Postgraduate Spotlight: Christina Grundmann

Blog written by Tina Grundmann. Tina is a second-year PhD student in Medieval History. You can follow Tina on Twitter @TinaGrund.

Born and raised in Germany, Tina came to Medieval History via several detours. Her first love was paleontology, but after a grueling summer internship digging up fossils in the Messel Pit and the prospect of having to take science classes in college (the horror!), she switched to her second love: history. Studying at the University of Trier in Germany’s oldest city chock-full of Roman ruins, the plan was to study Ancient History and Archeology, but Tina quickly changed her focus to Medieval History after taking a class about women in the twelfth century. The class was given by Professor Alison Beach, who was a visiting professor in Trier at the time and had no idea that she was essentially recruiting her future doctoral student.

After a year studying abroad in the US, Tina took another detour. Driven by her love for language, traveling, and teaching, she started an additional degree in teaching German as a foreign language. She completed her Magister in History in 2016 with the thesis ‘Exploring the Boundaries of Femininity in the Letters of Heloise and Abelard’ and then remained at Trier for another year to finish her certification to teach German. During this time, she worked as a research assistant at the university, gave workshops for young adults about gender, sexual agency and relationships, and continued her long running job at a bookstore. 

Deciding not to put all her eggs in one basket due to the difficult outlook on both the academic and the selling-physical-books job market, Tina sought opportunities for language teaching as well as doctoral positions. In 2017, she received a DAAD language assistant grant to teach German at a US university. This history gap year would have given her time to apply for doctoral scholarships to support a PhD in Germany; however, her teaching assignment took her to the Ohio State University, where Professor Beach had taken a position. This coincidental meeting led to a grad school application at Ohio State and what Tina thought would be a five-year stay in the US. Instead in 2019, Professor Beach took a position in St Andrews, which gave a very happy and excited Tina the opportunity to transfer here.

At St Andrews, Tina continues her studies into medieval women’s letters that started with Heloise and is now taking her all over the monasteries of France, Germany, and Austria. Her focus lies specifically on emotions and friendship, both to examine how the religious women of the twelfth century built, curated, and expressed their relationships with people outside of their monastic walls and how these women represented themselves to the outside world, be it as nuns, abbesses, or visionaries.

When she is not chasing down women’s letters, Tina enjoys relaxing with a good book, or far more often these days, a good TV show. Living close to any large body of water for the first time, she loves taking walks on the beach (it also allows her to pet the neighborhood cats, a very important activity, especially during lockdowns). She is an avid player of the traditional German card game Doppelkopf, now often online since this game is, astonishingly enough, not known in Scotland. To this day, Tina is still a dinosaur enthusiast, so please feel free to share any kind of dinosaur news or pictures with her.

Martinmas Semester 2021 Roundup

Staff News

Upper College Library, University of St Andrews, St Andrews. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: GMC-20-31-9

Congratulations to the researchers on the ERC advanced grant project Nr. 694656 ‘Roma Civic Emancipation Between the Two World Wars’ for being granted an extension for another 18 months!

Congratulations are also in order for Claudia Kreklau! She has been shortlisted for the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Emerging Scholars Award of 2021 for her most recent article, ‘Neither Gendered nor a Room: The Kitchen in Central Europe and the Masculinization of Modernity, 1800-1900’.

Milinda Banerjee recently co-founded a book series on South Asian intellectual history with Cambridge University Press.

Staff Activity

Between 1-2 September, Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov organised a large panel (with 20 presentations) at the Annual Meeting of the Gypsy Lore Society (1-3 September, Prague, Czech Republic). The panel was titled ‘Roma in the Period between WWI and WWII’ and was organised as part of the ERC Advanced Grant ‘RomaInterbellum’. As part of it, Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov presented a paper entitled ‘In Search of Own State: Roma Attempts to Create Autonomy before WWII’. Raluca Bianca Roman presented a paper entitled ‘A Backdrop to Civic Activism? Roma Voices within the Finnish “Gypsy Mission” during the Interwar Period’ (with Risto Blomster). Sofiya Zahova presented a paper entitled ‘The Monument of “Serbian Gypsy Youth to its Heroes” in the Context of Yugoslav Romani Activism in the Interwar Period’.

On 5 September, Tomasz Kamusella gave a talk entitled ‘Jidysz: między językiem niemieckim a Zagładą [Yiddish: Between German and the Holocaust]’, on the occasion of the European Day of Jewish Culture in Wroclaw, Poland. Organised by the Municipality of Wroclaw and the Bente Kahan Foundation.

On 8 September, Joe Gazeley gave a lecture for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office titled Cooperation, competition and continuity in UK-France Africa policy.

On 9 September, Chandrika Kaul gave the opening keynote ‘What do they know of Kipling who only Kipling know: Mediascapes of Empire’ at the Kipling in the News: Journalism, Empire, and De-colonisation international conference, City University, London.  

On 16 September, Aileen Fyfe was a plenary panellist at the interdisciplinary ‘Metascience 2021’ conference, bringing a historian’s perspective to the sociologists and data scientists who were discussing ‘What is metascience? Methods, disciplines, purposes’ (Answer: on this side of the Atlantic, it’s usually called ‘research on research’). She was also busy during this year’s Peer Review Week (20-24 Sept), taking part in a moderated conversation on diversity and inclusion in peer review, and specifically, ‘Does WHO you are influence HOW you conduct peer review?’ (Answer: yes!)

On 22 September, Milinda Banerjee delivered a lecture on Research Methodology and Scope in the Field of Humanities as part of a Methodology Workshop in Humanities, organised by the Department of ICL, Assam University, Silchar

On 25 September, Justine Firnhaber-Baker gave a paper entitled ‘The Freedom of the Forest in Late Medieval France’, The Names of Freedom: Experiences and Practices of Freedom in the Late Middle Ages, University of Seville, Spain.

On 29 September, Elena Marushiakova took part in the discussion seminar of Academia of Romani studies in Smolenice Congress centre of Slovak Academy of Sciences with the presentation ‘Romano džaniben in perspective of editor in chief of the journal Romani Studies’.

