Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

  • People
  • Ben R. McRee

    Professor of History
    717-291-4232
    Office: STA303
    Summary: Social and religious history of medieval and early modern Europe

    Professional Biography


    My interests lie in the social and religious history of medieval and early modern Europe. I am attracted to those areas in part because of their distance from our own age, a distance that creates contrasts that I find intriguing, and in part because of the challenging puzzles that the haphazard survival of source material has created. I teach a variety of courses in these areas, including advanced undergraduate seminars on medieval cities, the Black Death, and late-medieval spirituality. My research focuses on late-medieval England, particularly on urban political culture and on the lay religious organizations known as gilds or fraternities that were so important to both urban and rural communities in the fifteenth century.

    Professional Positions

    Department of History, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster Pennsylvania, 1987 to the present

    Visiting Lecturer, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale Michigan, 1985, 1986-87

    Special Studies Advisor, 2007-present                                               

    Member, Faculty Compensation Committee, 2008-9

    Member, Admissions Committee, 2007-8; Chair 2008-9 Elected Member, Judicial Committee, 2007-8

    Member, Greek Life New Member Education Review Board, 2005-6

    Member, Phi Beta Kappa Credentials Committee, 2004-6

    Member, Presidential Commission on Information Technology, 2004-5

    Member, Search Committee, Modern European History, 2004-5

    Member, Departmental Curriculum Implementation Group, 2004-5

    Elected Member, Educational Policy Committee, 2002-5

    Member, Library Committee, 2002-3, 2005-6; Chair, 2003-5

    Search Committee for College Archivist, 2002-3

    Member, Off-Campus Studies Committee, 1999-2004

    Search Committee for Off Campus Studies Director, 2003-4 

    Chair, Department of History, 1994-1998, 2001-2

    Education


    Ph.D., History, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1987

    M.A., History, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1981

    B.A., History, Pomona College, Claremont, 1979

    Publications


    Review of Medieval Towns. A Reader (Toronto: UTP Higher Education, 2006), by Maryanne Kowaleski, The Medieval Review, January 9, 2009 (http://quod.lib.umich.edu:80/t/tmr/) 

    “The Mayor’s Body,” forthcoming in Katherine French, Linda Mitchell, Douglas Biggs, eds., Community, Identity, and the Ties That Bind: Essays in Honor of Barbara A. Hanawalt (Ashgate)

    “An Urban Fraternity in the Age of Reform: Norwich’s Gild of St. George, 1516-1548,” forthcoming in Monika Escher-Apsner, ed., Mittelalterliche Bruderschaften in Europaeischen Staedten (Medieval Confraternities in European Towns) (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2009)

    “After 1452—The Evolution of the Gild of St. George in the Wake of Yelverton’s Mediation,” Norfolk Archaeology, XLV, part I (2006), pp. 28-40

    “Traditional Religion,” in Robert Tittler and Norman Jones, eds., A Companion to Tudor Britain (Blackwell Publishing, 2004), pp. 207-20.

    Review of Controlling Misbehavior in England, 1370-1600 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), by Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, in Law and History Review 21(2003), pp. 215-17

    Review of Gilds in the Medieval Countryside: Social and Religious Change in Cambridgeshire c. 1350-1558 (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 1996), by Virginia R. Bainbridge in Speculum 75(2000) 104-6

    “Working Women in the Medieval City,” co-authored with Trisha Dent, ‘96, in Linda Mitchell, ed., Women in Medieval Western European Culture, (New York: Garland, 1999), pp. 241-56

    Review of Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600, by Judith M. Bennett (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) in Speculum 74(1999), 120-22

    “Peacemaking and it Limits in Late Medieval Norwich,” English Historical Review, CIX(1994), pp. 831-66.

    “Unity or Division? The Social Meaning of Guild Ceremony in Urban Communities,” in Barbara A. Hanawalt and Kathryn L. Reyerson, eds., City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), pp. 189-207

    Review of Prophets in Their Own Country: Living Saints and the Making of Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, by Aviad M. Kleinberg (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992) in Journal of Interdisciplinary History 25(1994) 284-86

    “Charity and Gild Solidarity in Late-Medieval England,” Journal of British Studies 32 (1993), pp. 195-225

    “Religious Gilds and Civic Order:  The Case of Norwich in the Late Middle Ages,” Speculum  67 (1992), pp. 69-97

    “The Gilds of Homo Prudens in Late Medieval England,” co-authored with Barbara Hanawalt, Continuity and Change 7 (1992), pp. 1-18

    “Religious Gilds and Regulation of Behavior in Late Medieval Towns,” in Joel Rosenthal and Colin Richmond, eds., People, Politics and Community in the Later Middle Ages  (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987), pp. 108-22.

    Course Information


    Leaving the World Behind: Utopian Communities and Other Experiments in Living (Foundations course)

    The Middle Ages

    Early Modern Europe

    Tudor-Stuart England

    The End of the Middle Ages: Plague, War, and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval Europe

    Heretics, Saints, and Sinners: Religious Life at the End of the Middle Ages

    Medieval Urban Life

    Sample Syllabi
    CCS119
    HIS215
    HIS378