- Associate Professor of Medieval History - University of Oxford
I am an historian of religion, power, and intellectual life in medieval Europe. I have been involved in developing the field of global medieval history, and new approaches to historical study that speak to the concerns of the mounting climate and environmental crisis.
I am currently working on a monograph, Medieval Histories of the Anthropocene, which explores questions concerning the relations between religion, power and the construction of public rationality in the building of medieval states across Eurasia. I am interested in how these centralising processes consciously dislocated humans from local ecosystems and specific and sustainable practices, while creating powerful and enduring narratives about civilisation, barbarism, and the use of resources.
A related, partly collaborative, series of projects ask about the future of our discipline, and of Humanities and Social Sciences more generally, in the politically, economically and ecologically unstable period that we are now entering. These include:
- co-convening the Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences network
- the Anthropocene Histories seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research
- and co-ordinating the 'Climates' special thematic strand for the 2021 International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds.
I have written and spoken widely on the contributions that historical perspectives can make to addressing climate change through better understanding of its "anthropogenic" causes, including: