Visiting Fellows and Scholars


Rhodri Lewis

Dr Rhodri Lewis, Tutorial Fellow in English, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in English at University of Oxford. Dr Lewis is a MEMC Visiting Fellow from 2-30 September 2013. He will be contributing to the Centre for the History of Emotions PATS (postgraduate advanced training seminar) on Historical Medical Texts on 24 September, and to the ‘Science and Medieval and Early Modern Literature’ Symposium (on 23 September). For the latter he will speak on: ‘The error of the eye directs the mind: Shakespeare on the psychology of misapprehension’.

Dr Lewis has published widely across early modern literary and intellectual history, paying particular attention to relationship between literature and the histories of language, science, and religion; his interests also include textual criticism and the history of the book. Dr Lewis’ recent books include: William Petty on the Order of Nature: An Unpublished Manuscript Treatise (MRTS, 2012), and Language, Mind and Nature: Artificial Languages in England from Bacon to Locke (CUP, 2007; rev. 2012). He is currently at work on two monographs and two edited editions. The monographs are: a book titled Shaping Fantasies: Shakespeare and the Early Modern Mind and another on the emergence of the ‘man of letters’ in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He is editing (with Daniel Andersson and Sophie Weeks) volume 5 of the Oxford University Press edition of Francis Bacon's complete works, which comprises the De sapientia veterum (1609) and Bacon's early philosophical writings to about 1611. He is also editing (with William Poole) the correspondence of John Aubrey; this is one of the core components of Oxford’s cross-disciplinary ‘Cultures of Knowledge’ project, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Dr Lewis has held visiting fellowships at the Huntington Library (2011) and Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin (2006-07), as well as a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2010-11).


Jon Viðar Sigurðsson, Professor of History, University of Oslo. Prof. Sigurðsson was a MEMC Visiting Fellow in March 2012. His area of expertise is Icelandic and Norwegian cultural history in the period c. 800-1400. Prof. Sigurðsson delivered a paper on: ‘Friendship in the Icelandic Free State Society (c. 930-1262/64)’ (Wednesday 28 March).


David Scott-Macnab, Associate Professor of English at the University of Johannesburg, returned to Sydney in August, spending four weeks as a visiting scholar of the Centre. He spent most of his time in the Fisher Library, making use of its extensive collection of open-access material to research a number of projects on medieval language and literature, and consulting with former colleagues, including Mike Carter and Max Walkley, on his research. David lectured to the Centre on 25 August on The Jokes of a Half-Alien Culture: The Case of Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Sir Thopas’, looking at the difficulties of interpreting humour at a distance of six centuries, and re-examining the assumptions that lie behind many accepted interpretations of Chaucer’s poem. He returned to Johannesburg in September cheerfully weighed down by numerous books and photocopies acquired during his time in Sydney.

Denis Renevey, Professor of Medieval English Language and Literature at the University of Lausanne, spent a few days in Sydney under the exchange programme between our two Universities. On 7 April at the Centre he lectured on The Savoy and the International Language of Love : The Case of Othon de Grandson, looking at literary production originating in or near the County of Savoy between 1348 and 1418 and assessing the literary impact of this independent area (annexed to France only in 1860) upon Europe in general and Othon's impact as knight-poet at the English court and on Chaucer in particular.

Alastair Minnis, Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English at Yale University, spent the first week in March at the Centre. His first lecture, Fragmentations of Medieval Religion : Chaucer, Thomas More, and the Volcano Lover, considered puzzling passages in Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale, Thomas More’s Dialogue concerning Heresies, and Sir William Hamilton's interpretation of demotic religion remnants, all in the light of jokes about relics and saints’ cults circulating in the late medieval and early modern periods. His second lecture, Medieval Edens : Sex, Death, and Power in Paradise, considered how some of the Middle Ages' greatest minds imagined life had the Fall not occurred and what that said about their own existence. This search for origins was to understand better the rationale of God’s creation, governing sex, death, and power.


Dr Judy Quinn, Director of Studies in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, Newnham College, Cambridge, previously in the English Department in Sydney, was a Visiting Scholar in January-February 2010, working on her ms for The Valkyrie in Old Norse Poetry in consultation with Margaret Clunies Ross and Geraldine Barnes.


In April and May 2008 Edward James, Professor of Medieval History at University College Dublin, was here as a Visiting Professorial Fellow and on 8 May lectured the Centre on ‘Oral transmission and oral tradition in early medieval societies’.

Torfi Tulinius, Professor of French and Medieval Literature at the University of Iceland, was a Visiting Scholar from 14 March to 30 April, working on a monograph study of Eyrbyggja saga. He also participated in, and presented a paper at, the NEER-funded Old Norse cluster workshop on 2 April, and on 10 April gave the lecture ‘Narratology, psychoanalysis, and the sagas : new insights into the structure of Eyrbyggia Saga’ to the Centre. This was Torfi's second visit to the CMS.


Dr Piers Mitchell was in Sydney for a year as a Visiting Scholar in the Centre and Visiting Lecturer in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. He is a practising children's orthopaedic surgeon and a historian and archaeologist of medicine, usually located at Imperial College, London.

He specialises in palaeopathology, the investigation of diseases, war injuries, etc., in the past, and is especially interested in the history and archaeology of medicine during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in the Crusader Levant where he has undertaken numerous archaeological investigations at various castles, towns, cemeteries, and battlefield sites. He is famous among Crusade historians for analysing remains in cess pits and had recently published a totally new and original book on Medicine in the Crusades.

