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Katherine Cross
Lecturer in Medieval History

Profile

Biography

I am a historian of early medieval northern Europe, with an interest in comparative approaches. My research reveals how narratives of Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age pasts have shaped - and continue to shape - ethnic and religious identities. My first book, Heirs of the Vikings: History and Identity in Normandy and England, c.950-c.1015, was published by York Medieval Press in 2018.

I am interested in changing narratives of the Viking Age, and how these stories were reconfigured and reused as they were transmitted between generations. My work considers the political uses of written narratives, how material objects were used as focuses of memory, and the roles played by children and their carers in shaping group identities.

I have taught History at the University of York, the University of Sheffield and the University of Oxford. Between 2013 and 2018 I was Postdoctoral Researcher on the Empires of Faith project at the British Museum, after completing my PhD in Medieval History at UCL. Before that, I studied for a BA and MSt at Balliol College, University of Oxford.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Warriors and Peace-weavers? Men and Women in the Viking Age (1st Year Period Topic module)
  • The Barbarian Migrations (2nd Year Explorations module)
  • The World of Late Antiquity, c. 300-c. 650 (2nd Year Histories and Contexts module)
  • Societies in World History (1st Year core module)

Postgraduate

  • Art and Religion in the First Millennium (MA Option module)
  • Things in History: Researching Material Culture (MA Skills module)

Research

Overview

I am a historian of early medieval northern Europe, with an interest in comparative approaches. Having explored the political uses of Viking-Age memories in my book Heirs of the Vikings: History and Identity in Normandy and England, c.950-c.1015, I am now researching how stories of the viking past were transmitted between generations.

I co-curated the exhibition Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions (October 2017 to February 2018) at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and contributed essays to the accompanying book and blog. From these experiences I developed interests in early medieval material culture and have written about how objects, as well as written texts, convey historical narratives. I also began to explore the roles played by museum collections (primarily the British Museum and the Ashmolean) in shaping modern narratives of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ period.

In another current project, I investigate infant feeding in early medieval conversion narratives, and I am keen to build this work into broader comparative conversations.

Publications

Full publications list

Heirs of the Vikings: History and Identity in Normandy and England, c.950-c.1015 (York Medieval Press, 2018)

(co-author) Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions, Jaś Elsner, Stefanie Lenk et al. (Ashmolean Museum, 2017)

‘Barbarians at the British Museum: Anglo-Saxon art, race, and religion’, in Empires of Faith in Late Antiquity: Histories of Art and Religion from India to Ireland, ed. Jaś Elsner (CUP, 2020), pp. 396-433

‘“But that will not be the end of the calamity”: why emphasise viking disruption?’, Stasis in the Medieval West?, ed. by Michael Bintley, Martin Locker, Victoria Symons and Mary Wellesley (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), pp. 155-177

‘Byrhtferth’s Historia regum and the transformation of the Alfredian past’, Haskins Society Journal, 27 (2016 for 2015), 55-78

‘The Mediterranean Scenes on the Franks Casket: narrative and exegesis’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 78 (2015), 1-40

(in press) ‘Comparing Material Texts’ and ‘The Franks Casket: A Traveller in Anglo-Saxon Time’: responses to papers by Benjamin Tilghman and Umberto Bongianino on illuminated manuscripts, and by Catherine Karkov on the Franks Casket, in Imagining the Divine, ed. Rachel Wood (British Museum Press, forthcoming 2020)

Contact details

Dr Katherine Cross
Lecturer in Medieval History
V/A/223
Vanbrugh College
Department of History
University of York
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: Internal 2924, External (01904) 322924

@drkcmcross