Jotham ParsonsAssociate Professor and Director, Undergraduate Studies
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
College Hall 604B
Education:Ph.D., History, The Johns Hopkins University, 1997
M.A., History, The Johns Hopkins University, 1993
A.B., History, Harvard College, 1990
After earning my Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1997, I taught at the University of Delaware and at Roosevelt University in Chicago before coming to Duquesne in 2003. My teaching and research cover a broad area in the history of medieval and early modern Western Europe. My more specialized work centers on French political, religious, and cultural life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I have a particular interest in the history of political economy and political theology, and in the history of literature.
My current research focuses on the history of political economy and social thought in seventeenth-century Europe. I am working on the development of such thought in the court of King Henri IV of France, and in Catholic pious literature of the reign of Louis XIV.
My first book, The Church in the Republic: Gallicanism and Political Ideology in Renaissance France, offers a new interpretation of the relationship between religion and politics in Europe at the dawn of the modern age. Its main subject, the theoretical and political contest over the liberties of the Gallican Church, was one of the great political issues of early modern France. This debate raised basic questions on the nature and origins of authority within human institutions. It shaped the way French Catholic magistrates, laypeople, and clergy understood the state and their own places within it, and was followed closely in England, Italy, and beyond.
My second book, Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France: Currency, Culture, and the State, investigates the creation and circulation of currency in France. The royal Cour des Monnaies centralized monetary administration, expanding its role in the emerging modern state during the sixteenth century and assuming new powers as an often controversial repository of theoretical and administrative expertise.It also played an important role in developing the contemporary understanding of money, as a source of both danger and opportunity at the center of economic and political life. More practically, the Monnaies led generally successful responses to the endemic inflation of the era and the monetary chaos of a period of civil war. Its work investigating and prosecuting counterfeiters shone light into a picaresque world of those who used the abstract and artificial nature of money for their own ends. This text was awarded the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize by the Renaissance Society of America.
HIST 171C: History of Christianity (Learning Community)
HIST 213: Western Civilization I
HIST 309: The Scientific Revolution
HIST 311W: Writing History
HIST 401W/501: Medieval Europe
HIST 413W/513: Renaissance Europe: Courts and Nobles
HIST 511: Early Modern Europe
Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France: Currency, Culture, and the State. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2014.
The Church in the Republic: Gallicanism and Political Ideology in Renaissance France. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2005.
"Vocation in Seventeenth-Century France: The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Étatisme." French History 28 (2014): 322-42.
"Papauté, histoire, et mémoire gallicane au XVIe siècle." Revue de l'Histoire des Religions 29 (2009): 315-28.
"Money and Merit in French Renaissance Comedy." Renaissance Quarterly 60 (2007): 852-82.
"Assemblies of the French Clergy from Philip the Fair to Louis XIII." Parliaments, Estates and Representation 23 (2003): 1-16.
"Governing Sixteenth-Century France: The Monetary Reforms of 1577." French Historical Studies 26 (2003): 1-30.
"The Roman Censors in the Renaissance Political Imagination." History of Political Thought 22 (2001): 565-86.
"Money and Sovereignty in Early Modern France." Journal of the History of Ideas 62 (2001): 59-79.
"The Political Vision of Antoine Loisel." The Sixteenth Century Journal 27 (1996): 453-76.
Honors / Awards
N.E.H. Summer Institute, "The Study of Religion," Charlottesville, VA
Folger Library Faculty Seminar, "Connections, Trust, and Causation in Economic History"
N.E.H. Summer Seminar, Paris, France
William Koren, Jr. Prize, Society for French Historical Studies
Grants / Contracts
Faculty Development Fund, Duquesne University
Presidential Scholarship Award, Duquesne University
Fr. Richard Paluse Mission-related Research Award, Duquesne University
Gustave Gimon Visiting Scholar Fellowship, Stanford University Libraries
N.E.H. Summer Stipend
Bourse Chateaubriand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France