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Jen Pearce

History, Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

Latin law and the pre-existing populations of the Latin East, 1099-1291

The First Crusade (1095-1099) culminated in the establishment of four Latin Christian polities in the Levant – the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Principality of Antioch, and counties of Edessa and Tripoli – and led to the eventual foundation of the nearby Empire of Constantinople and Kingdom of Cyprus. These six polities of the ‘Latin East’ were founded and ruled by small Latin elite groups, but the vast majority of their populations were composed of members of the religiously, denominationally, ethnically, tribally and regionally diverse Eastern Mediterranean communities who predated the Latin conquests – and who continued to live in the region after the last Latin polity in the Levant fell in 1291.

This interdisciplinary project combines History and Legal Studies in order to re-analyse the complexities of cross-cultural relationships between Latin Christians and the heterogeneous pre-existing populations of the Latin East. Specifically, it does so by exploring the treatment and representation of different Eastern Mediterranean populations in the extensive surviving body of Latin laws and legal texts. In doing so, this project seeks to contextualise and contrast mediaeval European and Mediterranean legislative and judicial developments. It furthermore seeks to challenge powerfully simplistic misconceptions of cross-cultural relationships during the crusades, and their modern weaponization by extremist groups against refugees, members of different faiths, and historically disenfranchised groups. 

Research Area

  • History


      'Book review: Eric Calderwood, On Earth or in Poems: The Many Lives of Al-Andalus (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2023), pp. 345, £37.95, ISBN 10: 9780674980365 (Hardback), DOI: 10.1177/03061973241248369’, Literature and History 33.1 (2024), 56-59. 
     ‘Cross-cultural relations in the early Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem: the Canons of the Council of Nablus, 1120’. Nottingham Mediaeval Studies, 2023.  


      ‘Cross-cultural relationships in the Latin East: the Canons of Nablus’. Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East Early Careers Conference, 2021. 
      ‘The treatment of the Levantine population in Latin laws and legal texts’. The Irish Research Council New Approaches Conference, 2022, and PGR History Conference, NTU, 2022. 
      ‘Cross-cultural relationships in the Principality of Antioch: the Assises of Antioch’. The Northern Network for the Study of the Crusades Symposium, NTU, 2022, and Lancaster HistFest, Lancaster University, 2022. 
      'Cross-cultural relationships in the Kingdom of Jerusalem: the Livre de Jacques d'Ibelin and Livre de Geoffrey le Tor’. Law, Human Rights and Religion Flashpoints Conference, NTU, 2022. 
      ‘The treatment and representation of Levantine groups in Latin legal treatises'. Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict Biennial Conference, NTU, 2023, and International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 2023. 
      The crusades, popular medievalism, and the modern world’. Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies Conference, University of Canterbury, 2024, and PGR History Conference, NTU, 2024.
      'Loyalty and Disloyalty in the Latin East'. Loyalty in the Medieval World Conference, University of Lincoln, 2024.

Public Engagement & Impact

Blog posts:
      ‘Cross-cultural relationships and the crusades: the treatment of Levantine groups in Latin legal texts’. Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict Blog, 2023. 

Other Research Interests

Crusades and counter-crusades
Mediaeval legal and judicial developments
The medieaval Mediterranean
Christian, Islamic and Jewish histories
The Renaissance of the twelfth century
Realities of historical women's lives
Popular medievalism
The effect of World War II on historiography


Postgraduate member, Royal Historical Society.

Additional roles

Book Reviews Editor, Literature and History (SAGE), 2023 - present.

Research Assistant, Nottingham Trent University, 2021-2023.

Academic Prizes

Winner, Nottingham Medieval Studies Postgraduate Essay Competition, 2022.