My interests lie in the intellectual, devotional and artistic cultures of the medieval west, especially the Latin church, and its encounters with Greek and Arabic civilisations.
I am currently preparing a monograph on the cult of the Virgin Mary in the monasteries of medieval Britain, analysing the interplay of Marian thought and the Benedictine calling, as well as tracing some Patristic and Byzantine antecedents of key ideas. The writings of Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109) and his circle have been particularly significant for this research – I am a member of the International Association for Anselm Studies – but I have also worked on a later monastic figure, Stephen of Sawley (d. 1252), a Cistercian abbot.
As a student, I read Theology at Oxford and Durham, before returning to Oxford for a doctoral studentship with the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Since 2014, I have been an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
My role in College
The medieval world, often unfamiliar to new students of history and theology, is endlessly fascinating and often surprising. As a tutor, I most enjoy encouraging, enticing and even cajoling my students into falling into – and, ultimately, in love with – the middle ages, as I did during my undergraduate studies. Once the medieval world has you under its spell, every other age will look just a bit less vivid, sound a bit less clear, and smell…a bit less pungent.
I work with students from across the University on courses in medieval British and European history, as well as Christian life and thought up to the Reformation, and modern Catholicism. I also supervise undergraduate theses, with recent topics including Anselm’s letters to women, medieval disability, the spiritualities of Thérèse of Lisieux (d. 1897) and Teresa of Calcutta (d. 1997), and thirteenth-century kingship.
Alongside my academic role, I provide pastoral support for students in the capacity of Assistant Dean, as well as contributing to the administrative side of college life as Development Officer, helping us to stay in-touch with a wide and evermore diverse alumni community.
“By the end of his life, he was already thought to be old-fashioned; but his best thoughts are above fashion, and they can be taken up at any time and found to be as fresh as ever.” R. W. Southern on Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109).
Articles and Research Papers
- ‘A Non-Retributive understanding of Satisfaction for Restorative Justice’, Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture (February 2018)
- ‘Restorative Justice and Anthropology: Reframing the Narrative of Victimhood’, Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture (January 2018)
- ‘Co-Passion of Charity: Twelfth-Century Love Language and Mary’s Experience of Calvary’, Senior Research Seminar, Regent’s Park College, Oxford (June 2017)
- ‘Affectivity before Anselm: The Evidence of Anglo-Saxon Illuminated Manuscripts’, Art and Articulation, Annual Conference of the Mystical Theology Network (January 2016)
- ‘Stephen of Sawley’s Meditations on Our Lady’s Joys and the Medieval History of the Rosary’, Cistercian Studies Quarterly 50.4 (2015), pp. 424-39
- ‘Maria, gratia plena: vision, convergence and controversy’, Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA, Misericordia University, PA (August 2015)
- ‘Object of the Soul’s Desire: Anselm’s Prayer to Christ’, International Medieval Congress, Leeds (July 2014)