Members of the group have a variety of different research interests and specialisms.

Steering Committee



Dr Harald Braun

Reader in European History, 1300-1700, Department of History.

I studied History, Politics, and German Language and Literature at Heidelberg University, Germany, before completing a D.Phil. in Modern History at Oxford University. I joined the Department of History at Liverpool in 2004, after holding postdoctoral fellowships and temporary lectureships at Oxford, King's College London and the London School of Economics.

I am a historian of late medieval and early modern political culture with an emphasis on the Iberian world (c.1400 - c.1700). My research joins the histories of political thought and culture with the histories of violence and emotion. I am interested in how knowledge - such as legal, theological, scientific or historical knowledge - relates to political expertise, decision-making and practice. Currently, I am working on the dynamics of massacre in the early modern and modern world. I am focusing on the (self-)perception of perpetrators of mass killings and on the ways in which complex cultural norms shaped the exercise and experience of violence. I also have a growing interest in ideas about societal change and alternative futures as expressed, for instance, in early modern and modern utopian and dystopian texts. 

I am the editor-in-chief of Renaissance and Early Modern Worlds of Knowledge, the flagship book series of the Society for Renaissance Studies ( I am also the founding editor (with Pedro Cardim, Universidad Nova de Lisboa) of a new book series Early Modern Iberian History in Global Contexts: Connexions (Routledge).

Dr Pollie Bromilow

Lecturer in French, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

I am a specialist in early modern French literature with particular interests in women writers, the representation of women and the history of the book. Having completed my studies at the Universities of London (Royal Holloway) and Cambridge (Kings), I taught at l'Universite de Paris XII and New College, Oxford before taking up my post at Liverpool in 2004.

I welcome enquiries regarding postgraduate supervision and mentoring of postdoctoral research fellowship on topics related to gender and materiality in the early modern world.

Dr Alexandrina Buchanan

Lecturer in Archives Studies, Department of History

Since 2007 I've held the position of Lecturer in Archive Studies at the University of Liverpool, having previously worked as an archivist at The Clothworkers Company and Lambeth Palace Library in London.

I am Co-Director of the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies (LUCAS) and Chair of the Forum for Archives and Records Management in Education and Research (FARMER).

I also remain active in the field of art and architectural history, in which I undertook my original MSc and PhD research at UCL. My PhD was on the pioneering architectural historian, Robert Willis (1800-1875). I am a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Honorary Electronic Publications Editor of the British Archaeological Association and a member of the Harlaxton Symposium Steering Committee. I am also a member of the Liverpool University Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (LCMRS).

I have recently completed an intellectual biography of Robert Willis (Robert Willis (1800-1875) and the Foundation of Architectural History), which explores the significance of his understanding of medieval architecture to nineteenth-century intellectual and cultural history, as well as to the modern discipline of architectural history. This was published by Boydell and Brewer in 2013.

Dr Marios Costambeys

Reader in Medieval History, Department of History

My principal focus is on the social dynamics of early medieval Europe. This is best approached through the many transaction records (charters) that have survived from this distant period because they were preserved by (and often in some way benefitted) monasteries. An early paper explored the possibilities of this evidence for a region of north-western Europe. Since then, my focus has switched to central Italy, to the men and women responsible for the wealth and power, sustained over centuries, of monasteries like Farfa and Monte Cassino. Like everything in the region, these institutions fell into the influential orbit of the city of Rome. Though far less populous than previously, and now no longer the capital of an empire, Rome was still a place of unique dimensions and attraction. I've examined some aspects of its position in recent articles. My current work aims at a more holistic view of the city and its hinterland across the broad period from late antiquity to the age of the communes.

Dr Godfried Croenen

Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures 

I studied history at the universities of Leuven and Ghent. I was a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, before coming to Liverpool in 1997. I am a specialist of the medieval history of France and the Low Countries. My particular interests are medieval chronicles and the history of the book in the medieval and early modern period. My recent research concerns Jean Froissart's Chronicles and the manuscripts and early prints through which this important historical work was transmitted, and commercial book production in Paris and Flanders in the 15th century. I am currently working on a British Academy funded project on the Flemish scribe Guillebert de Mets, who was active in Paris in the early 15th century.

I welcome enquiries about postgraduate supervision (MRes, MPhil, PhD) in all areas of medieval studies, in particular in relation to manuscript studies, medieval forms of history writing, the Hundred Years War and history of France and the Low Countries.

Dr Michael Davis

Department of English

My research lies in the Renaissance and Restoration periods. Having worked extensively on theology and narrative in the writings of John Bunyan, I am now exploring literature and religion in the seventeenth century more broadly, with an emphasis on early modern Protestant poetics and polemics.

My current research projects concern Calvinism in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the relationship between literature and religion, and politics in the Restoration, centring on the issue of 'liberty of conscience'. I am also interested in literature of the English Revolution, and of eighteenth-century authors of the Dissenting or Calvinist traditions - such as Daniel Defoe and William Cowper - as well as in John Bunyan's 'afterlife' in the twentieth century.

Dr Rebecca Dixon

Lecturer in French, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

A specialist in the literature and culture of the later medieval court of Burgundy, I came to Liverpool in 2013 having previously taught at Exeter, Manchester, and Leeds, where I was also a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow.

My principal area of expertise concerns literature and visual culture in pre-modern France, especially the court of Burgundy in the period 1450–1530. I focus in particular on a corpus of romance texts known as the mises en prose, working extensively on the material and narrative aspects of these works, and the role of the manuscript books which contain them as objets d’art at court. I also specialize in cross-cultural literary studies, including translation and adaptation studies, and have a particular research interest in the history of dress in France and Belgium from the medieval to the modern periods.

Dr Clare Downham

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Irish Studies

Clare was a student at St Andrews and Cambridge and lectured in Celtic Studies at the University of Aberdeen before arriving in Liverpool. Her research interests focus on contacts across the Irish Sea in the Middle Ages. She has published two books on Viking Age history, and edited a collection of essays on the twelfth century hagiographer, Jocelin of Furness. She is currently writing a Cambridge Medieval Textbook about Ireland and a Short History of the Vikings for Tauris.

Dr Andrew Duxfield

Lecturer in English Literature (pre-1700), Department of English

I work on Renaissance literature, with a particular interest in the drama of Christopher Marlowe. My first book, _Christopher Marlowe and the Failure to Unify_, was published in 2015, and I have published widely on Marlowe elsewhere. I'm also interested in editing and textual theory, and am beginning a new project on the island space in the Renaissance literary imagination. I teach on a range of Renaissance-focused modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Professor Bonnie Effros

Professor of European History and Chaddock Chair of Economic and Social History, Department of History

My early research focused on the interpretation of burial ritual in early medieval communities. My first two books examined written and archaeological evidence related to the treatment and burial of the dead in post-Roman Gaul. Due to my interest in material remains, particularly important because of the scarcity of documents attesting to early medieval ritual practices, I dedicated my next book to examining early medieval feasting and fasting rituals. This study allowed me to explore the lifeways of marginalized groups, particularly women, who were able to express themselves more fully in this informal context than in the political sphere in which they were poorly represented.

My work is closely tied to current debates assessing the nature of Christian conversion, ethnic and gender identity, the survival of Roman mores in the West following Germanic migrations during the fourth and fifth centuries, and the contribution of new technologies in archaeology to our knowledge of this period. Together with Isabel Moreira at the University of Utah, I am the co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Merovingian World (Oxford 2019), which, with contributions from 44 archaeologists, art historians, and historians in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand, will highlight some of the exciting work currently being undertaken on the Merovingian era.

Dr Anna French

Lecturer in Early Modern History, Department of History

I am an historian of culture and belief, specialising in early modern Europe and especially the experience of the Reformation in the British Isles. I am particularly interested in visions of identity and personhood, of authority and emotion, and how we can perceive early modern visions of and reactions to these concepts in the religious discourse of the period.

My first monograph, 'Children of Wrath' (Ashgate, 2015), examined early modern culture through the lens of the youngest members of Reformation society, exploring what the religious experiences of children and youths can tell us about the questions of salvation and perceptions of good and evil which so preoccupied contemporaries. My second monograph, 'Born In Sin' (Oxford University Press, 2022), will build on this foundation to ask questions of the ways in which Reformation society understood sex, conception, birth and infancy, focusing in particular on how questions of gender and identity were reflected and addressed by the period’s reproductive discourse.

