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Julie Mell

Assoc Professor

Department of History

Withers Hall 272

View CV 


Julie Mell is Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University.  She teaches courses in medieval history and Jewish history.  Her research focuses on the Jewish communities in medieval Europe.  Her book The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender (Palgrave, 2017) challenges commonplace narratives about Jews and their moneylending function in the commercialization of Europe.  She has published articles in Jewish History, Jewish Historical Studies, and the Wiener Jahrbuch für Jüdische Geschichte Kultur und Museumswesen, and received fellowships from the Yad HaNadiv, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the American Association of University Women.

Extension and Community Engagement

Founder & Co-ordinator, NCSU Jewish Studies, 2014 – present; Co-ordinator, NC Jewish Studies Consortium, 2014 – 2016; Co-ordinator, NC Jewish Studies Seminar, 2014 – present; Editorial Board, Religions, 2012 – present; Founder & Convener,Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar, 2010 – 2014

Research Publications


The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender: Volume I (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017)

The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender: Volume II (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018)

Julie Mell and Malachi Hacohen, eds., Jewish Emigres and the Shaping of Postwar Culture  (2014); print edition of a special journal issue of Religions (2012) 3


Cultural Meanings of Money in Medieval Ashkenaz: On Gift, Profit, and Value in Medieval Judaism and Christianity” Jewish History  28/2 (2014):  125-158, doi: 10.1007/s10835-014-9212-3

“Hybridity in a Medieval Key:  the paradox of Jewish participation in self-representative political processes” Jewish Historical Studies:  Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 44 (2012):  127-38

Twentieth-century Jewish Émigrés and Trajectories in European Economic History” Religions (2012) 3:  556-587, doi:10.3390/rel3030556

“Geteilte Urbanität.  Die befestigte Stadt in der deutsch-jüdischen Kunst in der Zeit vor der Entstehung des Ghettos,” [Shared Urbanity:  the Walled City in Pre-Ghetto, German-Jewish Art]  Wiener Jahrbuch für Jüdische Geschichte Kultur und Museumswesen 5 (2001):  25-4.


“Being Frum in medieval Ashkenaz” a review of Elisheva Baumgarten, Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz:  Men, Women and Everyday Religious Observance (University of Penn, 2014) in Marginalia: LA Review of Books (February 1, 2016)

Review of Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Muller, Economic Record (2014)

Review of Trade and Institutions in the Medieval Mediterranean:  The Geniza Merchants and their Business World, by Jessica Goldberg Intertwined Worlds, Special Section of Religion Compass (2013)


(Select presentations)

“Deviance, Usury, and Religious Difference:  The Social Construction of Jews as Usurers,” Leeds International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (1–4 July, 2019)

“Court Jews as Emancipatory Figures: A Historical Construction of German-Jewish émigré women against the backdrop of their double dis-emancipation, 1900-1950,” AJS, Boston (17 December 2018)

“Insights from the medieval history of money and monetary thought” Round Table: “Grounded MMT: Historical and Empirical Research,” Second International Conference of Modern Monetary Theory, New School for Social Research, NYC (28–30 September, 2018)

“Graffiti as Gaming: Vikings at Play in Orkney’s Ancient Space,” Haskins Conference (UNC-Chapel Hill, NC October 26, 2018) [earlier version delivered at Leeds International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (3-6 July, 2017)].

“The Economic Thought of Hannah Arendt: A Critical Appraisal of the Court Jew, the Jewish banker and the Jewish Economic Function, 1920 – 1950,” Center for the History of Political Economy, Duke University (March 9, 2018)

“Court Jews in the Racialized Imagination of the Twentieth Century” Association of Jewish Studies, Washington, D.C. (Dec. 16, 2017)

“Medieval Fantasies:  Visualizing the Monster in medieval Hebrew Manuscripts,” Communities of the Book:  Triangle Book History Symposium National Humanities Center (April 20-22, 2017)

“Gender, Economic Liberalism, Antisemitism: Selma Stern, Hannah Arendt, Toni Oelsner and the Dialectics of Exclusion” Conference on Jews, Liberalism, Anti-Semitism: the Dialectics of Inclusion (1780-1950), University of Oxford, (March 14, 2017)

