Summary: The Crusades; History of Medieval Medicine; Chronicles; Medieval Warfare; Kingship
After graduating from the University of Leeds in 2010 with a BA (hons) in History (First Class) I graduated from the Institute for Medieval Studies in 2011, gaining a Distinction in the MA in Medieval Studies and being jointly awarded the Robert L. Thomson prize for my dissertation, 'The Experience of Sickness and its Treatment at the Siege of Acre, 118991'. After an exciting year working in the team which organises the International Medieval Congress I returned to academic study in 2012 to undertake my PhD. Both my MA and my PhD were made possible by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. See also my academia.edu page and twitter.
The Experience of Sickness and Health during Crusader Campaigns to the Eastern Mediterranean, 10951274
My research examines the crusader experience of health and disease in order to understand the impact of this on military engagements, and the interpretation of sickness and health in the contemporary narrative sources. The epic journeys undertaken by all levels of society, from trained combatants, to untested fighters, to non-combatant camp followers, offer a rich source of investigation for the medical historian. The experience of health and sickness was universal; in a crusader camp no-one was impervious to the pestilences which thrived in the strenuous conditions, or the deprivations of food and water in unfamiliar climates.
Geographically my research encompasses the crusader experience in Eastern Mediterranean, taking in the whole crusading sphere in the East, from Anatolia to the Levant, and to North Africa and Cyprus later in the period defined. Since this period, from the call for the First Crusade in 1095 to the return of Prince Edward, later Edward I of England from his crusade in 1274, represents the traditional period of crusading but also represents a period of academic and medical flourishing in the West, the crusades provide a targeted case study for the study of disease and warfare. The aim of this investigation is to incorporate the impact of disease into ongoing discussions in the military history of the crusades.
'William of Malmesbury: Medical Historian of the Crusades', in Discovering William of Malmesbury, ed. by Rodney M. Thomson, Emily Dolmans and Emily A. Winkler (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2017), pp. 12938
'Health and Illness', in The Crusades to the Holy Land: The Essential Reference Guide, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2015), pp. 12325
Abstracts can be found by clicking the paper title.
'Eyewitnesses, Flesh-Witnesses, and Armchair Crusaders: Some Medical Case Studies for Reading Authority in the Chronicles of the Crusades' at the History and Heritage Research Seminar, Nottingham Trent University, May 2017
'The Sick Crusader and the Crusader Sick: Towards a Sufferers History of the Crusades' at the School of History Medieval Seminar, University of Leeds, April 2016
'Marching on their Stomachs? Crusader Marches to the Holy Land in the Twelfth Century' at the Crusades and the Latin East Seminar, Institute for Historical Research, January 2015
Abstacts can be found by clicking the paper title.
'Giving and Receiving Bodily Care During Crusades to Eastern Mediterranean, 10951274' at Who Cares? The Past and Present of Caring, University of Leeds, March 2017
'Hiding in Plain Sight: Providers of Medical Care During Crusades to the Eastern Mediterranean, 10951274' at the Northern Network for the Study of the Crusades Inaugural Symposium, Manchester Metropolitan University, February 2017
'Towards a Sufferers' History of the Crusades' at Manchester Metropolitan University/Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Symposium, Manchester Metropolitan University, December 2016. Invited through the Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Speakers Series
'Problems in Port: Health and Illness at Points of Crusader Embarkation' at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2016
'Crusading Masculinities in Health Crises, 10951274' at Crusading Masculinities, University of Zürich, March 2016. Attendance supported by a Royal Historical Society Conference Travel Grant
'Toxicum, Nocivum and Venenatum: The Use of Poison as a Tool by Crusader Authors' at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2015
'William of Malmesbury: Medical Historian of the Crusades' at William of Malmesbury and his Legacy, University of Oxford, July 2015
''Oh, the grief of all... Each day saw the funerals of their comrades': Infectious Disease and the Crusader Sieges of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries' at Disease, Disability and Medicine in Medieval Europe, University of Nottingham, December 2014
'The Crusades and the Sick King: Leadership and Incapacitation' at the Society for the Social History of Medicine Biennial Conference, University of Oxford, July 2014. Attendance supported by a Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference Travel Bursary
'The Crusades and the Sick King: Religious Aspects' at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2014
'Crusading Masculinities: A Round Table Discussion' at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2016. Organiser: Katherine J. Lewis, Division of History, University of Huddersfield; moderator: Matthew Mesley, Historisches Seminar, Universität Zürich; participants: Natasha Ruth Hodgson (Nottingham Trent University), Katherine Lewis, Matthew Mesley, Alan V. Murray (University of Leeds), and Joanna Phillips (University of Leeds).
'The Challenges of Eyewitness: Reflections on the Medical History of the Crusades', part of 'The Challenges of Eyewitness', a workshop led by Marcus Bull (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) at the Crusades and the Latin East Seminar, Institute for Historical Research, November 2015. Other contributions from Beth Spacey (University of Birmingham) and Stephen Spencer (Queen Mary, University of London).
'How (not) to Lead an Army: Crusader Leaders and the Complications of Sickness' at the Arts and PVAC Poster Competition, University of Leeds, October 2014. Awarded second prize. Later presented at the University of Leeds Postgraduate Showcase Conference, University of Leeds, December 2014.
'The 'Reality' of Travelling on Foot on the First Crusade (Summer 1097)' at the University of Leeds Postgraduate Showcase Conference, University of Leeds, December 2013
'The Complaint of a Crusader: Sickness and Health in the Narrative Sources of the Crusades', at the Arts and PVAC Poster Competition, University of Leeds, October 2013. Awarded third prize. Also presented at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2013.
HIST 2220: Body, Disease and Society, 15001750, Semester 2, 201617
HIST 1090: Medieval and Renaissance Europe, Semester 1, 201314 and Semester 1, 201617
MEDV 3610: The Age of Chivalry: The Idea of Knighthood in Medieval Europe, 10501450, Semester 1, 201415 and Semester 1, 2015-16
Public Engagement, Impact, and Outreach
The Institute for Medieval Studies has developed a strong tradition of public engagement and outreach, and I have been involved in many of the events the department has organised and contributed to. Most recently, in October 2016, I designed and curated a display based on my research into the sea journeys undertaken by crusaders to the Holy Land, which was part of the IMS event for Light Night 2016, an annual arts and culture event which takes place in various locations across the city of Leeds; the IMS contribution in 2016 attracted almost 500 people. I have also presented displays at Be Curious, a University-wide event in March 2016 (a description of the IMS contribution can be found here) and at Light Night 2015, which attracted over 600 people.
Since August 2015 I have been an Education Outreach Fellow with the Educational Engagement team at the University of Leeds. In this role I deliver training sessions to students aged 16-18 taking the Extended Project Qualification as an enhancement to their A-Levels, or who are working on the Extended Essay component of the International Baccalaureate. The training covers a very wide range of topics, including but not limited to essay plannning, referencing and plagiarism, time management, and critical thinking. Some sessions take place on campus, but others take place at schools and sixth forms across the country.
From 2010-2014 I was an assistant on the Wellcome Trust-supported project You Are What You Ate. With the project I travelled the length and breadth of West Yorkshire, presenting an interactive display of fruit, vegetables, recipes and food samples at various events: food festivals, historical fairs, local markets and at museums. We aimed to encourage visitors to think about the history of the food on their plate, to learn about the global scale of food, trade and eating, the different meanings of a healthy diet in both an historical context and in the modern day, and issues of food supply and food security.