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Dr Robert Portass

Robert Portass

Leverhulme-John Fell Early Career Research Fellow

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St Hilda's College

Dr Robert Portass (MA, DPhil, Oxon; Diploma de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela)

I am an Early Career Fellow and Junior Research Fellow at St Hilda's College, where I teach early medieval European history, some of the methodological papers for Prelims and Finals, and the Spanish language paper for Prelims.


I was an undergraduate in Modern History and Modern Languages at Oriel College, Oxford, which is where I first developed an interest in the history of Spain and Portugal. I then studied for the Diploma de Estudios Avanzados in History at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, from 2005 to 2007, before returning to Oriel College in 2007 to write a DPhil thesis. In 2008, I moved to Balliol College as the Peter Storey Scholar in History, leaving in 2011 in order to take up a three-year Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship and Junior Research Fellowship at St Hilda's College.

I work on the social and political history of early medieval Europe, with a particular focus on Iberia. My DPhil thesis, 'Society, Community and Power in Northern Spain: 700–1000', was examined in 2011 and is currently being revised for publication. It examined the articulation of social structures in both an elite and non-elite context in two regions of northern Spain, adopting a comparative methodology which incorporated an analysis of charters, chronicles, archaeological data and landscape analysis.

My Leverhulme project focuses on the scope of kingship and the workings of early medieval government in both early medieval Christian Spain and Anglo-Saxon England. I am interested in what we can say about political practice as a reflection of complex power structures and my project aims to show that politics between the Carolingian heyday and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance was not quite as rudimentary as is often argued.

Since 2008 I have co-convened the seminar series 'Approaches to Medieval Spain' with Graham Barrett. Beyond Oxford, I am a member of the research group 'De Emperadores a Reyes: Estructuras Sistémicas en Occidente (Siglos V-VI)', funded by the Ministerio de Ciencia de España, led by Prof. Santiago Castellanos, at the University of Leon.

Page last updated: 02/12/2013, at 10:11

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