Marlboro College

Academics Adam Franklin-Lyons - History

Having a long-standing interest in teaching at the undergraduate level, Adam Franklin-Lyons was not drawn to colleges where research is the goal and teaching is secondary. At Marlboro College, he knew he found a place where education was paramount. "The students here are very dedicated," says Adam. "I was surprised at first how curious they are in class. One hopes that students will be, but even the students at great universities aren't always curious." Adam, who got his master's and doctorate degrees in history at Yale, also has degrees in philosophy, musicology and religion, liturgy and the arts.

Teaching Philosophy

Adam strives to provide his students with the tools they need to pursue their personal passion, working to connect history to all aspects of the liberal arts curriculum. "History is at the heart of a lot of contemporary discourse, both political and social," he says. "In a more-or-less secular society, lacking a certain unified set of beliefs, we tend to argue based on our past." Adam is inspired by the level of autonomy faculty members have in designing their curriculum. "I like how Marlboro thinks."

Scholarly Activities

Adam's own academic passions include the environmental, economic and social history of the Middle Ages. "My dissertation focuses on social constraints in the responses to famines in medieval Catalonia and the western Mediterranean," he says. "The work brings to light a variety of previously under-researched causes and responses in medieval food shortages including aesthetic preferences, legal restrictions on trade and agriculture, protectionist practices and the treatment of the poor." Other areas of research include the history of poverty, liturgical practice, cuisine, medieval trade and the development of agricultural technology, both European and Islamic. "Although I am a medievalist, I am also interested in global perspectives on food supply, diet and modern methods of agricultural production." He has pursued these interests internationally, studying the history of famines and experimental archeology in Spain and Arabic in Tunisia.

Selected Publications

External Links

Adam runs a podcast series of history interviews, lectures, and thoughts. He has also made available an introduction and many of the lectures from his Introduction to Medieval Studies class. 

B.A. and B.M., Oberlin College, 2000; M.A., Yale University, 2006, Ph.D., Yale University, 2009; Marlboro College, 2009 -

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