Maryanne Kowaleski is the Joseph Fitzpatrick S.J. Distinguished Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Fordham University. Her publications focus on medieval economic, maritime, and gender history, as well as on demography and bioarchaeology. She is currently coediting a collection of essays titled Peasants and Lords in the Medieval English Economy: Essays in Honour of Bruce M. S. Campbell (Brepols, 2015) and completing an edition of documents on medieval maritime London.
At Radcliffe, Kowaleski is analyzing the types of work, economic strategies, languages, value systems, and family structures of those residing near the sea in medieval England. The project contributes to current debates about the relationship between humans and natural resources by emphasizing how ecology shaped human lives in the premodern period. Her study attributes a powerful role to marine ecosystems in promoting a distinctive subculture among the inhabitants of coastal villages, small port towns, and even quayside neighborhoods in larger seaports.
Kowaleski earned a BA at the University of Michigan, an MA and a PhD at the University of Toronto, and a license at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, in Toronto. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Huntington Library, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is involved in a variety of digital projects at Fordham University and for the Medieval Academy of America, which she served as president in 2012–2013.