John Arnold, ‘Lordship, Violence and Very Small Churches in Southern France, c. 1000-1200’
The York Medieval Lecture 2018, Tuesday 13 February at 5:30pm in K/133
John Arnold is a cultural historian of medieval religion, with particular interests in gender, affect, and the theory of history-writing. He was appointed as Professor of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge in 2016, having previously worked at Birkbeck, University of London and the University of East Anglia. He has been editor of the journal Cultural and Social History, and currently sits on the editorial board of Past & Present.
John has strong ties with the University of York, having studied here as for his undergraduate degree, and in particular with the Centre for Medieval Studies, where he completed his PhD. (Not only was John supervised for his doctorate by a current York medievalist – Prof. Pete Biller – but has since supervised the PhD of another, Tom Johnson!) John’s doctoral research on the inquisition of the Cathar heresy in southern France formed the foundation of his book, Inquisition and Power: Catharism and the Confessing Subject in Medieval Languedoc (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), as well as many subsequent articles on subjects including textual power, orality and literacy, and the history of emotions.
While John’s core interest lies in the history of medieval religion, he has also written widely on what it means to do history in the present today, as, for example, in his first book, History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2000), and his later What is Medieval History? (Polity, 2008). His most recent published project continues in this vein, in a co-edited volume (with Matthew Hilton and Jan Rüger) on the intellectual legacy of Eric Hobsbawm: History after Hobsbawm: Writing the Past for the Twenty-First Century, co-edited with (Oxford University Press, 2018).
John’s current research, however, has seen him return to the south of France. Along with Pete Biller, he has recently published a source-book for the Manchester Medieval Sources series, Heresy and Inquisition in France, c. 1200-c. 1300 (Manchester University Press, February 2015). And he is currently completing a monograph on the making of lay religion in southern France, c. 1000-1350 – the research for which forms the basis of his talk at York.