The Crusades in France and Occitania Project, or CFO Project, aims to promote, and help disseminate, research into the roots, impact, and cultural significance of the crusading movement in France and Occitania in the Middle Ages, while fostering international collaboration and furthering scholarly discourse of the field. Individuals already involved use texts as diverse as Carolingian saints lives, thirteenth-century chansons de geste, troubadour poems, and crusading charters to re-envisage how mainland France and its inhabitants provoked, responded to, and conceptualized the crusading movement.
Sessions took place at the 2016 University of Leeds International Medieval Congress; the 2016 & 2017 International Congresses on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo; the 2016 SSCLE Conference 'Diversity of Crusading' at Odense, University of Southern Denmark; and a one-off special event in London's Institute of Historical Research, September 2016. Further sessions took place at Kalamazoo and Leeds in 2018, and we are in the early stages of proposing the publication of certain contributions.
These approaches characterize a new understanding of the direction forwards in crusading studies, now ascendant, which moves away from isolated case studies of the importance of the crusade solely from a 'crusading/crusader states' perspective to consider these expeditions, movements, and preaching events in medieval European geopolitical and cultural context. The influence of scholastic, apocalyptic, monastic, and eschatological thought - at the heart of medieval France's self conception - has been demonstrated to have deeply influenced the crusading movement, and, in turn, been influenced by it: see recently, for example, the work of Marcus Bull and Damien Kempf on the power of monastic literary transmission in the introduction to their edition of the Robert the Monk's Historia, Jay Rubenstein on apocalyptic concerns and the Liber Floridus, an encyclopedic twelfth-century Flemish florilegium , and Jan Vandeburie on the French crusade preacher Jacques de Vitry. Building upon Riley-Smith's seminal First Crusaders, new avenues of approach of prosopography have been used to reconstruct networks of nobles whose crusading credentials were often passed through family and kinship bonds, or bonds of patronage (Daniel Power's work on French participation in the Albigensian crusade, James Doherty on the crusading connections of Count Hugh of Troyes). In essence, the frontiers of crusade studies have moved 'home'; and these proposed sessions reflect this historiographical trend.
Dr Thomas Lecaque, University of Knoxville-Tennessee
Thomas Lecaque is Assistant Professor of History, Grand View University, Des Moines, having recently completed his PhD dissertation on "The Count of Saint-Gilles and the Saints of the Apocalype: Occitanian Culture and Piety in the Time of the First Crusade."
Dr Simon Parsons, Royal Holloway, University of London
Simon Parsons is Teaching Fellow in Medieval History at King's College London. He has recently completed his thesis on 'The Use of Chanson de geste Motifs in the Latin Texts of the First Crusade, 1095-1145.'
We are seeking sponsorship from a number of different sources to enable us to further participation in, and the impact of, these events. The organizers would like to express gratitude to the following organizations, which have offered support: the History department at Royal Holloway, University of London; the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature (MEDIUM AEVUM); and the Society for the Study of French History.