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About Dr Stephen Spencer

Dr Stephen Spencer is an Assistant Professor in Medieval History. He is primarily a historian of the central Middle Ages, with expertise in the crusades and the Latin East, the history of emotions, the formation of cultural memory, and the production and transmission of medieval historical writing. He also has a longstanding interest in the nature of contacts between Latin Christians and Muslims across the medieval world. Prior to joining Northeastern University London in January 2023, Stephen was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King’s College London (2019–23) and a Past & Present Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London (2017–19). In 2016–17, he was Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the ‘1217: The Making of Medieval England Research Project’, a collaborative project between The National Archives and Queen Mary University of London. He completed his BA, MA, and PhD at the latter institution, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and is a co-founder of the Society for the Study of Medieval Emotions, which currently has around 200 members.

Qualifications

PhD in Medieval History, Queen Mary University of London (2015)
MA in Islam and the West, Queen Mary University of London (2011)
BA in History, Queen Mary University of London (2010)

Email: stephen.spencer@nulondon.ac.uk
Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6581-7415

Dr Stephen Spencer's Research

Dr Stephen Spencer’s research focuses on the history and literature of the crusading movement. His first book, Emotions in a Crusading Context, 1095–1291, won the SSCLE’s Ronnie Ellenblum Best First Book Award 2022. It brought together the fields of crusade studies and the history of emotions to investigate the emotional rhetoric of crusading: the emotions crusaders were expected to possess, perform, and reject; the functions of emotion words in crusade texts, including their intersection with the wider themes of piety, power, gender, and alterity; the degree to which the emotional rhetoric of crusading changed between the late eleventh and late thirteenth centuries; and whether the crusading movement manifested a distinctive or novel set of approaches towards the emotions. Stephen’s current research continues the work of casting new light on, and deepening our knowledge of, the sources pertaining to the crusades, partly by responding to methodological developments outside the immediate field of crusade studies. It does so by exploring the circulation of information, the rewriting of histories, and the formation of memories about the Third Crusade in England before 1300, adopting a manuscript-based approach to gauge the impact of that expedition on history-writing in England and simultaneously drawing attention to a range of previously neglected sources. The main output of this research will be a monograph for Oxford University Press, entitled Rewriting the Third Crusade: Information Dissemination, Memory Formation, and the Writing of History in Medieval England. Furthermore, a forthcoming collection of essays that Stephen has edited with Dr Andrew Buck and Dr James Kane considers the benefits of treating medieval historical writing about the crusades and the ‘crusader states’, composed in both the Latin East and the Latin West, as part of a single historiographical tradition.

Books

Emotions in a Crusading Context, 1095–1291 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). Paperback 2023.
Winner, Ronnie Ellenblum Best First Book Award 2022, Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East.
Second Prize, Dionisius A. Agius Prize 2021, Society for the Medieval Mediterranean.

Rewriting the Third Crusade: Information Dissemination, Memory Formation, and the Writing of History in Medieval England (forthcoming with Oxford University Press).

Crusade, Settlement and Historical Writing in the Latin East and Latin West, c.1100–c.1300, ed. with Andrew D. Buck and James H. Kane (Woodbridge: Boydell, forthcoming January 2024).

Journal Articles

‘The Composition Date of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi (IP2) Reconsidered’, The English Historical Review (forthcoming).

‘“Intimate Scripts” in the Chanson de Jérusalem: Another Approach to Crusader Motivation’, Viator (forthcoming).

‘The Third Crusade in Historiographical Perspective’, History Compass 19/7 (2021), 1–14.

‘Feelings of Betrayal and Echoes of the First Crusade in Odo of Deuil’s De Profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem’, Historical Research 92/258 (2019), 657–79.

‘Two Unexamined Witnesses to Ralph of Coggeshall’s Chronicon Anglicanum in London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 371’, Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research 62/2 (2019), 279–86.

‘Fear, Fortitude and Masculinity in William of Malmesbury’s Retelling of the First Crusade and the Establishment of the Latin East’, Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture 5/2 (2019), special issue: Remembering the Crusades in Medieval Texts and Songs, ed. Andrew D. Buck and Thomas W. Smith, 35–50.

‘“Like a Raging Lion”: Richard the Lionheart’s Anger during the Third Crusade in Medieval and Modern Historiography’, The English Historical Review 132/556 (2017), 495–532.
Awarded proxime accessit for the Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize 2018.

‘Piety, Brotherhood and Power: The Role and Significance of Emotions in Albert of Aachen’s Historia Ierosolimitana’, Literature Compass 13/6 (2016), special issue: Emotions and Feelings in the Middle Ages, ed. Anthony Bale and Lynn Ramey, 423–43.

‘The Emotional Rhetoric of Crusader Spirituality in the Narratives of the First Crusade’, Nottingham Medieval Studies 58 (2014), 57–86.

Book Chapters

‘The “Crusade Text” as Commemorative Artefact: Recent Developments and Future Directions in the Study of the Memorialisation of Crusading’, in The Routledge Handbook of Crusade Texts, Images and Artefacts, ed. Simon Parsons and Linda Paterson (forthcoming with Routledge).

With Thomas W. Smith, ‘The Imprint of the Third Crusade in the Manuscript Traditions of Western Europe’, in The Third Crusade: New Interpretations, ed. John Hosler and Stephen Bennett (forthcoming with Boydell).

‘Gervase of Canterbury: Historian of the Third Crusade?’, in Gervase of Canterbury and His World, ed. Laura Cleaver (forthcoming with York Medieval Press).

‘Repurposing a Crusade Chronicle: Peter of Cornwall’s Liber Revelationum and the Reception of Fulcher of Chartres’ Historia Hierosolymitana in Medieval England’, in Crusade, Settlement and Historical Writing in the Latin East and Latin West, c.1100–c.1300, ed. Andrew D. Buck, James H. Kane, and Stephen J. Spencer (Woodbridge: Boydell, forthcoming January 2024), pp. 137–54.

With Andrew D. Buck and James H. Kane, ‘The Crusades, the Latin East and Medieval History-Writing: An Introduction’, in Crusade, Settlement and Historical Writing in the Latin East and Latin West, c.1100–c.1300, ed. Andrew D. Buck, James H. Kane, and Stephen J. Spencer (Woodbridge: Boydell, forthcoming January 2024), pp. 1–33.

‘Albert of Aachen, the Gesta Francorum, and the Fall of Antioch: A Reflection on the Textual Independence of Albert’s Historia Ierosolimitana’, in Chronicle, Crusade, and the Latin East: Essays in Honour of Susan B. Edgington, ed. Andrew D. Buck and Thomas W. Smith (Turnhout: Brepols, 2022), pp. 71–87.

‘Emotions and the “Other”: Emotional Characterizations of Muslim Protagonists in Narratives of the Crusades (1095–1192)’, in Literature of the Crusades, ed. Simon Parsons and Linda Paterson (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2018), pp. 41–54.

‘Constructing the Crusader: Emotional Language in the Narratives of the First Crusade’, in Jerusalem the Golden: The Origins and Impact of the First Crusade, ed. Susan B. Edgington and Luis García-Guijarro (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), pp. 173–89.

Dr Stephen Spencer's Teaching

Britain and the World: Interaction and Empire

From Roman Empire to Medieval Kingdoms, c.300–900: The Transformation of Power

The Crusades and the Expansion of Europe, 1000–1200

Stephen would like to hear from students interested in writing dissertations on any aspect of the Middle Ages, especially the crusades, the crusader states, Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations, medieval historical writing, the memorialisation of the medieval past, and the history of emotions.