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Mary Jane Maxwell Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History & Religious Studies
Honors Program Director

Richardson 201
One Brennan Circle
Poultney, VT 05764-1199
Email Address:
802-287-8075; Fax: 802-287-8080

I specialize in the history of religion, the migration of religious ideas, and cross-cultural contacts between people of different faiths in the late medieval era. My dissertation examined the travel accounts of European and Russian merchants who left detailed records of their conversion to Islam while conducting business in Muslim lands, which I published in the Journal of World History.

My scholarly interest in medieval travelers has inspired my own personal treks to Europe, Russia, Africa, India, China and the Middle East. I bring my travel stories and photos to the classroom where I encourage students to develop a deeper appreciation and curiosity for other cultures and traditions. My current research project is a comparative study of female mystics in world history titled Women and Mysticism in World History, 800 – 1200: An Era of Divine Love and the monograph is due to appear in 2015 (M.E. Sharpe). Students at Green Mountain College have served as my research assistants on this project, and have presented their work with me at academic conferences.

I am also the Book Review Editor for World History Connected, an Executive Council member of the World History Association, the Secretary-Treasurer for the New England Regional World History Association., and I serve on the editorial board of World History Connected.

Ph.D. History, Washington State University, Pullman Washington, May 2004
• Primary field in World History
• Dissertation title: Journeys of Faith and Fortune: Christian Travelers in the Dāral-Islām in the 15th
• Dissertation Committee: Heather Streets (chair), Edwin Garretson, Brigit Farley

M.A. History, Washington State University, 1999
• Thesis title: Sanctity and Power: The Life of Mikhail Iaroslavich Tverskoi &1271- 1318

B.A. History Summa Cum Laude, Whitworth College, Spokane, WA, 1997 and Early 16th Century

Forthcoming monograph: Women and Mysticism in World History, 800-1200: An Era of Divine Love. M.E. Sharpe, 2015 World History Series.

“Travel and Travelers in World History” and Guest Editor for World History Connected, February vol. 10, issue 1, 2013 and June vol. 10, issue 2, 2013.

“From Imposter to Imperialist: “Ludovico de Varthema’s Journey from Italy to India, 1502-1508” in World History Connected, June vol. 10, issue 2, 2013.

“Nutmeg and Cloves,” Commodities, Culture and History: The Products That Have Changed the World, Cengage, 2013.

“Beginnings of Christianity,” for Pearson Higher Education “My History Lab” e-book, “Art and Architecture in the Early Islamic World: Cross-Cultural Influences in the Expanding Dar al-Islam," The Middle Ground Journal, no. 3, Fall 2011.

"Afanasii Nikitin: An Orthodox Russian’s Spiritual Voyage in the Dār al-Islām, 1468- 1475," Journal of World History vol 17, no.3, September 2006: 243-266.

"The Role of the Individual in World History,” World History Connected vol. 3, no. 3, July, 2006.

“Structuring the World History Survey,” World History Connected vol. 2, no. 2, May, 2005.

"European Travelers to South Asia before 1498," World History Encyclopedia, 21 vols. (Santa Barbara: CA: ABC-Clio, 2011), 9:325-326.

"Russia and the Mongols, Thirteenth to Fifteenth Centuries," World History Encyclopedia, 21 vols. (Santa Barbara: CA: ABC-Clio, 2011), 9:437-439.

Forthcoming: Penelope Carson, The East India Company and Religion, 1698-1858 (Boydell Press, 2013) in The Historian, 2015.

Peter Golden, Central Asia in World History (New York: Oxford University Press: 2011) in World History Connected, vol 9, no.1, 2012.

Blanche D’Souza, Harnessing the Trade Winds (Zand Graphics: 2008) in The Historian, Winter 2010.

Anthony Penna, The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History. (Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) in World History Connected vol. 7, no. 1, Feburary. 2010.

David Arnold, The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze: India, Landscape and Science, 1800- 1856 (University of Washington Press: 2006) Itinerario vol 31, no. 1, 2007.

Richard C. Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road (St. Martin’s Press: 1999) in World History Connected vol.1 no. 2, May 2004.

A.G. Hopkins (ed), Globalization in World History (W.W. Norton: 2002) in World History Connected vol. 2, no. 1, November 2004.

Textbook and Back-cover Comments
World history book series reviewer for Routledge, 2013 to present

Textbook reviewer for Oxford University Press 2013 to present

World history textbook reviewer for Bedford St. Martin’s Crossroads and Cultures: A History of the World’s Peoples, by Bonnie Smith et al, 2012

Textbook reviewer for Westview Press, India: A Definitive History, by D.R. Sardesai, Provided back-cover promotional review for M.E.Sharpe, The World That Trade Created, by Kenneth Pomeranz and Steven Topik, 2012.


Forthcoming: “Teaching World History and the Environment“ at the World History Association's Annual Conference in Costa Rica, July, 2014.

Forthcoming: “Multi-faith Influences on Emerging Bhakti Traditions: The Tamil Coast 6th – 9th Centuries“ at the World History Association Symposium: “Port Cities in World History,“ at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain from March 26-28, 2014.

“Challenges to Conventional Paradigms in World History” at the New England Historical Association, Rivier College, Nashua, NH April 21, 2012.

“Spiritual Constructs: Making Sense of Female Mystics in a Global Era of Divine Love” at the New England Regional World History Association, Salem, MA November 5, 2011.

"A Global Era of Divine Love" at the World History Association Annual Conference, Beijing, China July 7-10, 2011.

