Joel Kaye, Emeritus Professor of History
History, Medieval & Renaissance Studies
818 Milstein Center
Joel Kaye, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of History, joined the Barnard faculty in 1992. In addition to his teaching duties in the department of history, Professor Kaye is affiliated with Barnard's medieval and Renaissance studies program. He has taught such courses as "Medieval Intellectual Life," "Introduction to the Later Middle Ages," "Introduction to Historical Theory and Method," "Medieval Economic Life and Thought," and "Medieval Science and Society."
Professor Kaye's scholarly interests center on medieval intellectual history, with special interests in the history of science and the history of economic and political thought. His research and scholarship have been supported by the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies; the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers; the National Science Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
His book, Economy and Nature in the Fourteenth Century: Money, Market Exchange, and the Emergence of Scientific Thought, earned the John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America as the best first book by an author in medieval studies.
His article "The Impact of Money on the Development of Fourteenth-Century Scientific Thought," won the 1990 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize of the Medieval Academy of America, reserved for first-time authors in medieval studies.
Professor Kaye's latest project has been to focus historical inquiry on the subject of balance. In 2014 he published a book on this subject with Cambridge University Press: A History of Balance, c. 1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought.
In 2015, A History of Balance was awarded the annual Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, by the American Philosophical Society; and in 2017, it was chosen to receive the annual Haskins Medal, by The Medieval Academy of America.
- B.A., University of Wisconsin
- M.A., University of Massachusetts
- Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
- Medieval history
- History of economic thought
- History of science
- Interdepartmental Seminar: Science Across Cultures
- Introduction to the Later Middle Ages, 1050-1450
- Introduction to Historical Theory and Method
- Medieval Intellectual Life
- Medieval Economic Life and Thought ca. 1000-1500
- Medieval Science and Society
- 2017: The Haskins Medal. This award is presented annually by the Medieval Academy of America to honor a single book and its author: in recognition of A History of Balance, 1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought."
- 2016: Elected a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.
- 2016: Barnard College, Ann Whitney Olin Professorship.
- 2015 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History. Awarded to A History of Balance, 1250-1375 (CUP, 2014) by the American Philosophical Society. This annual prize is open to books covering all time periods and all academic disciplines that touch on the history of culture, broadly conceived.
- 2010: Resident Fellowship, Liguria Study Center, Bogliasco Italy.
- 2007-08: Resident Fellowship, New York Public Library, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
- 2004-05: Resident Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies, Princeton, N.J.
- 2004-05: (NEH) National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.
- 2002: John Nicholas Brown Prize. Awarded annually by the Medieval Academy of America to the best first book in the area of medieval studies, for: Economy and Nature in the Fourteenth Century(Cambridge University Press, 1998).
- 2001-02: (NSF) National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Studies. Year-long book project grant for: “Culture in the Balance, 1225-1375.”
- 2000-01: (NEH) National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.
- 2000: Visiting Scholar, The American Academy in Rome.
- 1994: Gladys Brooks Prize. Barnard College. Excellence in Junior Faculty Teaching.
- 1990: Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize. Medieval Academy of America.
A History of Balance, 1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014). (Link to eBook)
- Paperback Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
- French Translation, Histoire de l’équilibre, 1250-1375: L’apparition d’un nouveau modèle d’équilibre et son impact sur la pensée (Les Belles Lettres, Paris), August, 2017. (Link to Book Page)
Economy and Nature in the Fourteenth Century: Money, Market Exchange, and the Emergence of Scientific Thought (Cambridge University Press, 1998); Reissued in Paperback Edition, 2000.
(Link to eBook)
2005-07: Co-editor (with Ruth Mazo Karras and E. Ann Matter), Law and the Illicit in Medieval Europe(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
2001-03 : Associate Editor, Supplemental Volume to the Thirteen Volume Dictionary of the Middle Ages, published by Scribner’s Sons in collaboration with the American Council of Learned Societies (New York, 2004).
“Social and Textual Roots of Relativistic Thinking in the Fourteenth Century: The Marketplace and Medieval Galenism,” Historische Anthropologie 28 (2020), 9-30. (RelativityPap-HistAnth-20) (Link to Article)
“From Marketplace to Cosmos: The Emergence of a New Model of Balance and Its Impact on Thought,” Traverse: revue d’histoire / Zeitschrift für Geschichte (2021/1), 42-60. (Balance Zurich etc.) (Link to Article)
“Equalization in the Body and the Body Politic: From Galen to Marsilius of Padua,” in Cittadinanza e disuguaglianze economiche, XIII-XVI secolo,” ed. GiacomoTodeschini (Mélanges de l’École française de Rome–Moyen Âge, 2013). (Link to Article)
“Law, Magic, and Science: Constructing a Border between Licit and Illicit Knowledge in the Writings of Nicole Oresme,” in Law and the Illicit in Medieval Europe, ed. Ruth Karras, Joel Kaye, and E. Ann Matter (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
“The (Re)Balance of Nature, 1250-1350,” in Engaging with Nature: Essays on the Natural World in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Barbara Hanawalt and Lisa Kiser (The University of Notre Dame Press, 2008).
"Changing Definitions of Nature, Money, and Equality c. 1140-1270, Reflected in Thomas Aquinas' Questions on Usury" in Credito e usura fra teologia, diritto e amministatione. Linguaggi a confronto (sec. XII-XVI), ed. D. Quaglioni, G. Todeschini, and G.M. Varanini (École française de Rome, 2005), 25-55. (Link to Article)
“Money and Administrative Calculation as Reflected in Scholastic Natural Philosophy," in Arts of Calculation: Numerical Thought in Early Modern Europe, ed. David Glimp and Michelle Warren (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 1-18.
"Monetary and Market Consciousness in Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Europe," in Ancient and Medieval Economic Ideas and Concepts of Social Justice, ed. S. Todd Lowry and Barry Gordan (E.J. Brill: Leiden, 1998), 371-404. (Link to Article)
"The Impact of Money on the Development of Fourteenth-Century Scientific Thought," Journal of Medieval History, 14 (1988), 251-70.