On 29 September, Margaret Connolly presented on ‘Medieval Manuscript Fragments and the Vanishing Landscape of the 19th-Century Album’at the University of Stirling.

On 30 September, Milinda Banerjee was part of the ILCR-organised panel discussion, ‘Forced Migration and Refugee Resettlement in the Long 1940s: A Connected and Global History’. On 1 October, he presented a lecture entitled ‘From Global Intellectual History to Global Theory: An Agenda for the Capitalocene’ for the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata. On 7 October, he was invited to give a lecture as part of the webinar on Globalization, Democracy and Nationalism: Past, Present and Future of India. You can watch it on YouTube here.

On 2 October, Margaret Connolly  made a joint presentation (with Mrs Rachel Hart, Special Collections) on ‘Identifying Early Scottish Notaries Database: (Slow) Progress During Times of Covid’ at the Scottish Legal History Group AGM and Conference, University of Edinburgh. On 8 October, Prof Connolly also spoke on ‘Digital Plenty and the Poverty of the Page: Do Printed Facsimiles Still Have Value?’ The Digital Medieval Manuscript: Expert Meeting, CeMManT.

On 8-9 October, the Centre for Anatolian and East Mediterranean Studies (CAEMS) at the University of St Andrews hosted the first workshop as part of the Sufi Manuscript Cultures 1200-1800 research project. This project is primarily funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

On 9 October, Chandrika Kaul was a commentator and discussant for Channel 5’s Princess Michael: The Controversial Royal

On 11 October, Justine Firnhaber-Baker appeared on the podcast Historically Thinking with Al Zambone, Episode 227: The First French Revolution to talk about her new book The Jacquerie Revolt of 1358.

On 16 October, Chandrika Kaul was also an expert commentator on the Channel 5 historical documentary Marina of Greece: The Forgotten Royal.

On 21 October, Amy Blakeway gave the talk ‘Mary Queen of Scots: The Power and the Glory’ at the British Library.

On 22 October, Tomasz Kamusella was featured on the BASEES podcast, Episode 4: ‘The Minority Question in Poland: Past and Present’.

On 22 October, Milinda Banerjee was a panelist on the virtual round-table discussion ‘From Empires to Nation-States? – Decolonial Imaginaries and Internationalist Visions’ at the conference ‘(Re)Writing the International’, by Millennium: Journal of International Studies. The same day he was also a panelist on the round-table discussion ‘Millenarianism in South Asia: Critical Reflections across Time and Space’ for Fugitive Words: India’s Political Ideas in Its Vernaculars. On 29 October, Dr Banerjee spoke on ‘From “New Jews” to “External Proletariat”: Transnational Horizons of Bengali Refugee Subjectivity’ at the conference ‘Labeling and the Management of Displacement’, Osnabrück University. On 31 October, he was a discussant for the Rammohun Roy Reappraisal at 250 Society‘s lecture, ‘What we talk about when we talk about Rammohun Roy’.

On 13 November, Chandrika Kaul was a Contributor and Discussant for the historical documentary ‘Monty: Our WW2 Hero’, Channel 5.

Staff Publications

Ansari, Ali‘A Royal Romance: The Cult of Cyrus the Great in Modern Iran’Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 31:3 (July 2021), pp. 405-419.

Banerjee, Milinda‘Decolonize Intellectual History! An Agenda for the Capitalocene’Journal of the History of Ideas (19 May 2021).

Blakeway, Amy. ‘Now Murder and War Uprises’, in Susan Doran (ed.), Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens (British Library Publishing, 2021).

Blakeway, Amy‘Reassessing the Scottish Parliamentary Records, 1528–48: Manuscript, Print, Bureaucracy and Royal Authority’, Parliamentary History 40:3 (October 2021), pp. 417-442.

The Scores. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: PD-0000-7975

Blakeway, Amy and Laura Stewart. ‘Writing Scottish Parliamentary History, c.1500–1707’Parliamentary History 40:1 (February 2021), pp. 93-112.

Cecchinato, AndrewL’educazione giuridica di Thomas Jefferson (Il Formichiere, 2021).

Cecchinato, Andrew‘The Nature of Custom: Legal Science and Comparative Legal History in Blackstone’s Commentaries’, in William Eves, John Hudson, Ingrid Ivarsen, and Sarah White (eds), Common Law, Civil Law, and Colonial Law Essays in Comparative Legal History from the Twelfth to the Twentieth Centuries (Cambridge, 2021), pp. 140-160.

Connolly, Margaret and Thomas Gibson Duncan (eds). The Middle English ‘Mirror’: Sermons from Quinquagesima to Pentecost (Heidelberg, 2021).

Cox, Rory‘History, Terrorism and the State’, in Richard English (ed.), The Cambridge History of Terrorism (Cambridge University Press, 2021), pp. 571-593.

Dawson, TomJoanna Hambly, William Lees, and Sarah Miller. ‘Proposed Policy Guidelines for Managing Heritage at Risk Based on Public Engagement and Communicating Climate Change’The Historic Environment: Policy and Practice 12:3-4 (August 2021), pp. 375-394.

Eves, Will, John HudsonIngrid Ivarsen, and Sarah White (eds). Common Law, Civil Law, and Colonial Law: Essays in Comparative Legal History from the Twelfth to the Twentieth Centuries (Cambridge, 2021).

Ferris, Kate‘Women and Alcohol Consumption in Fascist Italy’Gender & History 37 (September 2021).

Firnhaber-Baker, Justine. ‘The Judicial Duel in Later Medieval France: Procedure, Ceremony, and Status’, in M. Cecilia Gaposchkin and Jay Rubenstein (eds), Political Ritual and Practice in Capetian France: Essays in Honour of Elizabeth A. R. Brown (Turnhout: Brepols, 2021), pp. 399-430.

Firnhaber-Baker, Justine. ‘The Monks and the Masses at Saint-Leu-d’Esserent: Peasant Politics in Northern France before the Jacquerie’, in Miriam Müller (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Medieval Rural Life (Routledge, 2021), pp. 99-112.

