MemberMatthew Firth

I am a PhD Candidate in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University, Adelaide Australia. My research focuses on cultural memory, historical narrative, and Anglo-Scandinavian acculturation in the tenth-thirteenth centuries, with a particular focus on the history of early medieval England as portrayed in the sagas of Icelanders.

MemberFraser McNair

I’m currently a visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds. The overall framework of my research is that of authority: how it was negotiated between different levels of power, how it operated in practice, and how it transformed between the earlier and later Middle Ages. To that end, my current research is focused on the relationship between bishops and kings between the late ninth and late eleventh centuries. In general terms, I am particularly interested in the production and use of documentary material, and in the relationship between life histories and historical processes.

MemberRyan T. Goodman

My research explores the intersection of gender and political culture in England and surrounding realms in the transition from the early to central (or ‘high’) middle ages, c. AD 900-1200, with a particular focus on the relationship between the ideals and practice of masculinity and kingship. I recently completed my PhD in Medieval History at the University of Manchester. My dissertation was entitled ‘”In a Father’s Place”: Anglo-Saxon Kingship and Masculinity in the Long Tenth Century.’ I completed my BA in History and Medieval & Renaissance Studies (2008) and my MA in European History (2012) at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, where my MA thesis explored ‘The Role of Royal Power in the Formation of an Anglo-Saxon State, circa 400-900 AD.’ I previously served, from 2012–2015, as a Teaching Instructor in East Carolina University’s Department of History, as part of the Italy Intensives study abroad program based in Certaldo, Tuscany. While there, I also served as the program’s Academic Coordinator and Writing Center Director, as well as the Scholarship Committee Chair, Student Life Director, and Social Media Coordinator.

MemberJames Maertens

I am about five foot nine inches, about 40 lbs. overweight, thinning hair, gray beard, with a wide assortment of debilitating medical conditions.  My hair is about brown in color and I am about fifty-seven years of age.  Mentally, about seventeen.  My work as Dean of Creative Writing and History of Magic at Bardwood is characterized by a great deal of thinking and reading, especially in the field of history of magic, boarding school stories, nineteenth-century Brit Lit. and philosophy.  I am at present celebrating my tenth year as a Free Mason and soon to be retired Secretary for Lake Harriet Lodge No. 277 A.F. & A.M. in Minnesota.  I’m a practicing druid, which means I spend a lot of time bathing in the spirits of the trees, the birds, and the animals; and that I confer regularly with elves and other otherworld beings.  My head is most often to be found in the clouds (or vice versa) and my lap under Minerva, my tabby cat and too-familiar familiar.  My favorite color is aquamarine blue and my favorite Harry Potter character is Luna Lovegood.  My favorite poet is either Keats or Yeats (they have to work it out between them), and my favorite nineteenth century novelist is Jane Austen, followed by Anthony Trollope.  I’m quite a fan of Thomas Hardy too, but its hard not to get depressed by his endings sometimes.  My favorite author of magical fantasy is Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.  I can identify very strongly with Mr. Norrell. (Not that I wear a wig.) (Not usually.)

MemberNicholas S.M. Matheou

I am a social historian specialising in the Middle East and Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, particularly Anatolia, Upper Mesopotamia and Caucasia (approximately modern-day Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as parts of northern Syria and Iraq). In particular my research focuses on the empire of New Rome (“Byzantium”), Armenian and Georgian polities in the central Middle Ages, and the city of Ani, between the ninth to and fourteenth centuries. I also takes a comparative perspective across the region, especially from Kurdish and Ottoman studies, as well as globally, from pre-history to the modern day. Through this research I theorise social-historical themes of hegemony and counterpower, ethnicity and nationhood, and critical political economy before, during and after the rise of capitalism. I aim towards a radical perspective on social history from an anarchist – that is, a methodologically anti-state – standpoint. I received my first degree in Ancient & Medieval History from the University of Edinburgh, before moving to the University of Oxford to complete first a master’s degree in Late Antique & Byzantine Studies, and then a doctoral dissertation in the Faculty of Oriental Studies titled ‘Situating the History attributed to Aristakes Lastiverc‘i: The Empire of New Rome & Caucasia in the Eleventh Century’. During my time as a postgraduate student I co-founded the international research network The Long History of Ethnicity & Nationhood at The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH), running a number of workshops, conferences and seminar series. At the IHR I will focus on developing my doctoral research into a monograph, and begin a new project titled ‘“The Fate of Unjust Cities”: Global History, Political Economy & the Abandoned City of Ani, 900-1400’. This radical global history and political economy of the abandoned city of Ani in central South Caucasia, modern-day eastern Turkey, will situate the city’s emergence, development and decline between the tenth and fourteenth centuries in macro regional and interregional transformations, particularly the Mediterranean Commercial Revolution and the emergent world-system generated by Mongol Eurasian hegemony, in connected micro analysis of developing social relations in the urban space. The project draws on Ani’s rich material remains, particularly the large corpus of monumental epigraphy, as well as numismatics, ceramics and architectural remains, supplemented by Armenian, Georgian, Greek and Islamic (Arabic & Persian) literary sources. Exploring and theorising the political economy of different state-systems, long durée histories of commercial capitalism, and subaltern resistance framed through the heuristics of hegemony and counterpower, the project touches on historical and social themes relevant across time and place.   Normal 0 false false false EN-GB KO X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

