Dr. Jim Brodman discovered his interest in history while studying at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., but was warned to avoid Spanish history, as it was hopelessly complicated.
So, of course, he soon enrolled at the University of Virginia to study medieval Spanish history.
Through the aegis of Edward Younger, an early graduate of UCA (then the Arkansas Normal School), who was dean of the Graduate School at Virginia, Brodman was offered a position at the then State College of Arkansas (now UCA) in 1972.
Brodman still remembers ? with some bemusement ? crossing the Arkansas River in the 103 heat in his new but un-air-conditioned Dodge Dart, towing a trailer with all of his earthly possessions and saying, as he passed through beautiful West Memphis, “What have I gotten myself into?”
What he got himself into was a fulfilling career that would span more than three decades.
After 31 years of dedication to teaching, research and service at the university, Brodman was recently named the College of Liberal Arts outstanding faculty award recipient for 2002-2003. He was honored at a reception last month.
?Dr. Bordman has been an asset to the College of Liberal Arts,? Dr. Maurice Lee, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said. ?He has helped the college and the department to maintain a high level of excellent scholarship through his publication of five books and numerous articles and presentations; he has served as a role model for research to younger faculty; he is responsible for teaching students about Medieval Spain, a subjects that is not taught at many other colleges and universities in the nation; and he is a good teacher.?
?While any sort of recognition is always flattering, that from one’s peers, from people who are really able to take measure of what we do, is particularly gratifying. I am
both honored and humbled by it,? Brodman said.
A specialist in medieval history, Brodman has a particular interest in the history of Spain, the history of medieval social welfare policy, and the history of religious institutions.
He is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain. In addition, he is interested in how computer technology can be applied to history, and to this end manages several Internet discussion lists and sites on the World Wide Web.
He also is the founder and director of LIBRO: The Library of Iberian Resources Online, a full-text library of monographs and other resources in Iberian history.
Brodman teaches numerous courses on the undergraduate and graduate level in the Department of History. His course offerings include everything from world history to the history of the Crusades to medieval civilization.
Brodman’s publications have emphasized the areas of medieval law, social policy and ecclesiastical institutions. His books include, ?Ransoming Captives in Crusader Spain: The Order of Merced on the Christian-Islamic Frontier,? whose original University of Pennsylvania Press edition has been supplanted with full-text internet edition, and ?Charity and Welfare: Hospitals and the Poor in Medieval Catalonia in the University of Pennsylvania Press’s Middle Ages Series.?
Currently, he is working on a broad study of the opera caritatis in medieval Europe.