Autobiography

My name is Daniel Franke, and I am an assistant professor of history living in Virginia. I teach core Western Civ surveys as well as courses in European, global, and premodern history. My professional profile can be found at Academia.edu.

This site is my personal blog, in which I speak as a professional historian and as a private citizen, and the opinions contained herein are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer.

Key Information, if you want to triangulate my position on things:

Personality type: https://www.16personalities.com/intp-personality

In 2015-2016 I was an adjunct instructor in medieval and world history at SUNY New Paltz, Marist College, and Mount Saint Mary College. In May of 2015 I completed a limited-term appointment as visiting assistant professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where from 2012 I taught medieval and military history in the Department of History, and was also a Research Fellow at the Network Science Center for 2014-2015. I earned my doctorate in medieval history at the University of Rochester in 2014, studying under Dr. Richard W. Kaeuper and specializing in the medieval social, cultural, and military history of Germany, England, and the crusades. I also have research interests and teaching competencies in the ancient/Late Antique world, Early Modern Europe, modern Germany/Europe, particularly Nazi Germany.

Military history is something I have studied almost since I can remember. On the other hand,  I’ve been asked more than once where the medieval history came from. The answer has always proved elusive. Perhaps playing with castle Legos and watching Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, and Knights of the Round Table as a kid actually did have long-term effects?  In any case, I’d have to give Michael Decker (now at University of South Florida) a lot of credit, as his High Middle Ages course was the first I took at Rice University, where I earned my BA in 2005. Professor Dr. Eva Haverkamp (now at the Ludwigs-Maximilians Universität in Munich), who was my adviser at Rice, receives the rest of the credit, and has been responsible for ensuring that my specialization in medieval Germany has continued.

I stumbled on to my dissertation topic rather by accident; one of my friends had left a volume of the Patent Rolls lying around (as you do), and I randomly opened up to an entry of pardons to a long list of men of Great Yarmouth for waging war against their southern neighbors in Suffolk.  This pardon was in recognition of their good service to the king; a bit of research revealed a lot of these pardons, mostly for military service.  The wheels began to turn, and the dissertation developed from there. The project became “Beyond the Medieval Military Revolution: Robert Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, and the Wars of England, 1298-1369.”  I reconstructed the life and career of the Earl of Suffolk in order to test various components of the Medieval Military Revolution, as advanced by various scholars on the subject, against military, social, cultural, and economic data from the 1320s through the Crécy-Calais Campaign of 1346-47.

I have a enjoyed an excellent working relationship with my adviser and my other mentors at Rochester, among them Celia Applegate (now at Vanderbilt University), who directed my minor field in modern Germany, and David Walsh, who directed my other minor field in Art History and Monasticism. I am a member of a number of professional organizations, among them De Re Militari (the Society for Medieval Military History), the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, and the Society for Military History.  In 2010, I was fortunate enough to attend the Summer Seminar in Military History at West Point in the summer of 2010, where I received intensive (and fun) training in the Academy’s methodologies, teaching strategies, and material in the full chronological range of military history; this has proven extraordinarily useful for my current job.

Activities outside of historical study are first and foremost spending time with my family, classical and acoustic guitar, movies, hitting the gym, historical European martial arts, and Shotokan karate. I also enjoy reading (naturally), and when I have again the space (and time), I look forward playing my collection of Avalon Hill and GMT strategy games.

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