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Christina Lee

Associate Professor in Viking Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Christina Lee is an Associate Professor in Viking Studies in the School of English, employed since 2001 (permanent since 2003). She has published on Food and Drink in early Medieval English funerary rituals, early Medieval English concepts of disability, health, and disease. Since 2013 she is working with a cross-disciplinary group of historians, philologist and microbiologists on medieval medical remedies (AncientBiotics) which gained an APEX award.

Current Memberships:

  • Member of the editorial board of Nottingham Medieval Studies and Saga Book
  • Founding Member of the cross-disciplinary research network on 'Disease, Disability and Medicine in Early Medieval Europe', meeting annually and General Editor of Studies in Early Medicine.

Previous Memberships (2016-2018):

  • Chair of 'Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland' (2016-2018)
  • University of Nottingham Museum Board Member
  • Board Member of UNICAS (University of Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Analytical Science) fostering new interdisciplinary research in STEMM & SHAPE
  • Member of the Homo Debilis research cluster at the University of Bremen, Germany
  • One of four collaborators on the CSVA Viking Identities Network, Gender Histories Group, and cross-disciplinary research network on epidemic disease in the early Middle Age
  • First Vice President for the Global head organisation of the International Society for Early Medieval English Studies (ISSIME) (2019)
  • Council Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research (until 2018)
  • Served on the Management Committee of two Research Priority Areas: Life in Changing Environments and Health Humanities

Expertise Summary

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 early Medieval English 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:

I have written on medieval historiography, textiles as grave goods and perceptions of medieval myth. Between 2008 and 10 leading a research project on the Viking impact on the Irish Sea region, which included the study of genetics and continue to be interested in the Vikings in the Irish Sea region.

In 2016 organisation of a major research conference on the Viking World with Professor Judith Jesch: and Past Director of the interdisciplinary Institute for Medieval Research, leading a large group of medieval scholars at the University of Nottingham.

Teaching Summary

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 Summary

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 'healthy' at a time when there are fewer methods of cure? Our modern concepts of health and illness cannot be applied to the 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 early Medieval English medical remedy for its antibacterial effectiveness, in which I work alongside microbiologists. The first results are published here. This work is ongoing and we recently were awarded an 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.

Selected Publications

  • 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 early Medieval English 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.

Current commitments allowing, 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:

  • Junqi Zhang: title and funding information tbc
  • Francesca Squiteri: title and funding information tbc
  • Francesca Ash: title and funding information tbc
  • Emma Horne: 'A Land of Ice and Fire: An Ecocritical Reading of the Landscapes of the Íslendingasögur', (M4C funded)
  • Michele Roncati: 'Wolves, the Wolfish, and Power: Imagery of Social Ecology in Old Norse-Icelandic', M4C funded)
  • 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)
  • Kit Richardson: 'Disablism and Dwarfism in Medievalist Fantasy', M4C funded)
  • Abigail Greaves: 'Mental Illness in Early Medieval England'

Past PhD students:

  • Abigail Williams: 'Learning and Teaching women in Anglo-Saxon England' (PhD Awarded 2023)
  • Chiara Giancoli: 'The Representations and Functions of Youth and Young People in Anglo-Saxon Literature' (School of English Research Scholarship, PhD Awarded 2023)
  • 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 Awarded 2021)
  • Jacob Runner: 'Contrastive Literature: A Study in Historical English and Japanese Polygraphy (Arts Scholarship 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' (Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship, PhD Awarded 2017)
  • Erin Connelly: ' Bernhard of Gordon's Lily of Medicine' (Vice Chancellor's Scholarship International, PhD Awarded 2016) (Currently UKRI Fellow)
  • 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)

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 teaching. Much of my research is interdisciplinary and therefore a lot of my teaching will look at texts, but also at the underlying culture (which can involve looking at things such as graves or objects).

UG modules taught: I teach on all levels of UG and MA modules. I convene and teach on the level 2 module 'Ice and Fire' and teach on the level 1 modules 'Beginnings of English', the level 3 module 'The Viking Mind'. I teach and convene the interdisciplinary subsidiary 'The Viking World'.

PG modules taught: I teach on the MA in Viking and Early Medieval English Studies. I teach the module 'Contextualising Old English' and I have contributed to pods for our Applied English degree.

Boost and Dissertations: bespoke modules, taught across the Faculty, designed to specifically assist students with Academic Life and Academic Writing

Past Research

Until October 2018 I 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 I served as a Council Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research, where I am also on the editorial board of Saga Book.

