James Murray

James Murray

James Murray

Dr. John O. Norman
Dr. James Murray
Director of the Medieval Institute
Ph.D., Northwestern University
Urban and Ecomonic History of the Low Countries in Late Middle Ages

Office: (269) 387-7845
Email: james.murray@wmich.edu

200E Walwood Hall

Mailing Address
Department of History
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5334


As a recent arrival at WMU I have not developed specific courses as yet, but as Director of the Medieval Institute, I supervise the MDVL 1450 course, Heroes and Villains of the Middle Ages.  Although administrative and other responsibilities will limit my teaching in the History department, I expect to teach courses on the history of the Low Countries; the economic history of Europe before 1700; urban history and business history.  I also hope to serve on masters and Ph.D. committees.

Research and Publications

As a rule, my research has focused at the intersection of medieval urban and economic history especially in Flanders.  Rooted in archival research in Belgium and France, I have sought to understand how urban economies organized finance and trade in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and how changes in economic structures shape, and are shaped by, political and social change.

My most recent book, Bruges, Cradle of Capitalism, 1280-1390 (Cambridge UP, 2005), is the first in-depth study of one of Europe’s most important commercial cities in the period it functioned as the commercial capital of northern Europe.  I devote separate chapters to demography, urban geography, the structure of trade and the money market, the important roles of innkeepers and money-changers, and the effects of the urban economy on the status of women, poor relief and charity.  I end with the inauguration of the Burgundian period in Flanders.



Department of History
4301 Friedmann Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5334 USA
(269) 387-4650 | (269) 387-4651 Fax