Paul Milliman

About Paul Milliman

I believe the best way to learn history is by doing what historians do, not memorizing what historians have done.  Memorizing names and dates is trivia, not history.  Therefore, in each class I teach, students engage in their own (course-level appropriate) research projects.  I want to help students produce, not just consume, history.  Because writing history is a messy process, I want students to see and appreciate how the sausage gets made, so they can make their own well-informed decisions about whether or not to consume it.  These are important skills they will continue to use long after they graduate from the University of Arizona.  So, like Ms. Frizzle, I encourage students to “take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

Areas of Study

Medieval History, Games, Food, Medieval and Early Modern Western European Perceptions of Eastern Europe

Research Interests

My current research focuses on how games--especially chess, hunting, and the tournament--reflected, influenced, and supplied metaphors for processes of political, cultural, and social interaction in medieval Europe.  My first article on this larger research project--"Ludus Scaccarii: Games and Governance in Twelfth-Century England," in Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age, ed. Daniel E. O'Sullivan (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), 63-86--was awarded the Medieval Academy of America’s 2014 Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize.  I also wrote the entry on "Games and Pastimes" in Handbook of Medieval Culture: Fundamental Aspects and Conditions of the European Middle Ages, ed. Albrecht Classen (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 582-612, and I am editing A Cultural History of Leisure in the Medieval Age (London: Bloomsbury Academic).  I also regularly teach a course on games in medieval and early modern history (History 207).

I also teach courses on food in early world history, from introductory undergraduate courses through graduate seminars.  In these courses I encourage students to engage in non-traditional research projects and experiential learning to better understand how people in past societies experienced food.  I have also embraced this methodology in my own research on this topic by publishing a non-traditional article that interweaves my translation of a passage in a medieval chronicle with historical fiction to explore why the first Lithuanian king of Poland is often credited with creating one of Poland’s national dishes [“Jan Długosz on King Władysław Jagiełło’s Master Chef and the Invention of Bigos,” in Portraits of Medieval Eastern Europe, 800-1250, ed. Donald Ostrowski and Christian A. Raffensperger (New York: Routledge, 2017)].  And I have presented my research on food in early world history both at academic conferences [“Sauerkraut, Beer, and Crusading: Medieval Western European Views on Eastern Europe’s Place in the World,” 94th Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, Philadelphia, PA, March 2019] and in public lectures [“Hortus Sanitatis: A Natural History of Health in the Late Middle Ages” – Sixteenth Annual Early Book Lecture Series, University of Arizona, Special Collections, April 2019].

I am also researching the development of historical consciousness, construction of group identities, and religious conflict and conversion during the Middle Ages, particularly in Europe's "other east"--eastern Europe.  My current research explores these topics by analyzing western European views of eastern Europe.  My first book, 'The Slippery Memory of Men': The Place of Pomerania in the Medieval Kingdom of Poland (Leiden: Brill, 2013), examines these topics by analyzing the records from a series of disputes between the Teutonic Knights and the neighboring Poles, Pomeranians, and Prussians during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.  This book has been reviewed by Piotr Górecki in The Polish ReviewEduard Mühle in Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-ForschungJonathan Lyon in The American Historical ReviewMaria Starnawska in SpeculumDarius von Güttner-Sporzyński in Parergon, and Mark Munzinger in Mediaevistik. I have also explored these issues in two articles: “Boundary Narratives and Tales of Teutonic Treachery on the Frontier of Latin Christendom,” in Monasteries on the Borders of Medieval Europe: Conflict and Cultural Interaction, ed. Emilia Jamroziak and Karen Stöber (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 111-128 and “Melius ius ad terram Pomeranie: Ethnicity and Historical Consciousness in the 1339 Trial between Poland and the Teutonic Knights,” in Arguments and Counter-Arguments: The Political Thought of the 14th and 15th Centuries during the Polish-Teutonic Order Trials and Disputes, ed. Wiesław Sieradzan (Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, 2012), 123-156.  This research has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the American Council of Learned Societies.

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Contact Information

Paul Milliman
Associate Professor
Office: CHVZ 403E
Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom or Skype. Please email me to set up an appointment.


PhD, Cornell University, 2007 (History)

MA, Cornell University, 2003 (History)

BA, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1997 (History, Humanities-Classics, Medieval Studies)

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

Department of History
César E. Chávez Bldg.
Main Office, Room 415 
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Tucson, AZ 85721

Tel: (520) 621-1586
Fax: (520) 621-2422