Firnhaber-Baker, Justine. ‘Publishing a First Monograph: From Proposal to Print’Research Professional (1 July 2021). 

Firnhaber-Baker, JustinePublishing a First Monograph: From Thesis to Proposal’Research Professional (24 June 2021).

Firnhaber-Baker, Justine‘Stepping Up, part 1: Supervising PhD Students’Research Professional (14 October, 2021).

Firnhaber-Baker, Justine‘Stepping Up, part 2: Managing Collaborations’Research Professional (21 October 2021).

Firnhaber-Baker, Justine and Timothy Owens, Medieval French roads and bridges (interactive digital map).

Greenwood, Timothy. ‘Representations of Rulership in Late Antique Armenia’, in Hartmut Leppin, Alexandra Hasse-Ungeheuer, and Philip Forness (eds), The Good Christian Ruler in the First Millennium: Views from the Wider Mediterranean World in Conversation (Berlin, 2021), pp. 181-203.

Halstead, Huw‘Cyberplace: From Fantasies of Placelessness to Connective Emplacement’Memory Studies 14:3 (June 2021), pp. 561-571.

Halstead, Huw‘“We did commit these crimes”: Post-Ottoman Solidarities, Contested Places, and Kurdish Apology for the Armenian Genocide on Web 2.0’Memory Studies 14:3 (June 2021), pp. 634-649.

Hoskins, Andrew and Huw Halstead‘The New Grey of Memory’Memory Studies 14:3 (June 2021), pp. 675-685.

Humfress, Caroline. ‘Beyond the (Byzantine) state: towards a user theory of jurisdiction’, in Nico Krisch (ed.), Entangled Legalities beyond the (Byzantine) State (CUP, 2021), pp. 353-375.

Kamusella, Tomasz‘Belarussian: An Extremist Language?’ (22 June 2021).

Kamusella, Tomasz‘Biedni Polacy patrzą na granicę [Poor Poles cast Glances on the Frontier]’Studio Opinii (17 October, 2021).

Kamusella, Tomasz‘Bulgaria’s Secret Empire: An Ultimatum to North Macedonia’Journal of Balkan and Black Sea Studies 6 (June 2021), pp. 155-212.

Kamusella, TomaszEthnicity and estate: the Galician Jacquerie and the Rwandan Genocide compared’Nationalities Papers (May 2021), pp. 1-20.

Kamusella, Tomasz‘How China combined authoritarianism with capitalism to create a new communism’The Conversation (26 October 2021).

Kamusella, TomaszHow many communist states exist in the early 21st century?’New Eastern European (23 November 2021).

Kamusella, Tomasz‘Israel: The Last Ottoman state’New Eastern Europe (2 June 2021).

Kamusella, Tomasz‘Polskie Estado Novo’ (28 May 2021).

Kamusella, Tomasz‘Russian and English: Minority Languages in Europe?’Slavica Wratislaviensia 174 (June 2021), pp. 137-150.

Kamusella, TomaszRządzący zapomnieli o najważniejszych naukach płynących ze straszliwej lekcji Zagłady [The government forgot the most important lesson from the horror of the Holocaust]’, Gazeta Wyborcza (2021).

Kamusella, TomaszSeasons in Opole / Oppeln: An Elgin Marbles Case?’ (17 September 2021).

Kamusella, TomaszWords in Space and Time: A Historical Atlas of Language Politics in Modern Central Europe (CEU Press, 2021).

Kamusella, Tomasz. ‘Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Romism in the concept of Polish literature’, in Hristo Kyuchukov, Sofiya Zahova and Ion Duminica (eds), Romani History and Culture: Festschrift in Honor of Prof. Dr. Vesselin Popov (Lincom Europa, 2021), pp. 245-260. 

Lopez Jerez, Montserrat‘Factor Endowments, Vent for Surplus and Involutionary Process in Rural Developing Economies’Economic History of Developing Regions (August 2021).

Mason, Roger. ‘Dame Scotia and the Commonweal: vernacular humanism in The Complaynt of Scotland (1550)’, The Medieval Journal 10:1. Special Issue: Late Medieval and Early Modern Scotland: Literary and Historical Approaches (2021), pp. 129-150. 

Mason, Roger. ‘The Declaration of Arbroath in print, 1680–1705’, The Innes Review 72:2 (2021), pp. 158-176.

Mason, Roger and Rhiannon Purdie (eds). The Medieval Journal 10:1. Special Issue: Late Medieval and Early Modern Scotland: Literary and Historical Approaches (2021). 

Peacock, Andrew. ‘Urban agency and the city notables of mediaeval Anatolia’Medieval Worlds. Comparative and Interdisciplinary Studies 14 (2021), pp. 22-34.

Peacock, AndrewIndo-Persian Manuscripts’Iran 59:2 (June 2021), pp. 147-150.

Peacock, Andrew‘‘Iyani, a Shirazi Poet and Historian in the Bahmani Deccan’Iran: Journal of British Institute of Persian Studies 59:2 (July 2021), pp. 169-186.

Randjbar-Daemi, Siavush‘The Tudeh Party of Iran and the land reform initiatives of the Pahlavi state, 1958-64’Middle Eastern Studies (September 2021).

Roman, RalucaSofiya Zahova and Aleksandar Marinov (eds). Roma Writings: Roma Literature and Press in Central, South Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th century until World War II (Leiden, 2021).

Schultz, Karie‘Catholic Political Thought and Calvinist Ecclesiology in Samuel Rutherford’s Lex, Rex (1644)’Journal of British Studies (August 2021).

Watson, Elise. ‘Networks of Devotion: Auction Catalogues and the Catholic Book Trade in Amsterdam, 1650-1700’, in Arthur der Weduwen, Andrew Pettegree, and Graeme Kemp (eds), Book Trade Catalogues in Early Modern Europe (Leiden, 2021), pp. 193-211.

Weber, Lina‘Doom and Gloom: The Future of the World at the End of the Eighteenth Century’History 106:371 (2021), pp. 409-428.

Weber, Lina‘The First Publication of Dugald Stewart’s Lectures on Political Economy’History of Political Economy 53 (2021), pp. 721-744.