In March Dr Mitchell lectured to Medieval Studies undergraduates, and Centre Members, on medicinal and surgical practice during the First Crusade. In the Centre's monthly evening lecture programme, on 24 May he lectured on injuries and their treatment in ‘The world of the Crusader surgeon’ and on 20 September on the spread of disease with the Crusades, Crusader perceptions of disease, and healing pilgrimage in ‘Health and medicine in the Crusades’.

April - May 2006

Professor Anders Andrén, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Stockholm, and formerly Professor of Archaeology at the University of Lund, was a Visiting Professor in the Centre. Anders was the 2005-6 Swedish exchange visitor to Australia, supported by the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Vitterhetsakademi in Stockholm. This scheme supports the visit of one Swedish scholar a year to Australia and one Australian researcher a year to Sweden.

Anders’ presence complemented the research interests of our own Old Norse-Icelandic group. His research specialisation is in Iron Age and Viking Age archaeology in Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden, and he has written many distinguished and insightful books and articles on these subjects. His main project, while Sydney, was to write up the final report on a major interdisciplinary research project about the diverse evidence (archaeological, linguistic, literary, religious) bearing on the nature of pre-Christian Scandinavian religion. He gave a seminar on this subject on 27 April, entitled ‘Mission impossible? The Archaeology of Old Norse Religion’.

Jan - Feb 2006

Professor Torfi H. Tulinius, Professor of French and Medieval Literature at the University of Iceland, was a Visiting Professor in the Centre, working on various research projects, including a translation into English of his 2004 book on Egils saga and a French translation of the Old Icelandic Sverris saga.

Sep 2003 - Aug 2004

Professor Adrian Gully, H.H. Sheikh Dr Sultan ibn Muhammad al-Qasimi Chair of Arabic Studies, The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University, Leverhulme Fellow and Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Medieval Studies.
Adrian Gully was working on a monograph on Epistolography in Islamic Society, 11-15th Centuries AD. More details in Newsletter 7.1 (PDF).

Semester 2 2003

Dr Louise D’Arcens, Department of English, University of Wollongong, and Centre for Medieval Studies Visiting Scholar Louise D’Arcens used University of Sydney archives for a study of the work of George Arnold Wood, for a paper delivered at the International Studies in Medievalism conference and for an article submitted to Parergon.

Jan – Jun 2003

Professor Michael Carter, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Oslo, and Ph.D. honoris causa, University of Lund and Centre for Medieval Studies Visiting Fellow Mike Carter returned after a visit three years before. This time he was finishing the book A History of the Arabic Language while on study leave here. He lectured at the Centre for Medieval Studies and presented the A. R. Davis Lecture for the Australian Oriental Society. More details in Newsletter 6.1 (PDF).

Nov 2002 – Jan 2003

Dr Judy Quinn, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Studies, University of Cambridge
Judy Quinn, formerly of the English Department, University of Sydney, and on study leave from Cambridge, was working on a book on Old Norse eddic poetry, The Poetics of Dialogue in the Poetic Edda, while in Sydney.

Feb – Apr 2002

Professor Christopher Given-Wilson, Department of Mediaeval History, University of St Andrews, Scotland, and Centre for Medieval Studies Visiting Scholar and Honorary Research Associate
Christopher Given-Wilson, a distinguished medieval historian, was writing a book on late medieval English historiography. More details in Newsletter 5.1 (PDF).

Sep 2001

Dr. Jenna Mead, School of English and European Languages and Literatures, University of Tasmania and Centre for Medieval Studies Visiting Scholar and Honorary Research Assistant.
Jenna Mead was working on Geoffrey Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe.

Semester 2 2000

Professor Dr. Rudolf Simek of the Deutsches Seminar (Skandinavistische Abteilung) of the University of Bonn and Centre for Medieval Studies Academic Exchange Visitor (exchanging with Margaret Clunies Ross who taught at the Friedrich Wilhelms Universität in Bonn)

Professor Simek taught in the Department of English at Sydney University.

Semester 2 2000

Dr Hilary Carey of the University of Newcastle and Centre for Medieval Sudies Visiting Fellow
Dr Carey worked towards completing a major article on ‘Astrological folding almanacs’ and also lectured to the Centre on ‘Astrology and the Antichrist’.

Semester 1 2000

Professor Michael Carter, Professor of Arabic, University of Oslo and Centre for Medieval Sudies Visiting Fellow
Mike Carter worked on several major research projects, including an edition of the earliest extant Arabic grammar. He attended the ANZAMEMS Conference in Sydney in February; and gave a lecture to the Centre on ‘Infinity and lies in medieval Islam’.

Semester 2 1999

Professor Roberta Frank, Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, and Centre for Medieval Sudies Visiting Fellow Roberta Frank was available to students and staff for discussion of medieval Scandinavian material and of the OED (based at the University of Toronto) of which she was on the editorial board. She lectured the Centre ‘On Viking Heads – Hats that Matter’

Semester 1 1998

Dr Richard Perkins, Senior Lecturer, Scandinavian Studies, University of London, and Centre for Medieval Sudies Visiting Fellow Richard Perkins was working on runic Swedish and on correspondences between medieval Scandinavian languages and Arabic; was generally interested in connections between the Viking and Arab worlds; and was particularly interested in making contact with Ahmad Shboul. He gave a lecture on ‘Arab and Viking’; and was a valuable ‘source’ for staff and students alike.