As well as serving as the Director of LCMRS, I am the General Secretary of the European Reformation Research Group.

Dr Natalie Hanna

Lecturer, Department of English

My research and teaching centres on medieval and Renaissance literature and medieval reception studies. My work focuses on language, identity and power in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, particularly in relation to gender and nationalism, in both the medieval period and its subsequent reception. I have further interests in digital approaches to the study of literature, cultural heritage and conservation. I am interested in supervising work on: medieval literature and language, Geoffrey Chaucer, Chaucerian reception, medievalism studies.

Dr Martin Heale

Reader in Late Medieval History, Department of History

My central interest is in the history of religion between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, including the Reformation. My research to date has focused mainly on the religious orders in late medieval and sixteenth-century England. This has included work on small monasteries, the relationship between monasteries and society in late medieval England and the role of the monastic superior. I recently published _The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England' with Oxford University Press. My new project is entitled 'The Reformation of the Religious Life', and will trace changing attitudes towards the monastic ideal in England and Scotland over the course of the sixteenth century.

Dr Damien Kempf

Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, Department of History

My PhD dissertation focused on the early medieval period and reconsidered the rise of the Carolingians through the analysis of a key source from this period, Paul the Deacon’s 'Liber de episcopis Mettensibus', written in the early 780s. I have edited, translated and introduced the text for the Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations Series (published by Peeters in 2013). I am currently completing a project initially started at the University of Bristol with Prof. Marcus Bull, and which addresses the cultural history of the First Crusade and its reception in medieval Europe. More specifically, I am investigating the political, religious and cultural impact of the most successful account of the First Crusade, Robert the Monk’s 'Historia Iherosolimitana'. The number of surviving manuscripts ― more than a hundred ― makes the text one of the most popular historical works of the Middle Ages.

An important part of my work focuses on the cultural and political uses of the 'Historia Iherosolimitana' in the twelfth century (from which no fewer than 38 manuscripts survive), examining the text’s journey from northern France, where it was first written and copied, to the German-speaking lands, where it enjoyed an enormous success. This research has already translated into a number of publications: in addition to a new edition of the text that Prof. Marcus Bull and I have recently completed (Boydell & Brewer, 2013), I am writing a monograph tentatively called 'A cultural history of a medieval best-seller: Robert the Monk’s Historia Iherosolimitana', which examines the multifaceted nature of the reception of Robert's text in medieval Europe.

Dr Katie Knowles

Lecturer in English Literature, Department of English

My research focuses on Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists. I specialise in the representation of childhood in Renaissance Drama and am particularly interested in Shakespearean performance histories and the children's acting companies of sixteenth and seventeenth century London. My first monograph, Shakespeare's Boys: A Cultural History, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. My current project is a comparative study of child actors in the early modern period and the nineteenth century.

My research centres on Shakespeare and other Renaissance drama with a particular interest in performance histories and representations of childhood in literature. I am also interested in representations of space and place in dramatic texts and on the early modern stage.

Professor Sarah Peverley

Department of English

Sarah Peverley is a medievalist, cultural historian, broadcaster, and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker. Her research focuses on literature produced during The Wars of the Roses, on medieval manuscripts and early books, and on mermaids in literature and art. In 2016-18 she was Leverhulme Research Fellow on a project entitled 'Mermaids of the British Isles, c. 450-1500.'

As an expert on the Middle Ages, Sarah regularly appears on television and radio programmes, and gives public talks about medieval culture at festivals and heritage events. She has received several awards for her research and contributions to public life and learning the North West, especially in relation to her work with ‘The Liverpool Players’, a group of student-actors specialising in making early drama and literature accessible to young children and adults. In 2019 she was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Sarah has published on a range of subjects, including Historical Writing in Medieval and Tudor Britain, Early English Drama, Anglo-Scottish Relations, Arthurian Literature, and Medieval Scribes. In addition to being a member of various professional bodies, learned societies, and research networks, Sarah is Vice-President of the Medieval Chronicle Society, an Editorial Advisory Board Member for Liverpool University Press and an Editorial Board Member for The Literary Encyclopedia.