I was 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. And have served on the management committee of two Research Priority Areas: Life in Changing Environments and Health Humanities.

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: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/research/funded-research-projects/past-projects.aspx

I 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 early Medieval English 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.

Future Research

I am in the process of completing my monograph on Health and Healing in Early Medieval England (expected 2023). I have several papers in press, including an examination of how epidemic disease is discussed in saga narratives. Along with papers which 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 am involved in writing for a collection of papers for the New Feminist Renaissance in early Medieval English Studies. In my essays 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.

  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2022. Embroidered Narratives. In: ROBIN NORRIS, REBECCA STEPHENSON and RENEE TRILLING, eds., A Feminist Renaissance in Anglo-Saxon Studies Amsterdam University Press. (In Press.)
  • CONNELLY, ERIN, LEE, CHRISTINA, FURNER-PARDOE, JESSICA, DEL GENIO, CHARO and HARRISON, FREYA, 2022. A case study of the Ancientbiotics collaboration. Patterns. 3(12), 100632
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2021. The Art of Looking Beautiful. In: OWEN-CROCKER, GALE, ed., Art and Worship in the Insular World Brill. (In Press.)
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2020. Ancient texts. In: PAUL CRAWFORD, BRIAN BROWN and ANDREA CHARISE, eds., Companion for Health Humanities Routledge. 368-372
  • BLESSING ANONYE, VALENTINE NWEKE, JESSICA FURNER-PARDOE, REBECCA GABRILSKA, AFSHAN RAFIQ, FAITH UKACHUKWU, JULIE BRUCE, CHRISTINA LEE, MEERA UNNIKRISHNAN and KENDRA RUMBAUGH, 2020. The safety profile of Bald’s eyesalve for the treatment of bacterial infections Scientific Reports. 1753
  • JESSICA FURNER-PARDOE, BLESSING ANONYE, RICKY CAIN, JOHN MOAT, CATHERINE OTORI, CHRISTINA LEE, DAVID BARRETT and CHRISTOPHER CORRE, 2020. Anti-biofilm efficacy of a medieval treatment for bacterial infection requires the combination of multiple ingredients Scientific Reports. 10, 12687
  • CHRISTINA LEE, 2019. Germany 1650-1860. In: MARGARET CLUNIES ROSS, ed., The Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Vol II: Research and Reception c. 1830 to the Present Brepols. 29-50
  • JESCH, JUDITH and LEE, CHRISTINA, 2019. Healing Runes. In: SOREN SINDBAEK and ANNE PEDERSEN, eds., Viking Encounters: Proceedings of the 18th Viking Congress Aarhus University Press. 386-398
  • 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
  • TURNER, WENDY and LEE, CHRISTINA, eds., 2018. Trauma in Medieval Society Brill.
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2016. Memoire des Mythes. In: PIERRE BADUIN and DAVID BATES, eds., Penser les mondes normandes medievaux Presses Universitaires Caen. 73- 86
  • 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
  • TOBIAS NIEDENTHAL, JOHANNES MAYER, CHRISTINA LEE and ALVARO ACOSTA-SERRANO, 2016. Eine 1000 Jahre alte Rezeptur gegen multiresistente Keime Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie. 37, 194-196
  • HARRISON, F., ROBERTS, AEL, RUMBAUGH, KP, LEE, C and DIGGLE, SP, 2015. A 1000 year old antimicrobial remedy with anti-Staphylococcal activity mBio. 6(3),
  • 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, 2015. Viking Age Women. In: S. HARDING, D. GRIFFTHS and E. ROYLE, eds., In Search of Vikings: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Scandinavian heritage of North-West England 61-70
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2015. Offerings and Grave Goods. In: KAREN B METHENY and MARY C BEAUDRY, eds., Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia 2. Rowman & Littlefield. 345-47
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2014. Invisible enemies. In: CRAWFORD, SALLY and LEE, CHRISTINA, eds., Social Dimensions of Medieval Disease and Disability: Studies in Early Medicine 3 Archaeopress. 15-18
  • CRAWFORD, SALLY and LEE, CHRISTINA, eds., 2014. Social Dimensions of Medieval Disease and Disability BAR International Series.
