Dr Melanie Brunner

Dr Melanie Brunner

Lecturer in Medieval Studies / Project Editor, International Medieval Bibliography

+44 (0)113 343 3615

Summary: Lecturer in Medieval Studies and Project Editor, International Medieval Bibliography.


I studied for my MA in Medieval History, Modern History and English Language at the University of Augsburg (Germany), interrupted by a year as an Erasmus student at the University of Edinburgh. I came to Leeds to work on my PhD (part-time) at the Institute for Medieval Studies while at the same time working for the International Medieval Bibliography (IMB). I finished my PhD in 2006 and am currently working for the School of History as Project Editor of the IMB (since 2007) and as lecturer in Medieval Studies (since 2013).

My Research:

I am particularly interested in late medieval ecclesiastical and religious history, especially the interactions of theology, (canon) law and papal administration; the history of the mendicant orders, particularly the Franciscans; and ideals of voluntary poverty and religious reform. I have recently begun a new project exploring the political culture and the process of decision-making at the papal court in Avignon (1305-1378).

I am a member of the DFG-Netzwerk Imitation: Mechanismen eines kulturellen Prinzips im Mittelalter, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and chaired by Dr Jörg Sonntag (Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig/Technische Universität Dresden) and Dr Gerald Schwedler (Universität Zürich).

Additionally, I am part of Marginalisation and the Law: Medieval and Modern, sponsored by the White Rose Collaboration Fund and chaired by Maroula Perisanidi (Leeds)

I have also been involved with the DFG-Netzwerk Stilus Curiae: Spielregeln der Konflikt- und Verhandlungsführung am Papsthof des Mittelalters (12.-15. Jahrhundert), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and chaired by Dr Jessika Nowak (Universität Basel) and Dr Georg Strack (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München).

From September 2013 to September 2017, I have been involved in Working Group 3 (‘European Networks of Knowledge Exchange’) of the EU-funded COST Action IS1301 New Communities of Interpretation: Contexts, Strategies and Processes of Religious Transformation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, chaired by Dr Sabrina Corbellini and based at the University of Groningen. 

Research supervision:

I would be happy to supervise research on late medieval ecclesiastical history and the history of the mendicant orders.

Current PhD students:

Kaan Gorman, 'The relationship between the medieval English laity and the evolution of the Carthusian Order in England, c.1178- 1500' [co-supervised with Prof. Emilia Jamroziak and funded by a School of History/Institute for Medieval Studies PhD scholarship]

Andrea Mancini, 'Preaching and penitence in the age of Observance: the Summa confessorum of the Franciscan Nicholas of Osimo and the economic ethics of Observant Franciscans in the late Middle Ages (c. 1350 - c. 1453) [co-supervised with Prof. Emilia Jamroziak]

Vanessa Wright, 'The cross dresser in French literature from 1200 to 1400' [co-supervised with Prof. Ros Brown-Grant and Dr Catherine Batt and funded by a School of History/Institute for Medieval Studies PhD scholarship]

Recently completed PhD theses:

Rene Hernandez Vera (2015), ‘Franciscan Manuscripts in Padua from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century: Following the Traces of a Conception of the Book’ [co-supervised with Prof. Brian Richardson and funded by a University of Leeds FIRS scholarship]

Matthew Beckmann (2015), ‘Franciscan soteriology at the university of Paris to 1300’ [co-supervised with Dr William Flynn]

Kirsty Day (2016), 'Constructing dynastic Franciscan identities in Bohemia and the Polish Duchies’ [co-supervised with Prof. Emilia Jamroziak and funded by the AHRC block grant]

James Hill (2018), 'The Papacy and the Eastern Mediterranean 1305-1362' [co-supervised with Prof. Graham Loud and funded by the IMS Endowment fund] 


Undergraduate modules:

Religion and Culture in the Western Middle Ages (MEDV 1080)

Medieval and Renaissance Europe (HIST 1090)

Medieval Narratives in the Modern World: Nationalism, Terrorism, and Popular Culture (MEDV 1085)

Magic and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages (MEDV 3310)                                                                            

Postgraduate modules:

Medieval Religious Communities and the Individual Experience of Religion, 1200-1500 (MEDV 5295)

Research Methods and Methodology (MEDV 5110)


‘Disorder, debts and excommunication: John XXII and the reform of the order of Grandmont’, Journal of Medieval History, 36 (2010), 341-358

‘Zwischen Kurie und Königshof: Jacques Duèse, Bischof von Fréjus, sizilianischer Kanzler und künftiger Papst’, in 1308 -- Eine Topographie historischer Gleichzeitigkeit, ed. Andreas Speer and David Wirmer (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010), pp. 439-457

‘Papal intervention in mendicant organisation: Pope John XXII and the Franciscans’, in Franciscan Organisation in a Mendicant Context: Formal and Informal Structures of the Friars Lives and Ministry in the Middle Ages, ed. Michael Robson and Jens Röhrkasten (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2010), pp. 353-375

‘Poverty and charity: Pope John XXII and the canonization of Louis of Anjou’, Franciscan Studies, 69 (2011), 231-256

‘Johannes XXII. als Reformer? Päpstliche Verwaltungspolitik und Ordensreform von oben’, in Johannes XXII: Konzepte und Verfahren seines Pontifikats, ed. Hans-Joachim Schmidt and Martin Rohde (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), pp. 119-148

‘John XXII and the Michaelists: the scriptural title of Franciscan poverty in Quia vir reprobus’, Church History and Religious Culture, 94 (2014), 197-226

‘Nach dem Konzil von Vienne. Konfliktlösung und Entscheidungsfindung in der Spiritualenkrise und im Armutsstreit’, in Ecclesia Disputans. Die Konfliktpraxis vormoderner Synoden zwischen Religion und Politik, ed. by Christoph Dartmann, Andreas Pietsch and Sita Steckel (Oldenbourg: de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 203-229

‘The power of the canons? Episcopal authority and the cathedral chapter of Sion (Valais) around 1300', in Episcopal Power and Local Society in Medieval Europe, 1000-1400, ed. by Peter Coss, Chris Dennis, Melissa Julian-Jones and Angelo Silvestri (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), pp. 97-114

'Rom in Avignon: Imitation und Adaption im Papstpalast', in Nachahmen im Mittelalter: Dimensionen -- Mechanismen -- Funktionen, ed. Andreas Büttner, Birgit Kynast, Gerald Schwedler and Jörg Sonntag (Vienna: Böhlau, 2017), pp. 135-152