Tag Archives: Scandinavia

CFP: Bishops’ Identities, Careers and Networks, University of Aberdeen, 26 May and 27 May 2017

cropped-welwick-crosierCall for Papers: Conference: Bishops’ Identities, Careers and Networks
Centre for Scandinavian Studies, University of Aberdeen
26 May and 27 May 2017

Bishops were powerful individuals who had considerable spiritual, economic and political power. To be a bishop was to be a leader who might crown kings or foment rebellion. So who became bishops? What were their family backgrounds, educational attainment, social networks? What was the impact of international Church events such as the Great Schism or the Council of Basle on the types of bishop appointed in individual dioceses?

The aim of this two-day conference, funded by an AHRC Early Career Research Grant, is to stimulate discussion on how individuals achieved a bishopric in Europe, including Scandinavia and the British Isles. An edited volume is the planned outcome for the conference.

Topics for the conference include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Family origins
  • Education
  • Pre-episcopal careers
  • Social networks
  • Spiritual networks
  • Political networks
  • the centralisation of the Papacy
  • international Church events
  • Diocesan patrons
  • Election of bishops

We invite proposals between 250-300 words for individual 20 minute papers relating to the conference theme. Please send abstracts to bishopscareersnetworks@gmail.com.

Please send abstracts by Friday 27th January 2017.

Please direct any queries to Sarah Thomas and Michael Frost at bishopscareersnetworks@gmail.com.



CFP: Treasure in heaven, treasures on Earth: the secular world and material consumption in Western European monasticism c.1050 – c. 1250, 21-23rd September 2016, Hatfield College, Durham University

bernhard_von_clairvaux_28initiale-b29CALL FOR PAPERS
Treasure in heaven, treasures on Earth: the secular world and material consumption in Western European monasticism c.1050 – c. 1250
21-23rd September 2016, Hatfield College, Durham University
Deadline: 1st
June 2016

Abstracts are invited for a conference entitled ‘Treasure in heaven, treasures on Earth: the secular world and material consumption in Western European monasticism c.1050 – c. 1250’ to be held 21-23rd September 2016 at the University of Durham. All are encouraged to submit, from graduate students to established staff, and from all disciplines.

This conference will explore ideas of monastic practice and rhetoric towards the social and material world, both within and outside the cloister. Both individual monks and their communities engaged with the secular world, whether driven by necessity or by their own impetus, despite the perceived dangers of interactions with lay society and their values. This period saw the unprecedented amassing of material wealth by monastic communities, closer interaction with lay society alongside increasing divisions in the interpretation of St. Benedict’s Rule, especially in the sphere of wealth and its appropriate use. How monks endeavoured to maintain their adherence to monastic expectations in this new atmosphere is the chief concern of this conference. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Monastic dealings with money, offering, usury and communal wealth.
  • Monks as landlords and secular lords.
  • The rule of St. Benedict and the practicalities of life in the medieval monastery.
  • Monks as builders and patrons of construction.
  • Monks and their relationships with women and the secular social hierarchy.
  • Monks and earthly goods.
  • Monastic theological approaches to the relationship between the monk and the world.

Transcending disciplinary boundaries, this conference aims to bring together scholars working on all aspects of monastic life and thought in order to examine the various ways that monks in Western Europe from the mid-eleventh to the mid-thirteenth century approached and interacted with the world around them. Papers are encouraged which deal with all areas of medieval western Europe, including Scandinavia.

Prospective speakers are invited to submit abstracts of 200-300 words. Submissions should include name, affiliation, and contact details. The deadline for submissions is: 1st June 2016. Subsidies will be available for postgraduate delegates.

For more information about the conference, to join the conference mailing list or to submit an abstract, please email the committee at: treasure.in.heaven@durham.ac.uk

More information: https://treasureinheavenconference.wordpress.com/

PhD studentship: The Identities and Networks of bishops in the late medieval North Atlantic

Bishop Hugh Northwold of Ely, d.1254

Bishop Hugh Northwold of Ely, d.1254

AHRC-funded PhD studentship in conjunction with the project “A prosopographical study of bishops’ careers in northern Europe”


 Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship to undertake research on selected bishoprics in the archdiocese of Nidaros between 1250 and the Reformation. The Studentship will be held at the University of Aberdeen, beginning on the 1st of October 2014.

The PhD student will be attached to The Centre for Scandinavian Studies, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, College of Arts and Social Sciences at The University of Aberdeen.

The Studentship forms part of a three-year research project A prosopographical study of bishops’ careers in northern Europe, funded by the AHRC and directed by Dr Sarah Thomas (University of Hull) and Professor Stefan Brink (University of Aberdeen). The holder of the PhD studentship will join a project team made of Thomas and Brink, and will be a member of the research community of the Centre for Scandinavian Studies.


Duration: 3 years

Value: a stipend £13,726 per year (and the AHRC also pays for the fees)

Start of studentship1 October 2014    



Summary of the research project:

A prosopographical study of bishops’ careers in northern Europe examines the familial, social and educational networks of clerics who became bishops in late medieval Scotland, England and Scandinavia.


In the modern world, we often talk about a person being ‘well-connected’, whether it be as a result of family, schooling, business contacts or a combination of factors. This project will examine how well-connected medieval bishops in Britain and Scandinavia were.  Effectively, we shall be asking who you needed to know to become a bishop and how the connections gained throughout their lives impacted on their activities as bishops both within their diocese and on the wider international stage. Why did this matter? Bishops were not just religious leaders; they were important men who served kings and other great lords as advisers and even diplomats. They also controlled large territories and had significant incomes and people at their command. To be a bishop was to be a leader who might crown kings or foment rebellion. They were also players on an increasingly international stage: the period of study, from 1250 to the Reformation, saw the centralisation of the Church under the Papacy. From the early fourteenth century, candidates for bishoprics usually had to travel to Rome or Avignon in order to be appointed. Yet, at the same time, national or state structures were increasingly important with kings wanting to control who became bishops. The very nature of the international Church meant that such men travelled and had connections well beyond their home countries. That, combined with university education, meant that bishops were key conduits for the transfer of ideas. The key question the project seeks to answer is how internationalised were the bishops in northern Europe.