  • BIRKETT, TOM and LEE, CHRISTINA, eds., 2014. The Vikings In Munster Centre for the Study of the Viking Age.
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2014. Abled, disabled, enabled: An attempt to define disability in Anglo-Saxon England Werkstatt Geschichte. 65, 41-54
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2013. The Measure of Man: Krankheit und Behinderung bei den Angelsachsen. In: NOLTE, CORDULA, ed., Phänomene der ‘Behinderung’ im Alltag Didymos. 293- 305
  • LEE, CHRISTINA AND NICOLA MCLELLAND, ed., 2012. Germania Remembered: The post-medieval reception of the Germanic past MRTS.
  • LEE, C., 2012. A useful great-grandmother: Edda receptions in post-medieval Germany. In: LEE, C. and MCLELLAND, N., eds., Germania remembered 1500-2009: commemorating and inventing a Germanic past Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 99-119
  • LEE, C., 2012. Disability. In: STODNICK, J. and TRILLING, R.R., eds., A handbook of Anglo-Saxon studies Wiley-Blackwell. 23-38
  • LEE, C., 2012. Reluctant appetites: Anglo-Saxon attitudes towards fasting. In: MCWILLIAMS, S., ed., Saints and scholars: new perspectives on Anglo-Saxon literature and culture in honour of Hugh Magennis D.S. Brewer. 164-186
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2011. Earth's treasure: food and drink in Anglo-Saxon England. In: CLEGG-HYER, M. AND G. OWEN-CROCKER, ed., Daily Living in Anglo-Saxon England Exeter UP. 142- 156
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2011. Body and soul: disease and impairment in Anglo-Saxon England'. In: CLEGG-HYER, MAREN AND G. OWEN-CROCKER, ed., Daily Living in Anglo-Saxon England Exeter UP. 293-309
  • LEE, C., 2011. Body talks: disease and disability in Anglo-Saxon England. In: ROBERTS, J. and WEBSTER, L., eds., Anglo-Saxon traces Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 145-164
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2011. Disease. In: HAMEROW, H. and HINTON, D AND S. CRAWFORD, eds., Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology OUP. 704-723
  • CRAWFORD, SALLY and LEE, CHRISTINA, eds., 2010. Bodies of knowledge: cultural interpretations of illness and medicine in medieval Europe BAR/ Archaeopress. (In Press.)
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2010. Introduction to select proceedings from the VIN 2 workshop Viking and Medieval Scandinavia. 5, 251- 2
  • CRAWFORD, SALLY AND CHRISTINA LEE, 2010. Introduction. In: CRAWFORD, SALLY AND CHRISTINA LEE, ed., Bodies of Knowledge: Cultural Interpretations of Illness and Medicine in Medieval Europe BAR/ Archaeopress. 1- 4
  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2010. Virtual Vikings: Delivering an Interdisciplinary Y2 module. In: MILLS, ROSIE and COLBERT BENJAMIN ET AL, eds., Online Discussion in English Studies: A Good practice Guide 21. English Subject Centre. 13-14
  • LEE, C., 2008. Forever Young: Child burial in Anglo-Saxon England. In: LEWIS-SIMPSON, SHANNON, ed., Viking Age: Perspectives on Youth and Age in the Medieval North Brill. 17-36 (In Press.)
  • LEE, C., 2007. Feasting the Dead: food and drink in the burial rituals of the Anglo-Saxons Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer.
  • LEE, C., 2007. Children of darkness: Arminius/Siegfried in Germany. In: GLOSECKI, S., ed., Myth in early northwest Europe Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 281-306
  • LEE, C., 2007. þær wæs symbla cyst: food in the funerary rites of the Anglo-Saxons. In: VITULLIO, J. and THOMASIK, T., eds., At the Table: Metaphorical and material cultures of food in medieval and early modern Europe Turnhout : Brepols. 125-144
  • J. CARROLL and C. LEE, 2007. Introduction/ Selected Papers in Memory of Christine Fell Nottingham Medieval Studies. 51, 201-5
  • LEE, C., 2006. Changing faces: leprosy in Anglo-Saxon England. In: KARKOV, C and HOWE, N., eds., Conversion and colonization in Anglo-Saxon England Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 59-81
  • LEE, C., 2004. Grave matters: Anglo-Saxon textiles and their cultural significance Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. 86(2), 203-221
  • LEE, C., 2003. 'Eclectic Memories: In Search of Eadgyth' Offa. 58, 277-285
  • LEE, C., 1998. 'Straight from the Harlot's Mouth', a comparison of Mary of Egypt with the Old English Frauenlieder ManuScript. 3(2), 19-32

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