MemberThomas Mazanec

I research premodern Chinese literature and religion, as well as their dialogue with other cultures. I’m also interested in world literature, poetics, digital humanities, and translation studies. My publications cover a broad range of topics, from the problem of translating rhythm, to the evolution of a Sanskrit literary term in medieval China, to the potential contributions of network analysis to literary history. I’m especially fond of the art of literary translation and maintains a collection of bizarre and obscure translations of classical Chinese poetry into English. I’m currently revising the manuscript of my first book, Poet-Monks and the Invention of Chinese Buddhist Poetry, which explores the formation of a tradition of “poet-monks” during the ninth and tenth centuries, and the ways in which these monks sought to equate poetic and religious practice in their verses. My next project, Beyond Lyricism: Chinese Poetry in Other Modes, will explore the genres and practices which lie on the borderlines of “poetry” in early and medieval China. To learn more about my work, please visit

MemberMarc Philip Saurette

My research interests revolve around the lives and literary production of the monks of Cluny. The abbey of Cluny, located near Macon in Burgundy, was founded in the early tenth century as –what could be argued to be– a traditionally Carolingian form of monastery. Its life revolved around the cultivation of virtue and spiritual prestige through an unparalleled program of prayers, liturgical celebration and ritualized comportment. The monastery of Cluny was arguably one of the most prominent and powerful religious institutions from its founding to its dissolution during the French Revolution. Its first abbots were widely accepted as capable leaders in life and powerful saints after their death. By the twelfth century, the abbots of Cluny oversaw a vast network of houses spreading from England to the Holy Land. Under their tutelage, Cluny produced untold monks esteemed for their holiness and often chosen to become bishops and popes. Its abbots were advisers to kings and acted as architects of Church doctrine. The monks of Cluny did not withdraw from the secular world, but sought to engage with it. I have focused my research on three authors writing within the Cluniac mileu: the twelfth-century abbot of Cluny –Peter the Venerable– and two of his monks –Peter of Poitiers and Richard of Poitiers (also known as Richard of Cluny). Through the writing of these three monks, I seek to explore the world view, the power relationships and the forms of emotion disseminated from Cluny.

MemberMichail Kitsos

My research examines the process of identity formation and the ongoing crossing of religious and social boundaries between Jews and Christians in late antiquity and the Middle Byzantine period in the Mediterranean world. Focusing on an array of Christian anti-Jewish multivocal texts, among which are the Adversus or Contra Iudaeos dialogues, and rabbinic multivocal narratives between rabbis and “others,” I analyze the construction and impersonation of the “other” by both Christian and Jewish authors to create an effective rhetorical space in which they re-imagined themselves in relation to the “other.” My research interests also include the study of bigotry, violence, hate speech, and gendered language to investigate the interplay between divisive language and social construction and structure. For more information on my research focus, current and future work, see my personal website (

MemberSam Barber

I study the material and visual cultures of late ancient and early medieval Europe, with a special focus on the social histories of objects and buildings in the post-Roman world. My doctoral dissertation, entitled ‘”The Fitting Face of Empire’: Palaces and Power in the Early Middle Ages’, reincorporates a neglected class of monuments into the heart of debates surrounding the transformation of the ancient world. Though a constant through Antiquity and the Middle Ages (and beyond), palaces underwent dramatic changes architecturally, conceptually, and institutionally during this period. In this study, I show that palaces were not just ‘stages’ for political display, but social spaces in which the nature and extent of political authority was defined. Beginning with an architectural survey of palaces between the fourth and ninth centuries CE, I demonstrate that a coherent visual grammar of Late Roman palace architecture precipitously broke down after the Western Empire’s fragmentation. In its place arose a formally distinct configuration that responded to a changed lexicon for social display. Turning from architectural to social forms, I argue that the rituals of the palace were not unmitigated assertions of royal power, but a symbolic dialogue that negotiated the limits of political authority. In the project’s second half, my attention shifts to the networks between palaces and the landscapes in which they were embedded. In two case studies, focused on Northern Italy and the Frankish regnum, I show that palaces were essential instruments in the reordering of political space in post-Roman Europe. This project not only reconceptualises the role of palaces played in pre-modern political systems, but also connects early medieval architecture to broader conversations concerning the nature of political authority and its constitution. My interest in visual cultures on the ‘edge’ of hegemonic polities has led me to my next project, an investigation of artistic exchanges between the northern Spanish kingdom of Asturias (eighth to tenth centuries CE) and its ‘imperial’ neighbours: the Frankish kingdoms across the Pyrenees, the Byzantine Empire of the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Umayyad Caliphate of al-Andalus. Tentatively entitled Empire’s Edge: Mobility and Exchange in the Art of Asturias, this study seeks to re-evaluate Asturian visual culture in terms of the movement of people and objects across borders both real and imaginary. By emphasising the mobility of craftsmen, diplomats, luxury materials, and portable objects in the formation of a local and independent visual language, this project will both replace Asturian art in the broader context of patronage and production in the Early Middle Ages and offer a vital insight into the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean world before the millennium. My broader interests include the disciplinary formation and methodological development of the History of Art; social and anthropological theory; urban studies; and concepts of identity, ethnicity, and community in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.