Centre for the Study of the Viking Age
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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, 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 play a role today

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.

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. This includes treatment, as well as accommodation and the discourses around illness. My forthcoming monograph Health and Healing in Early Medieval England will focus on these aspects.

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.

My current research focuses on the definitions of health and illness in early medieval societies and the treatment of people with impairments, long-term health conditions or sickness, as well as the impact of epidemics on medieval societies.

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:

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~aezweb/conference/doku.php?id=genes:home

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

http://concept.ie/wip/viking/index.html

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

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 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:

https://royalsociety.org/news/2018/11/recipients-of-2018-apex-awards-announced/

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 founding member of the cross-disciplinary research network on 'Disease, Disability and Medicine in Early Medieval Europe', as well as a research associate to the Homo Debilis project at the university of Bremen http://www.mittelalter.uni-bremen.de/?page_id=69

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.

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 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)
  • James Aitcheson: 'Writing the Middle Ages: a re-evaluation of the fantastical in historical fiction' (M3C funding)
  • Robert Francis: 'Food for thought: An archaeobotanical and textual synthesis of diet, agriculture and foodways in Anglo-Saxon England.' (M3C funding)
  • Catrin Fear: 'The impact of lead in Medieval Britain' (M3C funding)
  • 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)

Past PhD students:

  • 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)

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 am in the process of writing a pod on pre-Modern medicine for our 'Applied Engish' MA.

Past Research

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

Future Research

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.

  • LEE, CHRISTINA, 2021. Embroidered Narratives. In: ROBIN NORRIS, REBECCA STEPHENSON and RENEE TRILLING, eds., A Feminist Renaissance in Anglo-Saxon Studies Amsterdam University Press. (In Press.)
  • 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

Centre for the Study of the Viking Age

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The University of Nottingham
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telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924
email: csva@nottingham.ac.uk