In order to address this, we will undertake a prosopographical study of the bishops in the following dioceses: Sodor, Dunkeld, Galloway, York, Orkney, the Faroes, Skalholt and Holar in Iceland, Greenland, Bergen, Stavanger, Uppsala and the archdeacons of Jämtland. We will examine the familial, social origins and connections of the bishops and archdeacons. To allow us to consider the pressures of national and papal institutions, we have selected dioceses in four Church provinces – York, Scotland, Nidaros and Uppsala – which lay within the four kingdoms of England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden. This selection also means we can study core and peripheral dioceses within the same Church province, across Church provinces and across national boundaries. The analysis will seek to answer a number of questions which include: did the bishops have similar social origins which meant they had the right connections to lobby the diocesan patrons or chapter for their promotion? We shall also assess the evidence for our bishops having attended university, and if so, where and whether they achieved a degree and the implications of this. Were there particular dioceses with higher levels of university attendance? Can we find evidence of either direct or indirect international contact as a result of university attendance?

The project will then assess whether the bishops, once appointed, were able to introduce new ideas and reforms in their dioceses. They attended international Church councils which agreed policies that the bishops were then expected to introduce in their own dioceses. We will examine whether they were able to enforce rules like clerical celibacy and the payment of tithes. The dioceses in question might be seen as remote from Rome and the centres of Christendom, but they were not necessarily isolated from ideas developed at the supposed ‘core’.

Research topic within the studentship:

The PhD candidate will conduct original research on aspects of the medieval ecclesiastical history (preferably discussing the role of bishops) of the North Atlantic and Norwegian dioceses. Applicants are invited to contact Dr Sarah Thomas (S.E.Thomas@hull.ac.uk) or Prof. Stefan Brink (s.brink@abdn.ac.uk) to discuss potential topics prior to applying.

Supervision and support:

The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr Sarah Thomas and Prof. Stefan Brink. As a member of the project team the candidate will be expected to contribute to project meetings, activities, and events, and will have some organizational responsibilities. In addition to having access to postgraduate training and support provided by the Centre for Scandinavian Studies and the College of Arts and Social Sciences, the candidate will have specific opportunities within the project to develop research skills, present at conferences, and publish papers.


Applications are invited from candidates who have a first-class or good upper second-class degree in History or a related discipline or a relevant area of study, and preferably have completed a Postgraduate Research Masters degree + AHRC conditions of eligibility; or an equivalent exam from a non-UK University. Prior knowledge of Old Norse, Latin and a modern Scandinavian language would be advantageous.


Normally only those students who have been resident in the UK, for purposes other than education, for the preceding three years are eligible for a full award. For some awards candidates who are nationals of a member state of the EU and are resident in the UK may also be eligible for fees only awards.

Deadline for application29 August 2014

 Send application to:
The Post Graduate Secretary
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen  AB24 3DS

For enquiries regarding the project contact:

Dr Sarah Thomas (S.E.Thomas@hull.ac.uk) or Prof. Stefan Brink (s.brink@abdn.ac.uk)

For general enquiries regarding postgraduate studies at the University and the School and the conversion of non-UK exams and degrees etc., contact:

Kiran Uppal (k.uppal@abdn.ac.uk)

Phd Fellowships & Postdocs in Medieval Literature (Southern Denmark; 2014-15)

The Centre for Medieval Literature (CML) at the Department of History invites applications for two PhD-fellowships of 3 years in Medieval literature. The positions are available starting Sept 1, 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter.

How to apply: http://www.sdu.dk/en/servicenavigation/right/ledige_stillinger/jobs/Soegjob

There are two further studentships based in York; they are announced at the University of York website (http://www.york.ac.uk/). It is possible to apply both at York and Odense with the same research plan, but you will need to follow the procedures of application for each University.

Jointly based at the University of Southern Denmark (Odense) and the University of York (UK), CML is a centre of excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation for six to ten years.

The CML takes an integrated European approach to the study of Medieval Literature with research ranging from Scandinavia to the Middle East.  Our research is organized into three main areas: languages, fictionality, and canon formation.  The work of CML is interdisciplinary (crossing literature and history) in studying texts as embedded within social relationships. We also attend to the modern representation of and interaction with medieval literature. You can find more about our research and activities on the CML website: www.sdu.dk/cml.

Successful candidates for the PhD fellowships will be committed to
1) collaboration which unites scholarship across disciplines and languages,
2) creating a shared research environment across SDU and York,
3) situating their research within a wider European framework. In addition to describing your research topic and how it will fit into one or more of the three strands of CML, your proposal should include a statement of what you think you could contribute to the teamwork that is an important aspect of the CML.

The application should include:
• Special PhD-application form found here
• Curriculum Vitae
• Detailed project description, no more than 5 pages
• Examination certificates 
• Relevant publications.
A pdf file is attached for each publication. Any declaration of co-authorship should be part of this pdf file 

Further information about the PhD-program at the Faculty of Humanities can be found here.
The university welcomes applications from all interested parties regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnic background.

The application deadline is March 1st 2014 at 23:59 CE Apply Online

The Centre for Medieval Literature (CML) at SDU invites applications for two positions as a 3-year Postdoc in Medieval literature, one at the Department of History and one at the Department for the Study of Culture. The positions are available starting September 1, 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter.