Rowan Dorin

Assistant Professor of History
Rowan Dorin

I am a historian of western Europe and the Mediterranean, primarily during the high and late Middle Ages. Much of my research tries to understand how law and society interact with each other, especially where legal norms conflict with social practices. Another strand of my research explores the history of economic life and economic thought, especially medieval debates over usury and moneylending. I have also written on the circulation of goods, people, and ideas in the medieval Mediterranean.

My current book project (Conflicts of Interest: Jews, Christian Moneylenders, and the Rise of Mass Expulsion in Medieval Europe) uses the banishment of Jewish and Christian moneylenders to explore the rise of mass expulsion as a widespread practice in the later Middle Ages. A second ongoing project examines the ways in which medieval canon law was adapted, reinterpreted, or resisted in local contexts in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The latter builds on Corpus Synodalium, a searchable full-text database of late medieval local ecclesiastical legislation that I have been developing since 2016, with assistance from colleagues around the world.

Born and raised in western Canada, I did my undergraduate and doctoral work at Harvard University, earning an MPhil in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge along the way. Before coming to Stanford, I was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.

Featured News

April 6, 2020
Writ Large is a new podcast about the books that changed the world. In each episode, host Zachary Davis interviews one of the world’s leading scholars about one book that shaped the world we live in—whether you’ve heard of it or not.    The second episode of the first season ("Seven Books, One Deadly Rumor") features Stanford historian Rowa...
July 20, 2018
When historian Rowan Dorin first stepped onto the Stanford campus in early 2017, he made it a habit to visit Green Library every week to dig through its collection of medieval documents and objects. After a few months, Dorin, an assistant professor of history specializing in medieval Europe, discovered something out of the ordinary. Three...
October 26, 2017
The Stanford Daily (TSD): What brought you to Stanford? Rowan Dorin (RD): There’s a wonderful community of medievalists, early modernists at Stanford — which is somewhat surprising for what one might expect here in the heart of Silicon Valley — but Stanford really has this extraordinarily dynamic pre-modern community, and so it was incredibly...



Selected Publications

“‘The Bishop as Lawmaker in Late Medieval Europe,” Past and Present (forthcoming).

“Order and Disorder: The Documentary Additions to the Liber Ordinarius of Nivelles,” in The Liber ordinarius of Nivelles (Houghton Library, MS Lat 422): Liturgy as Interdisciplinary Intersectioneds. Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Eva Schlotheuber (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019)

“Les maîtres parisiens et les Juifs (fin XIIIe siècle): Perspectives nouvelles sur un dossier d’avis concernant le regimen judaeorum.” Journal des Savants 2016:2 (2016), 97-138.

“‘Once the Jews have been Expelled’: Intent and Interpretation in Late Medieval Canon Law,” Law and History Review 34/2 (2016), 335-362. [link]

“Canon law and the problem of expulsion: The origins and interpretation of Usurarum voraginem (VI 5.5.1),” Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte 130, Kanonistische Abteilung 99 (2013), 129-161. [link]

“Adriatic Trade Networks in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries,” in Trade and Markets in Byzantium, ed. Cécile Morrisson (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2012), 235-279.

“The Mystery of the Marble Man and his Hat: A Reconsideration of the Bari Episcopal Throne,” Florilegium 25 (2008), 1-24. [link]