiah College in February 2010.
  • "The Medieval Public Square: An Urban Intersection of Faith, Society, and Political Economy," at a special session entitled Seek the Welfare of the City: Historical Perspectives on Faith in the Public Square at the Spring Humanities Symposium at Messiah College on 26 February 2009.
  • "The Frankfurt School and its Legacy,” Thinkers and Thoughts Lecture Series, Messiah College on 7 November 2007.



Current Activities


Dr. Huffman has served as a Grant Reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. as well as a member of the Community Advisory Board for WITF, a pubic radio and television station in Harrisburg.  His current research and writing projects include a book on the history of medieval Cologne and articles on urban hospitals, charity, and poor relief in medieval Cologne.