Christina Lee is an Associate Professor in Viking Studies in the School of English, where she has been employed since 2001 (permanent since 2003). She has published on Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon funerary rituals, Anglo-Saxon concepts of disability, health and disease.Since 2013 she has been working with a cross-disciplinary group of historians, philologist and microbiologists on medieval medical remedies (AncientBiotics), and this work is currently supported by an APEX award. This research considers whether medieval remedies had any efficacy at all and if they could inspire modern drug discovery.
She is an editorial board of the Brepols Series Knowledge, Scholarship, and Science in the Middle Ages (KSS) http://www.brepols.net/Pages/BrowseBySeries.aspx?TreeSeries=KSS and one of three general editors for the Amsterdam University Press Series on 'Pre-Modern Health, Disease and Disability' https://www.aup.nl/en/series/premodern-health-disease-and-disability
Until October 2018 she was the Chair of 'Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland' and served as the First Vice President for the Global head organisation of the International Society for Early Medieval English Studies (ISSIME). Until 2018 she has served as a Council Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research, where she is also on the editorial board of Saga Book.
She is a University of Nottingham Museum board member and is a board member of UNICAS (University of Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Analytical Science) which fosters new interdisciplinary research in STEMM and SHAPE.
In the past she served on the management committee of two Research Priority Areas: Life in Changing Environments and Health Humanities.
My research focuses on Health, Disease and Wellbeing in Early Medieval England. As such I am interested in what it means to be ill, both for the individual but also for the society. It includes treatment, as well as accommodation of people who are ill and the discourses around illness. This research is currently written up in my forthcoming monograph Health and Healing in Early Medieval England .
In the past I have considered the relevance of food and drink in Anglo-Saxon funerary rites and I continue to be interested in the possibilities of comparing evidence from material culture with text-based sources.
I have been working with colleagues in microbiology to test the efficacy of medieval remedies. Our paper on our pilot study can be found here: F.Harrison, Roberts, A., Rumbaugh, K., Lee, C. and S. Diggle, ' A 1000 year old antimicrobial remedy with anti-Staphylococcal activity', mBio. 6: 3 (2015), http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/4/e01129-15.full.
I am a founding member of the cross-disciplinary research network on 'Disease, Disability and Medicine in Early Medieval Europe', which meets annually and the general editor of Studies in Early Medicine.
Apart from feasting and disease I have written on medieval historiography, textiles as grave goods and perceptions of medieval myth. Between 2008 and 10 I led a research project on the Viking impact on the Irish Sea region, which included the study of genetics:
and I continue to be interested in the Vikings in the Irish Sea region.
In 2016 I organised a major research conference on the Viking World with Professor Judith Jesch: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/csva/news-events/the-viking-world-2016/index.aspx
I am just stepping down as the director of the interdisciplinary Institute for Medieval Research, where I led a large group of medieval scholars at the University of Nottingham ://www.nottingham.ac.uk/medieval/index.aspx
I am also a member of the Homo Debilis research cluster at the University of Bremen, Germany http://www.mittelalter.uni-bremen.de/?page_id=69
I was one of the four collaborators on the Viking Identities Network (VIN http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csva/research/viking-identities-network.aspx) and am involved in the Gender Histories Group. I am also a member of a cross-disciplinary research network on epidemic disease in the early Middle Ages.
I am a member of the editorial board of Nottingham Medieval Studies and Saga Book.
Outreach and Public Engagement:
I have given a number of public lectures on Vikings to various Heritage groups. As the Director of the Institute for Medivale Research I initiated a day school of paganism http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/medieval/index.aspx. I blog on all things medieval as part of Medieval@Nottingham http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/medieval/
For details of my most recent public engagement please consider the Public Engagement Page of the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csva/public-engagement/index.aspx
I teach on both Old English and Old Norse literature and culture. I have research interest in medieval health, gender and the Viking impact on Britain and Ireland which influence my specialised… read more
Research areas: Medical humanities, historical language studies, Old English and Old Norse medical texts and literature, medieval studies.
My main research interest is on concepts of health in the early medieval period - especially Early Medieval England and the Viking World. What is considered to be 'healthy' at a time when there are fewer methods of cure? Our modern concepts of health and illness cannot be applied to teh past and so part of my research has been involved in defining the concepts of illness and health in this period, as well as looking into the language in which such ideas are expressed.
My research has been interdisciplinary throughout my career, but since 2015 I have been working closely with modern scientists. As such I was a key member of a successful pilot study which tested an Anglo-Saxon medical remedy for its antibacterial effectiveness, in which I work alongside microbiologists. The first results are published here: http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/4/e01129-15
This work is ongoing and we recently were awarded am APEX grant:
I am also the recipient of a Wellcome Prime grant (with Professor Robert Layfield, Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences) in which we compare evidence from protein analyses with medieval medical texts.
I am a member of the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/csva/ View my vodcast about Viking Studies.
I am one of three general editors for the series 'Premodern Health and Disability' for Amsterdam University Press and one of the editorial board for the 'Knowledge, Scholarship, and Science in the Middle Ages' for Brepols.
