Purcell, James (Jake)

Field: Medieval; Advisor: Kosto; Year: 2013

I'm a Ph.D. candidate in the history department studying the legal, institutional, and intellectual history of early medieval Europe. I like legal documents and language, labels, and fact-finding in pre-modern societies. My dissertation examines efforts to anticipate and thwart fraud and deception in Merovingian Gaul.


An Americanist colleague and I are also working on Medieval America, an ongoing pop history project examining the bizarre trade in medieval buildings shipped from Europe to the U.S. in the early 20th century. So far, we’ve written at length for Atlas Obscura and presented at conferences on art crime and reuse studies.


At Columbia, I've taught everything from world history to Ancient Greece to Modern Latin America. I’ve served as co-social chair for the history department and graduate co-coordinator for the department's History in Action initiative.