“The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Usurer:  The Evidence from Anglo-Jewish Documents” Oxford Jewish Studies Seminar, Univ. of Oxford (Feb. 16, 2017)

“Immersive Visualizations and 3D-Printed Objects in the Teaching & Curating of Viking Sites and Artifacts,” joint paper with Shaun Bennett given at Rediscovering the Vikings: Reception, Recovery, Engagement, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (25-26 November 2016)

Graduate Advising

Professor Mell accepts graduate students working on topics related to medieval Europe.

Current students

William Tyler Ellis

Crystal Louramore-Kirsanova

Masters Theses Completed in Medieval History

Sarah Cox, “Crossing the Latin/Vernacular Divide in Twelfth-Century Literature: John of Salisbury, Chrétien de Troyes, and the First Arthurian Romance” (History, M.A. Thesis, 2019)

Hannah Render,  “No True Scotsman: John Barbour’s Bruce and National Identity in Fourteenth-Century Scotland” (History M.A. thesis, 2019)

Kelsey Rosenberg, “A Nuanced Relationship Between the Living and the Dead: An Examination of Ghost Stories in Medieval Exempla from 1000-1200” (History M.A. Thesis, 2019)

Kevin Shuford, “Composite Sovereignty at the Forest Floor: Constructing Status, Jurisdiction, and the Plenitude of Power in Thirteenth-Century England” (HIstory M.A. Thesis, 2018)

Ross Anderson, “The Effect of Factionalism on Jewish Persecution: How the Conflict between Bernard of Clairvaux’s Cistercian Order and Peter Abelard’s Scholasticism Contributed to the Equating of Jews with Heretics (History M.A. Thesis, 2016)

Ethan Margolis, “Evidence that the Majority of Medieval English Jews were not Moneylenders, with an Emphasis on Document E. 101/249/4” (History M.A. Thesis, 2015)

Melissa Alexander, “Sibling Rivals to Mortal Enemies: The Evolution of Ecclesia and Synagoga From the Early to Late Middle Ages” (History M.A. Thesis, 2015)

Shaun Bennett, “Christian Writers, Pagan Subjects: The Preservation of Norse Religious Imagery through Legal Culture in Iceland” (History M.A. Thesis, 2012)

Elyse Black, “Extralegal and English: the Robin Hood Legend and Increasing National Identity in the Middling Sorts of Late Medieval England” (History M.A. Thesis, 2012)

Serena Elliott, “The Twelfth Century Renaissance and the Religion of Intent: Interiority and the Emergence of Selfhood Across Religious Boundaries” (History M.A. Thesis, 2011)

Indrayani Battle, “A Castellan Claims his Castles: Textualization of Claims in Eleventh-Century Aquitaine” (History M.A. Thesis, 2010)

Michael Bazemore, “Wellsprings of Heresy: Monks, Myth and Making Manichaeans in Orleans and Aquitaine” (History M.A. Thesis, 2009)


B.A. History of Religions Columbia University 1990

M.A. History (Medieval Europe) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1997

Ph.D. Religious Studies (Jewish Studies) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2000

Area(s) of Expertise

Medieval Europe, with a focus on economic, legal, and religious history; Jewish History, with a focus on communities in medieval England, France, and German regions; Digital Humanities, innovations in teaching


Medieval Origins of the Modern World (HI 208); From Rome to the Middle Ages (HI406/506); High Middle Ages (HI 409/509); Jewish History (HI 307); Vikings (HI491); Jewish-Christian relations in the premodern world (HI491); Pre-Modern Economic History (HI498)

Media Appearances / Interviews

FOX Xploration Earth 2050: "The Classroom of the Future"

Yossi Krausz, "Exploding the Myth of the Jewish Moneylender: How historians present wrong ideas about Jews and money," Ami Magazine (December 7, 2016)

Radio Interview: “N.C. State Professor highlights myth of medieval Jewish moneylenders,” Carolina Journal Radio, (Program No. 778)