I teach all the medieval Europe and World History outline papers, and British History from 1000. I teach a number of the specialist papers within the period 1000-1400, and have recently developed new undergraduate and taught postgraduate papers on ‘The Global Middle Ages’ and an optional subject on ‘The Mongols’. I teach the Faculty’s theoretical and methodological papers and supervise graduate research.
I was educated at the University of Sydney and Cambridge University. I was a Junior Research Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, at the University of Sheffield, before arriving at St Catherine’s and the History Faculty in 2015.
I am an historian of religion, power and intellectual life in medieval Europe. I have been involved in developing the field of global medieval history, and new approaches to historical study that speak to the concerns of the mounting climate and environmental crisis.
My first monograph, Roger Bacon and the Defence of Christendom, was a revisionist study of the English Franciscan, Roger Bacon, his reform programme and his environment. A recent Past & Present article, ‘Globalising Cosmologies’, written with the Aztec specialist, Caroline Dodds Pennock, explores what it might mean for societies to conceive of themselves ‘globally’ in the medieval period, and what impact such a view of medieval thought might have on our current understanding of ‘globalisation’ as a specific historical process or a quality of modernity.
I am currently working on a monograph, Medieval Histories of the Anthropocene, which explores questions concerning the relations between religion, power and the construction of public rationality in the building of medieval states across Eurasia. I am interested in how these centralising processes consciously dislocated humans from local ecosystems and specific and sustainable practices, while creating powerful and enduring narratives about civilisation, barbarism, and the use of resources. A related, partly collaborative, series of projects ask about the future of our discipline, and of Humanities and Social Sciences more generally, in the politically, economically and ecologically unstable period that we are now entering.
I have appeared on Radio 4’s In Our Time and contributed to Lapham’s Quarterly.
Further information about my research can be found on my Faculty webpage http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/faculty/staff/profile/power/index.html
I have supervised doctoral research on a range of topics exploring intellectual, religious and community life between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. I would welcome inquiries from prospective students interested in environmental and climate history, later medieval thought, the religious orders, expansion of European horizons, inter-faith relations and questions around medieval power and governance.