Julie Mell: European Distinguished Lectures
Thursday, February 13, 2020, 04:30pm - 06:00pm
The Distinguished Lectures in European History invites you to
“Deviance, Usury, and Religious Difference in Medieval Europe:
On the Social Construction of Jewish Economic Difference”
North Carolina State University
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Van Dyck Hall 301
Reception to Follow
Julie Mell, Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University, is the founder and current director of the Jewish Studies program there. Author of The Myth of the Jewish Moneylender and a co-editor of Jewish Émigrés and the Shaping of Postwar Culture, she has published articles in Jewish History and Jewish Historical Studies. She has received Rothschild Foundation (Yad Hanadiv), AAUW, and Charles Newcombe fellowships, and was recently a research fellow at Duke's Center for the History of Political Economy and a visiting scholar at Oxford’s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
This lecture presents key ideas from The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender and carries them further. The book critiques a pervasive historical narrative on medieval Jews as moneylenders and explains how the modern narrative was developed as a philosemitic counter to antisemitism. This lecture, using sociological theories of deviance, will explore why in the high middle ages the label 'usurer' was applied to entire Jewish communities when most Jews were not professional moneylenders.