“Art and Architecture in the Early Islamic World: Cross-Cultural Influences in the Expanding Dar al-Islam," a paper co-written with Green Mountain College student Clara Walsh. Northwest World History Association, Eugene, OR Oct 7-9, 2010.

“Divine Love in a World History Perspective: Contributions of Medieval Female Saints,” at the World History Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA June 24-27, 2010.

“Journeys of Faith and Fortune: Christian Merchants in the Dar al-Islam,” at the annual meeting for Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction at Georgetown University, February, 2008.

“From Imposter to Imperialist: Ludovico De Varthema’s Journey from Italy to India 1502-1503,” 2005 WHA Annual Conference, Ifrane, Morocco, June, 2005.

“The Role of the Individual in World History,” Northwest Affiliate of the World History Association in Portland, Oregon October, 2004

Invited talk for the Early Slavists’ Seminar at Harvard’s Davis Center in Cambridge, MA. September 24, 2004. Topic: “Trade and Conversion: Afanasii Nikitin’s Voyage in World History.”

“In the Midst of the Faiths: Afanasii Nikitin’s Spiritual Journey in 15th presented at “World History: The Next Ten Years” Boston, March, 2004. Conference sponsored by the World History Association and The World History Center at Northeastern University.

Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies, Green Mountain College 2008- present Courses taught:
• Civilization of India
• Silk Road
• Mysticism: East and West
• Travelers’ Tales
• Islamic World
• Medieval Russia
• World Religions
• World History and the Environment
• Western Civilization
• Voices of Community (Freshman Writing Seminar)
• Delicate Balance (Senior capstone course)

Visiting Assistant Professor, Western Kentucky University 2007-2008 Courses taught:
• Islamic World (graduate course)
• Modern South Asia
• Western Civilization
• Colonial Latin America

Lecturer, Penn State University 2006-2007 Courses taught:
Western Civilization, Colonial Latin America, Survey of Indian History, World Civilizations I

Lecturer Washington State University 2004-2005 Courses taught:
Western Civilization, World History, and European Expansion 1400-1800 (graduate course)

Executive Committee member of the World History Association (WHA) January 2012 to present

• WHA Membership committee July 2012 to present

• WHA Program committee 2010 to 2012

• WHA Publication committee September 2012 to present

Director of Honors Program, Green Mountain College May 2012 to present

Book Review Editor World History Connected August 2010 to present

Editorial Board World History Connected August 2004 to present

Editorial Board Journal of World History October 2012 to present

Secretary-Treasurer for New England Regional World History Association September 2010 to present

Fulbright Committee, Green Mountain College August 2012 to present

Religious Life Committee, Green Mountain College November 2010 to present

International Programs Committee, Green Mountain College January 2011 to present

Morocco Study Abroad Course Director 2012 to present

Chair of Speakers Bureau, Green Mountain College 2010 to 2012

Academic Affairs Committee, Green Mountain College 2010 – 2011

Budget Advisory Committee, Green Mountain College January to July 2011

Faculty Mentor, Green Mountain College History Club September 2010 to 2012

New England Regional World History Association (Secretary-Treasurer and member of the Executive Council)

World History Association (Member of the Executive Council and Membership Committee)

American Academy of Religion (AAR)

FEEGI (Forum of European Expansion and Global Interaction)

International Big History Association (IBHA)

Salzburg, Austria July, 1998
Sponsor and participant of a one-week Young Presidents Organization (YPO) conference exploring the current, major political issues facing Europe. Keynote speakers: Simon Weisenthal (in Vienna), and Otto von Hapsburg (European Parliament).

Duties: chair of Holocaust segment on a genocide panel. I introduced and made arrangements for author Gerta Weissman Klein (author of All But My Life) who spoke alongside genocide victims from Rwanda and Croatia. Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria September, 1997

Participant in a two-week study tour in Warsaw and Krakow guided by Holocaust scholars (from Yad Vashem and Simon Wiesenthal Center) and survivors (Gerta Weissmann Klein).

Participated in a seven-day YPO geopolitical seminar in Budapest. The seminar consisted of daily education classes examining the complexities facing post- communist Europe. Keynote speakers in Budapest included: George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, Kurt Waldheim, former Prime Minister of Austria, Russia’s Prince Nickolas Romanoff, Parliament member Peter Zwack, Budapest Mayor Gabor Dempsky and Hungary’s President, Arpad Goncz.

Traveled to Bulgaria with a group of ten members led by Robert Gates, former director of the CIA. Istanbul, Turkey June/July 1996
Seven-day YPO geopolitical education conference featuring keynote speakers such as Mesut Yilmaz, Prime Minister of Turkey, and Tansu Ciller, former Prime Minister. Attended classes taught by Princeton University’s Near Eastern Studies Chair, Heath Lowry, faculty members of Ankara University, members of NATO’s International Staff, and members of the Turkish Parliament.

Scuola Insieme, Grado, Italy Summer 2003

• Nine week intensive Italian language study
St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia 2000 • CIEE Language Program, Spring Semester 2000

Tver’ State University, Tver’, Russia (Research and Language Courses) Fall 1997, Summer 1998, and Spring 2002
Norwich University Russian Language School, Northfield, VT. Summer 1997

India, Egypt, Morocco, Russia, China, Mexico, Croatia, Slovenia, France, England, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Canada, and Tahiti.

Dr. Marc Jason Gilbert
Title: NEH Endowed Chair in World History at Hawai’i Pacific University
Phone: (808) 638-2563

Dr. Heather Streets-Salter
Director of the World History Program at Northeastern University
Phone: (208) 669-0477

Dr. Al Andrea
Title: Professor Emeritus at University of Vermont and Past-President World History
Phone: 802-578-5896

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