Weber, Lina‘Reichtum als Gefahr für die Handelsrepublik. Ökonomischer Patriotismus in der niederländischen Aufklärung’Traverse: Zeitschrift für Geschichte (2021). 

Zahova, Sofiya. ‘Romani Activism in Interwar Yugoslavia’, in Hristo Kyuchukov, Sofiya Zahova and Ion Duminica (eds), Romani History and Culture: Festschrift in Honor of Prof. Dr. Vesselin Popov (Lincom Europa, 2021), pp. 152-168.

Student & Alumni News

St Andrews town from West Sands.
Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Libraries and Museums, ID: PD-0000-10373

Congratulations to PhD student Sofya Anisimova! She has been awarded the the J Barbara Northend PhD Award from the British Federation of Women Graduates.

Many congratulations to St Andrews historian Jonathan Triffitt for being jointly awarded this year’s prize for an outstanding PhD thesis on German history by the German Historical Institute London. Jonathan successfully defended his thesis (“Twilight of the Princes: The Fall and Afterlife of Monarchy in Southern Germany, 1918-1934”) in January 2021 and was presented with the prize at a ceremony on 5 November 2021.

PhD student James Inglis showed actor Jack Lowden around his National Museums Scotland exhibition on typewriters; listen to their conversation in to the Meet Me at the Museum podcast with Jack Lowden (The section on typewriters begins 28 minutes in).

On 17 September, School of History alumnus Drew Thomas opened the ‘Gefälschte Luther’ exhibition at the Reformation Research Library in Wittenberg, Germany. The exhibition, which he curated, focuses on the counterfeiting of Martin Luther’s works during the Reformation.

Student & Alumni Publications

Abernethy, John. ‘”Not aine fit tym for doing your lordship’s business”: The Bothwell Affair and the Covenanting Revolution, c. 1591-1647’Scotia: Interdisciplinary Journal of Scottish Studies 43 (2021).

Chapman, John, MA (Hons) Mediaeval & Modern History (1961). Richard Sorge, the GRU and the Pacific War (Renaissance Books, 2021).

Dillenburg, Elizabeth, Howard Louthan, and Drew B. Thomas (eds). Print Culture at the Crossroads: The Book and Central Europe (Brill, 2021).

Earnshaw, James‘Anglican Army Chaplains’ Responses to Prostitution on the Western Front, 1914–1919′First World War Studies (August 2021), pp. 1-21.

Georgakakis, Panagiotis‘Delivering the News from Abroad: French-Language Gazettes Published in the Dutch Republic during the Second Half of the 17th Century’University of Toronto Quarterly 89:4 (April 2021), pp. 657-674.

Gibson, Jonathan. ‘”A Place To Speak One’s Conscience In”: Disciplines of Debate in the Protectorate Parliaments, 1654–9′Parliamentary History 40:3 (2021), pp. 443-461.

Koschek, Marcel‘TEKA: A Transnational Network of Esperanto-Speaking Physicians’The Hungarian Historical Review 10:2 (2021), pp. 243-266.

Michael, Leonard‘National Socialist Propaganda in Late Reza-Shah Iran: The Case of Khaterat-e Hitler by Mohsen Jahansuz’British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (July 2021).

Thomas, Drew B. ‘The Lotter Printing Dynasty: Michael Lotter and Reformation Printing in Magdeburg’, in Elizabeth Dillenburg, Howard Louthan and Drew B. Thomas (eds), Print Culture at the Crossroads: The Book and Central Europe (Brill, 2021), pp. 245–68.

Thomas, Drew B. Selling Luther: Printing Counterfeits in Reformation Augsburg’, in Rosamund Oates and Jessica G. Purdy (eds), Communities of Print: Books and Their Readers in Early Modern Europe (Brill, 2021), pp. 17-38.

Wagner, Joseph. ‘John Browne’s Transatlantic Enterprise: Scottish Sugar Manufacturing, Caribbean Commerce, and the Colonisation of St Vincent in the 1660s’, Scottish Historical Review 100:252 (April 2021), pp. 129-137.

Staff Spotlight: Riccardo Bavaj

Blog written by Professor Riccardo Bavaj. Prof Bavaj is a historian of modern Germany with an interest in transnational history. His latest edited volume with Konrad Lawson and Bernhard Struck, Doing Spatial History, is out now with Routledge. It may be read alongside this open-access Guide to Spatial History. 

A few years ago, Frances Stonor Saunders gave a witty and thought-provoking lecture entitled ‘Where on Earth are you?’ The question I want to ask on this blog is: How on earth did I get here?

My wife always wanted to live in Rome. Instead, we are in St Andrews. Wrong direction, wrong size, definitely the wrong climate. So why am I where I am? Let’s start at the beginning: I was born in Aachen. That’s the town where Charlemagne was crowned in 800. They call him ‘Kaiser Karl’ there, as if he was the only emperor in history called Charles.

It’s probably defeating the purpose of this blog, but my school years were much more formative than my university years. This thought really hit me recently while writing a piece for a Festschrift of my former school. Before the pandemic hit, my school was planning to celebrate its 150th anniversary. It’s named after Queen Victoria—no, not that one, the one who got married to Our Fritz (strictly speaking, she was Crown Princess then, but let’s not get side-tracked). My favourite subjects were geography, German language & literature, music, and Latin. School proved crucial to who I am, but it was university that proved crucial to what I do.

I initially wanted to study geography. I probably would have, if not for the (false) rumour that studying geography didn’t lead anywhere. I studied history and economics instead. If anyone asked what I was planning to do afterwards, I would usually say ‘I want to become a journalist’, which was the stock phrase used at the time by students enrolled in ‘Magister Artium (M.A.)’ programmes. It sounded better than: ‘I dunno.’ Why did I study in Bonn? Because it was close to Aachen. No rankings available in those days, or at least not in Germany. My choices were informed by two factors: proximity and naivety. Bonn turned out to be fine, though. In fact, it is now even officially a ‘University of Excellence’—and, as it happens, one of St Andrews’ strategic partners.

