Two New PhD studentships in the Department of History

Two studentships are available as part of a major new project, ‘The Genesis of Inquisition Procedures and the Truth-Claims of Inquisition Records: The Inquisition Registers of Languedoc, 1235-1244’, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Professor Peter Biller (History) with Dr Lucy Sackville (History) and Dr Shelagh Sneddon (History), which started on 1 May 2014 and will run until April 2019.

Painting. Expulsion of the Cathars

This exciting new project aims to transform the study and understanding of the inquisition of heresy in its crucial first decade. The project will provide a technical edition, with apparatus, and a translation of four mainly unedited inquisition registers produced during the earliest years of inquisition in Languedoc, 1235-44. This will provide the basis for, and go hand in hand with, study of the genesis and development of inquisition procedures, and ultimately enquiry into the truth-claims of these records. The registers are also rich with materials on Languedocian society and culture in this period, especially the nobility and religion – their vivid colour and human interest are comparable to the inquisition records on which Montaillou was based. These registers are extant only in copies from 1669. The project will therefore also have an early modern element. There will be investigation of the rise of scientific historical scholarship – of which this copying was one expression – and early modern French interest in medieval history, and in particular interest in the themes of inquisition and religious tolerance.

This is a great opportunity to pursue your academic interests and to gain valuable experience of research and impact as part of a committed and dynamic team. The studentships will start October 2015.

The two PhD projects:

1: ‘Religion and the Culture of Thirteenth-Century Southern French Nobility’

The inquisition registers from these decades are a rich source not only for the social and religious life of the region, but also for its aristocratic networks and power structures. Many of the individuals appearing in the registers were members of the local nobility, and the support of these individuals for heterodox networks, or for the work of the inquisitors, was a crucial factor in their survival or success. The novelty and wealth of the material that can be harvested from the early registers – as they are edited and translated by the project – will enable the opening up of the study of the southern French nobility in the early decades of the thirteenth century, during the time of the crusade and in its immediate aftermath. These are the materials that we expect the PhD candidate to use as the basis for a cultural, religious and social study of the southern French nobility. Candidates should have fluency in English, a good reading knowledge of French and medieval Latin.
2: ‘The Idea of Medieval Heresy in Early Modern France’

Interest in medieval heresy and inquisition – within seventeenth-century French intellectual culture and religious polemic – is the early modern context of this project. The field of the PhD investigation will include the growth of historical interest in medieval heresy and its repression, and the search for original sources by seventeenth-century savants. The outer limits of this field include the growth of antiquarian interest in regional history, the debates about religious tolerance and conformity in France, and the new scientific history. Evaluation of how medieval heresy and inquisition were understood by early modern Europeans and how they were portrayed in historical narrative will be central. Candidates should have fluency in English, a good reading knowledge of French and be prepared to learn Latin if appointed.

AHRC History Project PhD Studentship 2015 – further info

Both studentships are based in the Department of History.

Further information about the project can be found at the project website.

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