CHRISTINA LEE, 2018. Healing words: St Guthlac and the Trauma of War. In: WENDY TURNER and CHRISTINA LEE, eds., Trauma in the Medieval Ages Brill. 251-73
LEE, CHRISTINA, 2015. Costumes and Contacts: Evidence for Scandinavian women in the Irish Sea region. In: HOWARD B. CLARKE & RUTH JOHNSON, ed., The Vikings in Ireland and beyond
Before and after the battle of Clontarf Four Courts. 284-296
LEE, CHRISTINA, 2016. Threads and Needles: The Use of Textiles for Medical Purposes. In: CLEGG-HYER, MAREN and FREDERICK, JILL, eds., Textiles, Text, Intertext Boydell & Brewer. 103-117
PhD supervision: I welcome to proposals on aspects of Anglo-Saxon and Viking culture (especially the relationship between material culture and text), and any aspect of medieval medical humanities, such as l disease, health care and disability studies.
I would be delighted to supervise students who are interested in medical medicine (texts, theories and practice), concepts of health and illness (texts and language), as well as interdisciplinary approaches (with contemporary research).
Areas of Research Supervision:
Disease, disability and the body in Early Medieval England and Viking Studies; concepts of 'otherness'; gender in the early medieval world; food and feasting; the interplay between Old English and other Germanic literatures.
Current PhD students:
- Jessie Yusek: 'Exploring Gender and Monstrosity in Medieval Icelandic and Middle English Literature and Society' (Vice Chancellor's Scholarship, International)
- Catrin Fear: 'The impact of lead in Medieval Britain' (M3C funded)
- Abigail Williams: 'Learning and Teaching women in Anglo-Saxon England'
- Chiara Giancoli: 'The Representations and Functions of Youth and Young People in Anglo-Saxon Literature' (School of English Research Scholarship)
- Kit Richardson: ' Disablism and Dawrfism in Medievalist Fantasy' (M4C funded)
- Abigail Greaves: 'Mental Illness in Early Medieval England'
Past PhD students:
- James Aitcheson: 'Writing the Middle Ages: a re-evaluation of the fantastical in historical fiction' (M3C funding, PhD awarded 2021)
- Robert Francis: 'Food for thought: An archaeobotanical and textual synthesis of diet, agriculture and foodways in Anglo-Saxon England.' (M3C funding, PhD awareded 2021)
- Jacob Runner: 'Contrastive Literature: A Study in Historical English and Japanese Polygraphy (PhD awarded 2020)
- Katrina Wlikins: 'A stylistic investigation of characterization in Ælfric's Esther' (PhD awarded 2018)
- Stefani Künzel: 'The Conceptualization of Epidemic Disease in Anglo-Saxon England' (PhD awarded 2017)
- Erin Connelly: ' Bernhard of Gordon's Lily of Medicine' (PhD awarded 2016)
- Brent LaPadula: 'The Ontology of the Self in Anglo-Saxon in Anglo-Saxon England' (PhD awarded 2016)
- Marjolein Stern 'Visual Communication in the Viking Age' (PhD awarded 2013)
- Teva Vidal: 'Domestic Life in the Viking Age' (PhD awarded in 2013)
- John Quanrud: (PhD awarded 2013)
External supervision: Jaka Jark (University of Exeter)
The most recent book which I have edited with Prof Wendy Turner looks at concepts of trauma in medieval societies (Trauma in Medieval Society, Brill 2018). My own contribution considers if certain texts which depict traumatic events could have been used in 'healing' or copying with PTSD.
I have co-written a paper with Judith Jesch (CSVA) on how runic objects may have had a place in pragmatic (rather than 'magical') healing.
My first book considered the relevance of food and drink in Anglo-Saxon funerary rites (published by Boydell & Brewer). My current research is on the position of the disabled and diseased in the early Middle Ages, as well as the impact of epidemics on medieval societies. I have published on leprosy in Anglo-Saxon England, as well as various articles on disability and disease in Anglo-Saxon England.I have published on female historiography, leprosy and disability in Anglo-Saxon England, textiles as markers of identity and the role of myth in creating national identities.
As part of the VIN (Viking Identities Network) research group I was involved in questions of identity and cultural hybridity in Viking-Age England and Scotland. With my co-organiser Dr Cathy Swift (Limerick) I have been working alongside scientists to look at potential research overlaps between arts and sciences in the AHRC/Irish Research Council - funded network 'Genes of the Gallgoidil' project: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~aezweb/conference/doku.php?id=genes:home
I am in the process of completing my monograph on Health and Healing in Early Medieval England (expected 2021). I have several papers in press, including an examination of how epidemic disease is discussed in saga narratives. Other forthcoming papers look at remedies for beauty treatments in medical texts, the uses of nettles in remedies and a co-authored paper on animal healing. I am also developing ideas of trauma and healing through narrative.
I was involved in writing for a collection of papers for the New Feminist Renaissance in Anglo-Saxon Studies. In my essay I explore the importance of embroidered textiles: as artefacts made by women which exhibit a high level of literacy and cultural knowledge and which are underused in the study of the period.
I welcome PhD applications in any area of health, illness and disability studies in Early Medieval England or Viking and Medieval Scandinavia.