- medieval historical writing
- diplomacy and communication
- intellectual history
I work on historical writing and the literary, political, and intellectual culture of the high Middle Ages, with interests in the British Isles, the Anglo-Norman world, and the North Sea zone. I also research the social and material culture of the Norman Mediterranean world, especially Sicily and southern Italy. In my work I apply cross-disciplinary and comparative approaches to the past for a better understanding of medieval people and ideas. Several core questions are at the heart of my work. How did historians writing in the Middle Ages think about the past? How do art, architecture and archaeological remains tell stories about the thoughts and values of the people who created and interacted with them? What insights does the study of writing and rewriting history in the Middle Ages offer into diplomacy and conquest, both in practice and in perception? How can phenomenology—the study and philosophy of lived experience—and recent research on emotions in history help us to retrieve medieval ideas about human thought and feeling?
In addition to my monograph, I have co-edited two books: Designing Norman Sicily: Material Culture and Society (forthcoming, 2020), which is an interdisciplinary study of art, architecture, archaeology in high medieval Sicily, and a companion to a twelfth-century chronicler and ‘Renaissance man’, Discovering William of Malmesbury (2017). I have published articles in international journals and books on the reception of the classics, the Anglo-Norman vision of Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and Celtic history, attitudes towards conquest and diplomacy, and the experience of battle in the Middle Ages. For full details, please see the publications page.
Previously, I held an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Mainz in Germany (2017–2019) and the John Cowdrey Junior Research Fellowship in History at St Edmund Hall, Oxford (2015–2018).
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