Joel S. Pattison

Photo of Joel S. Pattison

Assistant Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 111

Spring 2024 Class Hours

Mon / Wed – 11:00 am to 12:15 pm
Tue / Thu – 9:55 am to 11:10 am

Spring 2024 Office Hours

HIST 122 – Mon / Tue – 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
HIST 326 – Mon / Wed – 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
And By Appointment


B.A. Yale University (2009)
M.Phil. University of Cambridge (2010)
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (2019)

Current Committees

  • Committee on Educational Affairs


Joining the Williams History Department in 2022, Joel Pattison is a historian of the medieval Mediterranean. In particular, he is interested in merchant culture and the role of religion in creating common expectations of trade and exchange between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Italy and the Western Mediterranean. His current book project, Trade and Religious Boundaries in the Medieval Maghrib, evaluates the influence of Islamic law and Christian canon law in structuring trade between Genoa and the Maghrib between 1150 and 1300 CE. He has received a Fulbright award for study in Italy, a Marian and Andrew Heiskel Rome Prize in Medieval Studies at the American Academy in Rome, and an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania.

He holds a PhD in History and Medieval Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, an MPhil in Medieval History from Cambridge University, and a BA in History from Yale University.

Selected Publications

“Wine, Taxation, and the State in Ḥafṣid Tunis: Ethical Consumption and Public Finance in a Medieval Muslim City.” Forthcoming in Speculum.

“Italy and the Hafsids in the Medieval Period.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History (June 2023):

“Trade and Immigration in Early Ḥafṣid Tunis: Evidence from Genoa.” Journal of North African Studies (May 2020).

“A Golden Tree in the ‘Garden of Pages’: The Genoese Embassy to Morocco of 1292,” Journal of Medieval Worlds Vol. 1, No. 4 (December 2019).

Theses Advised

Emily Kuwaye ’23Print, Knowledge, and the Making of Race: Examining the Life and Legacy of Linschoten’s Itinerario. Winner of the Robert Dalzell Thesis Prize in History, awarded for the thesis that best exemplifies outstanding original research using primary sources.