I dabbled in lots of areas, from classics to medieval, early modern, and Eastern European history. I tried to learn Russian for a couple of years, and at one point, I was introduced to bizarre cartoons in Romanian (as a matter of fact, my first academic article appeared in the Journal of East Central European Studies). As an Erasmus student (those were the days!), I went to Southampton and learned about Chartism, E.P. Thompson, and the ‘new political history’ so hotly debated at the time.

My scholarly meanderings took a decisive turn when I signed up for a course on the Third Reich. This course was not so much concerned with the straightforward ‘history’ of Nazi Germany. Instead, it focused on the latest trends in historiography. In hindsight, I’d say this was the aspect of my studies that really excited me. Quarrelling historians. I loved it. The course also showed me a path to my Master’s topic: Nazism and modernity. This allowed me to throw myself into a sea of sociological and philosophical musings about modernity, from Benjamin and Weber to Bauman and Foucault. Not much of this made it into the book that eventually came out of my MA thesis. Nonetheless, these thinkers and their works have stuck with me ever since.

A good colleague of mine once told me about the advice given to them by a professor: ‘Only go into academia when you don’t know what else to do.’ Well I, for one, still don’t know. What I do know is that after my PhD job prospects in German academia were bleaker than ever. I distinctly remember how I felt the day after my doctoral exams (an old-style Rigorosum, basically a Prussian version of the Ironman, but that’s another story). I looked on the central online forum for German historians, searching for a job… I took what I saw to be an unmistakeable injunction to ‘get lost’.

My late geography teacher, who had lived in the States for a while, had been the first to quote me the mantra: ‘go where the job is’. In my case, this meant: ‘go abroad’. But not just yet. I took a little detour via Münster, where I joined an interesting species of academics called ‘regional historians’. It was refreshingly different from what I had done before. It injected a previously absent sensitivity to the dimension of space into my historical approach. And, in a nice twist of fate, it allowed me to reconnect with my dormant passion for geography. The detour via Münster was well worth my while, and I still love the place (incidentally, it’s also the setting for my favourite team in the German crime series Tatort).

So how did I get to St Andrews? Well, one day the obsessive browsing of that online forum proved to be profitable. A job appeared. A real one. Even a permanent one – in my field! The rest is, well, not just history. Sometimes, I still find it peculiar that life has led me here. Less peculiar is that I like where I am. This is now my home. Pace Brexit, pace Rome.

Disability History Month 2021: Disability in Print, an Online Resource for Disability History

Blog written by Dr Elise Watson. Elise is a postdoctoral research assistant for the Universal Short Title Catalogue, where she works on print in early modern France and the Low Countries. You can find her on twitter at @elisewatson_. The exhibition was co-curated with Dr Graeme Kemp, Deputy Director of the USTC, and supplemented by contributions from Tilly Guthrie, Dr Shanti Graheli, Laura Incollingo, Philippe Schmidt and Hanna de Lange. Thank you all!

For undergraduates and those new to history, especially in burgeoning research areas, it is easy to feel daunted by the lack of easy availability of sources. Disability history, while a vibrant, dynamic, and quickly-growing field, is still new enough that primary source repositories are not yet widespread. The online Disability in Print exhibition, hosted by the School of History and the Universal Short Title Catalogue project over Disability History Month, aims to address this need. With it, we hope to present a starting point for students interested in printed sources for early modern disability history.

This online exhibition is intended to demonstrate how people with disabilities depicted themselves and were depicted in early modern printed sources. The necessity of hard physical labour and frequent war, plague, and famine meant that most people in this period would probably have had some physical or mental impairment that we might now define as a disability. While the marginalization of people with disabilities was ubiquitous in early modern society and our own, the concept of disability itself was socially and contextually contingent and ever-changing. Chirologia, a work by London physician John Bulwer, advocated for biolinguistic diversity and a positive view of the Deaf community as early as 1644.

Chirogram from Chirologia (London: Thomas Harper, 1644), USTC 3047872, sig. L6r. Image made available by the Wellcome Library.

In this book, Bulwer suggested that hand gestures, rather than spoken language, were the most natural and universal form of human communication. Elizabeth Bearden argues that John Bulwer viewed the condition of deafness as a serious advantage in the mastery of sign language, which he saw as the future of universal language. To be Deaf, he argued, meant that one had more direct access to the fundamentals of communication. He even dedicated a later book, Philocophus (1648) to ‘all other intelligent and ingenious Gentlemen, who as yet can neither heare nor speake’ (sig. A2r). His view was unequivocally positive: ‘To me who have studied your perfections, and well observed the strange recompences Nature afords you,’ he observed in a later book, , ‘I behold nothing in you but what may be a just object of admiration!’ (A2v).

Bulwer, who wrote these works in his forties, also attempted to put these ideas into practice. He adopted a girl and named her ‘Chirothea’ (literally, Hand Goddess’), indicating that she likely used the language herself. In Philocophus, he advocated creating a school for deaf and mute people where communication by gesture could be taught.

Works such as Chirologia remind us that early modern views on and definitions of disability were not static but contextual and changed over time. In this vein, we have planned this exhibition as an organic one, growing over the course of Disability History month as we come across new images and sources to add. If you are interested in contributing, you are more than welcome to contact either Graeme ( or myself (!

P.S.: for a final bonus piece written to mark Disability History Month in the School please click here to learn about Esperanto being made accessible to the blind!

Postgraduate Spotlight: Kate McGregor

Blog written by Kate McGregor. Kate is a first-year PhD student in Scottish History. Her research examines foreign policy and diplomacy during the adult rule of James V, King of Scots (1528-1542). You can follow Kate on Twitter @ks_mcgregor.

Half-Scottish and half-English, Kate was born in west London. Her love of history was nurtured from a young age by her grandad, Gordon ‘Mac` McGregor, who was a keen amateur historian. As a child Kate often spent her summer holidays in Scotland and was sometimes reluctantly dragged around castles, country houses, and manors – so much so that as a child she exclaimed, rather dramatically, ‘I hate manors!’. Shockingly, many years later Kate would write her undergraduate dissertation on sixteenth-century English manor courts.

