Dr. Thomas Lecaque

Title: Assistant Professor of History
Dept.: History
Office: Jensen Hall 111

I'm a dual citizen, France and the United States. I was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris, France, and spent the first two years of my life in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, where my parents were professors at the University Ss. Cyril and Methodius. We moved back to the U.S. when I was two, and I grew up in Kirksville, Missouri. I started my undergraduate career as a theater major at Tulane University in New Orleans. I left in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina (a story for another day) and transferred to Truman State University, where I completed my bachelor's and master's degree. I did my Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, and have taught at UTK, SUNY-Orange in New York, and, since Fall 2017, here at Grand View.

I am happy to do Independent Studies or Special Research Projects with students on any topic in the broadly conceived pre-modern world (pre-1600ish), and I am always happy to correspond with anyone, at Grand View or elsewhere, on topics relating to the Middle Ages writ large.

Academic History

  • 2010-2015 University of Tennessee, Knoxville Ph.D. in History - Dissertation: "The Count of Saint-Gilles and the Saints of the Apocalypse: Occitanian Culture and Piety in the Time of the First Crusade", directed by Dr. Jay Rubenstein
  • 2008-2010 Truman State University, Kirksville, MO M.A. in English - Thesis: “Everything Made by Hand Perishes: The Cycle of Entropy in Wace’s Roman de Brut” directed by Dr. Christine Harker (English)
  • 2005-2008 Truman State University, Kirksville, MO B.A. in History with distinction, Minor in Philosophy & Religion
  • 2003-2005 Tulane University, New Orleans, LA Coursework as History and Theater Major

Start Date at Grand View

  • August 21, 2017

Areas of Expertise

  • Crusades
  • Christian-Muslim Relations
  • High Medieval History, esp. southern France
  • Intersection of video games and history

Research / Accomplishments

My primary research topic is the role of regional religious and cultural identity in medieval Europe and how those specific local and regional identities impact the motivation for and enacting of the First Crusade. My monograph, "Raymond of Saint-Gilles: Occitanian Piety and Culture in the Time of the First Crusade," looks at the life of the uncrowned king of southern France and how the specific devotional, political, and familial links he built in his life pre-Crusade impacted how he went about crusading and building relationships in the Levant.

Most recent publication

“Reading Raymond: The Bible of Le Puy, the Cathedral Library and the Literary Background of the Liber of Raymond d’Aguilers.” In The Uses of the Bible in Crusading Sources, eds Elizabeth Lapina and Nicholas Morton, Commentaria series (Leiden: Brill, 2017). P. 105-132. [Peer Reviewed] Presented at conferences in the US, UK, France, and Bulgaria Extensive archival experience in the U.S., UK, France, and Switzerland (some 30-odd separate archives)

Awards & Fellowships

  • Haslam Dissertation Fellowship (UTK), 2014-2015 [$30,000 total]
  • W.K. McClure Scholarship for the Study of World Affairs (UTK) [$4,000], 2014-2015
  • Birgit Baldwin Fellowship (Medieval Academy of America) (1st Alternate) [$20,000/yr], 2014-2016
  • Etienne Gilson Dissertation Grant (Medieval Academy of America), 2014 [$2,000]
  • Newton W. and Wilma C. Thomas Graduate Fellowship (UTK), 2010-2014 [$16,000/yr]
  • Galen Broeker Graduate Student Research Fellowship (UTK) [$5000], Summer 2013
  • Paul Barrette Graduate Student Travel Prize (UTK) [$250], May 2013
    History Department Graduate Travel Awards (UTK), various 2012-2015
  • Marco Institute Travel Awards (UTK), various 2010-2015
  • Newberry Consortium Travel Grant, February 2011
  • English Department Graduate Travel Award (TSU), March 2010
  • Historical Society Travel Award (TSU), March 2009
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Grant, Old French (TSU) [$2000], 2008

Professional Membership

  • International Medieval Society-Paris
  • Byzantine Studies Association of North America—Program Committee Member, 2017-present
  • EPISCOPUS
  • Society for the Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages
  • Council of Undergraduate Research

Personal Interests

Outside of the class room, my primary interests are pleasure reading (mostly fantasy and science fiction), theater both as an actor and as a viewer, and hiking. I spend as much time as possible with my family, indoors and outdoors, enjoying all of the wonderful opportunities and adventures Des Moines and Central Iowa offer.

Questions & Answers

What makes Grand View unique among other universities?
Grand View is a truly student-centered university--an incredibly rich variety of students from all backgrounds in small classes, working closely with their teachers, with a culture of focusing on the students as individuals inside and outside of the classroom. Many schools claim this as their mission, but I watch Grand View succeed at it every day.
What is your favorite part about working at Grand View?
Jobs, in the end, are largely about the people around you. I love doing what I do, but what makes Grand View so special are the people I get to work with. My colleagues are the kindest, hardest working, most empathetic people I know, who exemplify the best kind of teaching and mentoring. My students are fabulous--from diverse backgrounds with rich life experiences, hard working, funny, kind, willing to discuss and play with history while producing excellent work. 
Dr. Thomas Lecaque