Dr Andrew Redden

Senior Lecturer in Latin American History, Department of History

Andrew's first book, Diabolism in Colonial Peru, 1560-1750, came out of his PhD investigation into the interaction between demons and the population of Colonial Peru. It centred on the diverse ways in which the perceived presence of demons was experienced and utilised by members of the various cultures that coexisted and intermingled in the Viceroyalty.

Currently Andrew is completing a project that investigates the presence of angels and demons in the Early Modern Hispanic World, with a particular focus on the viceroyalties of New Spain (modern Mexico), Peru (including modern Bolivia and Chile) and New Granada (modern Colombia and Venezuela), but also including Spain and Southern Italy. Based on archival materials, theological treatises and religious art, the project assesses the various ways in which these spiritual beings were perceived to affect human lives. A co-edited anthology of essays on this topic was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

Andrew has also worked on slavery and African witchcraft in Colonial New Granada, and conscience on Early Modern Hispanic frontiers. These studies incorporate a much broader interest in global Jesuit missions and, more generally, the transmission of religious ideas and practice in the early modern period throughout the Hispanic World, as well as the conflicts and surprising accommodations that resulted.

Professor Gillian (Jill) Rudd

Department of English

I have published on Piers Plowman, Chaucer, the Gawain-poet as well as some medieval lyrics and The Cloud of Unknowyng. The main focus of my current research is eco-criticism, or green criticism and medieval literature (a topic I investigated in Greenery: ecocritical readings of late medieval literature). In general, I am interested in exploring the interplay between medieval literature and current concerns and literary approaches, often finding surprising correspondences between current outlook and medieval attitudes.

Dr Robin Whelan

Lecturer in Mediterranean History, Department of History

I am a cultural historian of the Mediterranean world in late antiquity and the early middle ages. My research and teaching focus on the later Roman Empire and its early medieval successors, with a particular interest in issues of religious diversity, social identity, ethnic communities, and political culture. My first book, Being Christian in Vandal Africa (University of California Press, 2018) is about the consequences of church conflict in post-Roman Africa (modern-day Tunisia and Algeria). My current project considers how Christian ideology reshaped the representation and practice of governance in late antiquity.

My current project considers how Christian ideology transformed the representation and practice of governance across the Mediterranean world in late antiquity. This is far from an understudied topic (!), but my project is novel in shifting attention from emperors and bishops to the ‘secular’ administrators who served late Roman, post-Roman and Byzantine regimes. I am looking to trace how conceptions of divine providence, ascetic practices, and interactions with ecclesiastical institutions created new—and often rather ambivalent—expectations of these men and their political agency.

Dr Sizen Yiacoup

Lecturer in Iberian and Latin American Studies, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

Dr Sizen Yiacoup is a specialist in the cultural history of medieval and early modern Spain. Her research interests converge on the theme of cross-cultural conflict and exchange between Muslims, Jews and Christians in pre-modern Iberia. She has published widely on this topic, focusing largely on the depiction of Muslims in the Castilian frontier ballads and highlighting the ways in which the 'romances fronterizos' recall the uniquely hybrid culture forged through years of contact and conflict between the Muslims of Al-Andalus and the Christians of Castile. Dr Yiacoup has also published on the representation of war and religious violence in the Judeo-Spanish ballad tradition and is currently researching the role of anti-semitism in Renaissance Humanism and how this is expressed in key Spanish literary works of the sixteenth century.

List of Research Students

Emily Abercrombie (History)

Michele Burras-Stubbs (MLC)

Heather Cowan (History)

Catherine Crossley (History)

James Davison (Irish Studies)

James Duncan (History)

Andrew Foster (Irish Studies)

Maria del Carmen Garcia Castano (MLC)

Tom Morrissey (History)

Danica Ramsey-Brimberg (Irish Studies)

Jen Roberts (Irish Studies)

Peter Taylor (ACE)

Elizabeth West (Irish Studies)





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