Kate completed her undergraduate degree in Modern History at the University of St Andrews in 2020. Originally, she wanted to study English at St Andrews but switched majors in her second year after much soul-searching and returned to her long-held love for sixteenth-century history (which her parents affectionally called ‘Tudoring’). Her time as an undergraduate was not without its difficulties, though, and she underwent major heart surgery after her first year. Kate, however, made an excellent recovery thanks to the amazing support of the Royal Brompton Hospital, her parents, her older sister Alice, and her friends. She went on to graduate, albeit virtually due to the pandemic, from St Andrews with First Class honours in Modern History, as well as securing the Dean’s List Award.

After securing a place on the competitive M.Phil. in Early Modern History course at the University of Cambridge, she began her master’s there in October 2020 under the supervision of Dr Clare Jackson at Trinity Hall. At Cambridge, Kate’s dissertation focused on diplomatic spectacles in sixteenth-century Scottish court culture. Her master’s dissertation was essentially a study in sixteenth-century parties, dinners, and theatre, a topic which has interested Kate from a young age. As a child she was part of the English National Opera’s Children’s Chorus, and she even danced, albeit badly, on the stage of the London Coliseum! At St Andrews her interest in theatre has continued: she was Vice-President of St Andrews Opera Society and has produced several shows, including a play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Archibald ‘Archie’ Douglas McGregor

Drawn back to Fife, her PhD research at St Andrews focuses on foreign policy and diplomacy during the adult rule of James V, King of Scots (1528-1542) under the supervision of Dr Amy Blakeway and Professor Michael Brown. In particular, she is passionate about expanding perspectives beyond Anglo-Scottish relations, and her current research delves into Scotto-Danish relations in the 1530s. Her PhD is fully funded by the Ewan and Christine Brown Postgraduate Scholarship in the Arts and Humanities, which she was awarded for her academic excellence. She is also currently part of the Northern Early Modern Network (NEMN) committee —a peer network for early modernists in Scotland and the north of England—and has responsibility for the NEMN blog and website.

Outwith academia, Kate is a keen baker, treating her flatmates and friends to weekly baked goods, and with the festive season now upon us all she is thrilled to begin her Christmas baking, including her homemade mince pies! She is very excited to spend Christmas with her family, including their beloved family pet, a Springer Spaniel named Archie, whom Kate named after the sixteenth-century Earl of Angus, Archibald Douglas. She adamantly states that she in no way admires the Earl of Angus (who was prone to marital infidelity and treason), but she thought that Archibald Douglas would be a great name to yell across the park—and it is!

Disability History Month 2021- A Chip Off the Old Block: The Duc Du Maine, Son of Louis XIV

Blog written by Professor Guy Rowlands. Prof Rowlands’ principal research interests lie in the history of war, in the emergence of the modern European state in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and the nature and development of international relations in the period 1598-1792.

The duc du Maine portrayed as the prince des Dombes, 1704.
Private collection

Being born a bastard in seventeenth-century France—even a royal bastard—did not make for an easy start in life. When you are the product of a double adultery—both parents being married—there was also the thorny issue of paternity and a lifetime of nasty vituperation ahead of you. And when you were born with a disability, then the chances of success in life, even as the son of a great king, were relatively slim. Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine, entered the world in 1670 as the son of Louis XIV and his most significant mistress, the marquise de Montespan, who was the superintendent of the queen’s household (and whose husband was far from being complaisant in the affair). It soon became clear that the baby had been born with a club foot, so a life in the shadows seemed to be his likely lot. But to his immense good fortune he was quietly brought up away from the court under the direct responsibility of the widow of the poet Scarron, a woman with a slightly racy past in France and the Caribbean but who had become a born-again Catholic. Those first years were hard: Maine’s leg was forced into a corrective boot, which apparently caused him agonies as the doctors tried to correct the disability. Up to a point they succeeded, though Maine would limp for the rest of his life, be an easy target for slander about his physical courage, and be referred to as ‘lame’ in several sources. The experience of relatively secluded early years and the painful treatment he had to endure surely contributed something to his apparent shyness (though, as a renowned mimic, this did not stop him from doing comic turns in the royal apartments in August 1715, imitating Louis XIV’s doctors as they fought to palliate the dying king’s gangrene). But Maine remained close to his carer Scarron as she became the king’s close friend and eventually his morganatic (if secret) second wife, in her new guise as the marquise de Maintenon.

Maine has too often been consigned to a walk-on part in the drama of the Sun King’s reign, allegedly owing his position to Maintenon’s love and promotion, and said to occupy mere sinecures thanks to the king’s fondness for him. But the truth is far more complex and more interesting and revolves a lot around Maine’s own agency. The boy, it soon became obvious, was of precocious intelligence, and throughout his life he was known for his formidable grasp of mathematics (remember this is the age of Newton). At the age of three, he was formally recognised as a ‘legitimated prince’ by his father and soon after given the first of several important offices of state: colonel-general of the Swiss forces in French service, in which capacity—as an unbreached infant—he is depicted in a portrait now in the château of Blois. Naturally, this was an honorific position in his childhood, but one which he actively exercised from the late 1690s, managing around 30,000 elite troops and acting as their champion inside the government. In 1682 he was installed as provincial governor of the Languedoc in the south-west of France, a region hard to handle thanks to the presence of large numbers of Protestants. Maine is said to have been pious, a religious ‘dévot’ aligned with the Jesuits and the persecuting faction at court, but if so he was no morally-censorious bigot (unlike his mentor Maintenon) and would ridicule demands from royal officials for support in attempts to discipline military officers’ wayward family members. Though Protestant rights were swept away by his father in 1681-85, Maine bears little responsibility for draconian clampdowns that happened in Languedoc during his governorship. All the same, it is no coincidence that in 1688 he was given the position of General of the Galleys, into which large numbers of convicted recalcitrant Protestants were condemned to servitude; and here he embarked upon an apprenticeship in military administration that he seems to have taken very seriously.

In 1693, Maine benefitted from a murky deal struck 11 years earlier between Louis and his cousin, the Grande Mademoiselle, to release her lover from prison: the price she in effect paid was to transfer to Maine on her subsequent demise the small sovereign territory of les Dombes, an area about the size of Fife north of Lyon and east of the river Saône. This gave him the status of a sovereign prince, with a right to mint coin, exercise full judicial power, and police such matters as printing. He used this right from 1701 to give security in his capital Trévoux to the Jesuits in their decades-long publication of both the Journal de Trévoux and its associated Dictionnaire. Opposed to the emerging philosophes, these publications were nevertheless a major contribution to the intellectual world of the period.

Thanks to his early stabs at administration and some effective service in the armies of northern France during the Nine Years War (1688-97), he gained the confidence of his father, to add to the obvious affection everyone knew he enjoyed. Indeed, there is a memorandum Maine wrote which explains exactly how to get the king to listen and then agree to what one wanted. He knew his father very well and they were close, but Maine was never less than deeply respectful of Louis. The high point of his rise came in 1694 when he and his (also illegitimate) brother were given a formal status immediately below that of princes of the blood royal, but more importantly for France itself Maine relinquished the Galleys to become Grand Master of the Artillery. In this capacity he ran the king’s immense stock of guns, organised numerous logistical contracts, and was the head of a skilled corps that, by 1697, stood at several thousand men. The preservation of his correspondence testifies to a formidable organiser, a gifted political lobbyist who knew better than anyone how to win the king around, and a man of considerable humanity who was never less than fair and supportive to his subordinates. He had, in short, inherited his father’s skill at handling underlings and managing business, but he had a far more subtle and intellectual mind.

All the same, he struggled to be taken seriously in early adulthood. Vicious court gossip suggested that his marriage in 1692 to Louise-Bénédicte de Bourbon-Condé, grand-daughter of the great prince de Condé, was a joke deliberately intended to ensure there would be no children: he was disabled and she was of extremely short stature. But three children made it to adulthood, his two sons succeeding Maine in his state offices. His wife was a celebrated impresario of cultural events and salons at their château of Sceaux south of Paris, but in the next reign her ludicrous ambitions led her to plot with Spain against the Regency government of the duc d’Orléans. Louis-Auguste seems to have known little of what she was up to and was furious at being swept up in the arrests in late 1718. Released just over a year later, after it was clear he was innocent of treason, he never fully reconciled himself to his wife. While his sequestered military offices were returned to him, he also never regained the power and influence he had enjoyed in the final 15 years of Louis XIV’s reign and the first three of Louis XV’s. But the records of not only his state activities after 1720 but also his entire private business have survived, which is very unusual, and still await investigation. When he died in 1736, it was from cancer of the face, probably owing to the make-up sported by courtiers of the time. He had more than overcome his disability and become one of the most influential and highly effective men of his time at his peak, loved by his father and by the young Louis XV, whose education he oversaw in 1715-18. The image accompanying this piece graced the front of my first book, and this should speak volumes about my admiration for his abilities, human qualities, and personal courage: on the battlefield and in sieges, with the doctors (like his father), and amidst a backstabbing, venomous court society.

Postgraduate Spotlight: James Fox

Blog written by James Fox. James is a second-year PhD student. His research focusses on early modern British numeracy.

James grew up in the village of Gullane on the south-east coast of Scotland. At the age of eight he wrote a twenty-page history of golf which, though failing to garner any interest from publishers, began an abiding interest in history. With his reputation as the coolest kid in school thus firmly established, James continued to cultivate his historical interests, particularly a fascination in the ways familiar aspects of modern life are also visible in the distant past. At school James always preferred the humanities, having little aptitude for science and maths. It is thus to his own bemusement that he is currently engaged in doctoral research on the subject of numeracy.  

In 2015 James made the short journey from Gullane to St Andrews to begin an undergraduate degree in Modern History. He took a range of modules exploring the social, cultural, and intellectual landscape of early modern Britain, giving him further opportunity to delve deeper into questions about everyday life in past societies. He became especially interested in the growth of literacy through this period while under the tutelage of Professor Rab Houston. Leaving St Andrews in 2019 to pursue an MPhil in Early Modern History at Jesus College, Cambridge, James’ research interests strayed from the well-trodden track of literacy to the bumpy road of numeracy. Focussing on the surviving papers of a farming family from eighteenth-century Derbyshire, James’ MPhil dissertation explored the importance of number skills in everyday life among people of humble social origins.

Now back at St Andrews, these concerns remain at the heart of James’ doctoral research, funded by a SGSAH-AHRC doctoral training partnership and supervised by Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith, Dr Amy Blakeway, and Dr Jacqueline Rose. James’ thesis explores the diverse ways in which ordinary people understood and used numbers in their daily lives in Scotland and England, c.1660–1800. In this era of economic growth, financial and commercial revolution, and Enlightenment, the role of numeracy in society was transformed. Schooling in arithmetic became increasingly widespread while the production of cheap arithmetic textbooks skyrocketed. Playing cards, puzzle books, and the ever-popular annual almanac sold in staggering numbers as numeracy became embedded in popular culture as never before. In recipe books, pinches and handfuls made way for pounds and ounces. Numerical times and dates replaced the solar events and feast days of old. Daily business also came to depend upon new forms of numeracy. Where once people had reckoned their debts with tally sticks and counting beans, relying on the oral testimony of witnesses to recall financial information, written accounts increasingly became vehicles for navigating the dizzying networks of credit and obligation that characterised the early modern economy.

James hopes that exploring these quotidian experiences of numeracy will help shed light on important developments in early modern history including the proliferation of written record-keeping, the spread of education and literacy, and the rise of capitalism. He also enjoys attempting to squeeze in discussion of early modern numeracy wherever possible while teaching first-year undergraduates on MO1007.

When he’s not trawling through the account books of eighteenth-century tradesmen, James can usually be found in the kitchen attempting to cook elaborate meals for anyone brave enough to try them or perfecting his swing on one of St Andrews’ many golf courses. He is also a long-suffering supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers and copes with the resultant stress by making purchases he can scarcely afford to supplement his collection of early modern arithmetic textbooks.

Disability History Month 2021

UKDHM logo 2021

Held from 18th November to 18th December, Disability History Month UK is now in its twelfth year. This year, we have a number of activities around the School – so I will keep this blog brief letting you know what to look out for! 

  1. We have been working on our bibliography of Disability History – this is accessible here with links to items online or in the library. We are still developing this resource – please email histedi with any other additions or suggestions so we can grow it as much as possible by the end of the month! 
  2. On 7th December at 1pm Professor Bridget Heal will lead a reading group discussing two items from the bibliography focusing on early modern disability history: Strocchia, ‘Disability Histories from the Convent’ and Kvicalova, ‘Hearing Difference in Calvin’s Geneva’. Teams invite to join will be circulated by email.  
  3. Keep your eyes peeled for new blog posts exploring disability and history. Blogs from previous years can be accessed here if you would like to read more.  

And if you are keen for more online content in the meantime, Emeritus Professor Rab Houston’s podcast and resources on the History of Psychiatry is well worth checking out: History of Psychiatry – History of Psychiatry Podcast Series.

Staff Spotlight: Joe Gazeley

Blog written by Dr Joe Gazeley. Dr Gazeley is an Associate Lecturer in the School of History and his research focusses on the relationship between France and its former African colonies.

I am a historian specialising in the French foreign policy relationship with former African colonies and the development of the post-colonial state. I completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2021 where my thesis analysed the long-term relationship between France and Mali post-independence. I have also been a Scouloudi research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research (2020-21) in London and a visiting postgraduate research fellow in Paris where I was co-hosted by the African Worlds Institute (IMAF) and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2019).

I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to conduct my research and am committed to making history as accessible as possible. I work hard to make my research available to a broad audience, which includes features in the Washington Post and the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, as well as blogging regularly on France-Africa issues, particularly for Democracy in Africa.

Beyond informing public debates, I also try to make my research accessible to policymakers. I believe that historical skills and knowledge are important, and I have tried to demonstrate their value to contemporary society through my involvements with various parts of the UK government. I have lectured for the British Army as part of pre-deployment preparation for the UK contingent to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA. I also developed and currently deliver the course ‘France-Africa relations and implications for UK policy’ for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This has been a particularly exciting opportunity to help inform UK foreign policy with regards to francophone Africa and, as I drew on Foreign Office archival documents during my PhD, to contribute to future historical research by creating some archival paperwork of my own.

Outside of my academic work I love running, cycling, and hiking, preferably in the mountains or by the sea. I fulfilled a long-term personal goal when I completed the Beachy Head marathon in 2019, and I’m presently back in training for my personal challenge of running from Dundee to St Andrews this summer along the Fife coastal path.

Speaking of upcoming exciting challenges, my wife and I are absolutely thrilled to be expecting our first child soon. I look forward to taking them for walks along the coast and, when they are old enough, to the summit of Pico de Loro where their parents got engaged above the clouds. Our little family is relatively new to St Andrews, but we already love the town, especially the beautiful views and friendly people. And, of course, the plentiful ice cream!

Publication Spotlight: The Middle English Mirror

Blog written by Professor Margaret Connolly. Prof Connolly is Professor of Palaeography and Codicology in the Schools of English and History, and Director of the St Andrews Institute in Medieval Studies.  She is also a General Editor of the Middle English Texts series published by Winter, Heidelberg.

Margaret Connolly and Thomas G. Duncan (eds). The Middle English Mirror: Sermons from Quinquagesima to Pentecost, Middle English Texts 62 (Heidelberg: Winter Universitatsverlag, 2021).

The Mirror is a series of sixty sermons, one for every Sunday in the year plus a few that cover the highest festivals such as Christmas. These sermons were originally composed in Anglo-Norman, the type of French used in medieval England, in the thirteenth century. Their author was Robert de Gretham, and he was motivated to write them, as he tells us in his prologue, because his patron, Dame Aline, was too fond of reading frivolous stories and romances. The sermons are based on the gospels, and whilst they do contain other stories as well, those are moralizing narratives intended to teach a deeper understanding of Christian beliefs and behaviour.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century the sermon cycle was translated into English; most of the surviving copies are written in the London English dialect indicating that the translation probably arose in that urban context. We don’t know the translator’s name which he withheld for fear of reprisals, perhaps because the text contains criticism against clerical corruption and unworthy priests. As ecclesiastical attitudes hardened against vernacular translation in the early fifteenth century, the fact that the sermons contained English versions of the gospel readings may have made it a problematic and even dangerous work to possess. The Mirror is not a Lollard work, but it might have looked like one, and it probably wasn’t worth readers taking a chance over that! So ironically, although the English translation was clearly aimed at a much wider audience than the single aristocratic household with which Robert de Gretham was associated, its circulation may have been more restricted. It was also never printed, unlike some other English sermon cycles such as John Mirk’s Festial which was printed by William Caxton.

Prof Margaret Connolly

Lengthy medieval texts such as this sermon cycle take a long time to edit. None of the English manuscripts is thought to be the author’s original copy, so the readings of all of them must be compared in order to establish the most correct form of the text. Consulting the Anglo-Norman text can prove helpful in this, except sometimes it’s clear that the Middle English translator did not always understand the French and did not always achieve a very good translation! In total twenty manuscripts survive (including both English and French), and although some are just fragments this is still a lot of manuscripts to handle. A new fragment was discovered very recently, leading to the possibility that still more may turn up.

The present volume The Middle English Mirror: Sermons from Quinquagesima to Pentecost (2021) is the second in a projected series of four which will present the full text of the Middle English sermons in parallel with the Anglo-Norman source. This latest volume contains sixteen sermons and covers the long Easter period: Quinquagesima is the Sunday before Lent starts, and Pentecost marks the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples after Christ ascended to heaven. In calendar terms this volume covers the period from March to the end of May. The preceding period from December up to March was covered in the first volume The Middle English Mirror: Sermons from Advent to Sexagesima which the editors published in 2003. So we are halfway there, but there are still 32 sermons to go!