Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of Humanities

Professor Catherine Clarke 

Visiting Professor

Professor Catherine Clarke's photo

Professor Catherine Clarke is a Visiting Professor of English at the University of Southampton.

I was appointed to a personal chair in English at Southampton in 2012, having previously taught at Swansea University and Oxford University. My own undergraduate and postgraduate studies were at Oxford University, the University of Reading and King's College, London.

I have published widely on the literatures and cultures of the Middle Ages, as well as experiences and uses of medieval culture today. I am particularly interested in questions of place, identity and heritage. My research takes me to all kinds of fascinating places: from hunting for Norman relics in Winchester for Channel 4’s Britain’s Most Historic Towns, to exploring devotional practices in Ethiopia, to getting muddy in the Welsh Marches walking medieval pilgrim routes.

Here's a video about a recent project I've led: The St Thomas Way, a new heritage route from Swansea to Hereford, inspired by a real medieval pilgrimage. And below that you can find another clip of me talking about some of my recent research: a Welsh outlaw who was hanged – and came back to life! – in medieval Swansea.

Research interests

I am a specialist in medieval literature and culture. Much of my research explores intersections between place, power and identity in the medieval period, as well as uses of the medieval past in later centuries. In particular, I am interested in medieval places and how we engage with historic environments today. My work emphasises inter-disciplinary approaches, the use of new media or digital tools, and the value of collaborative and partnership activities which extend beyond academia. I am currently Academic Director of CARMEN: The Worldwide Medieval Network, and Programme Co-ordinator for Anglo-Saxon Studies at the annual Leeds International Medieval Congress. I am Series Editor for Places and Spaces: Medieval to Modern (Arc Humanities Press).

I would welcome proposals for doctoral research in any of my research areas. Current PhD students are working on topics as diverse as ‘The Non-Normative Mind in Anglo-Saxon England’, ‘Motherhood, Space and Building in Medieval Romance’, and a medieval-inspired novel for children.

I discuss and develop my work regularly through conference presentations and research networks. Invited lectures and plenaries include the Denys Hay Lecture, 2016 (Edinburgh), Digital Heritage, 2014 (University of York), Lost and Transformed Cities, 2016 (University of Lisbon) and Emotions: Engines of History, 2018 (University of Silesia). I have held a Visiting Fellowship at the Lilly Library, University of Indiana, Bloomington.


Research Projects

I have directed several major AHRC-funded projects on medieval places, including Mapping Medieval Chester: place and identity in an English borderland city c.1200-1500, Discover Medieval Chester, and City Witness: Place and Perspective in Medieval Swansea . These projects have brought together digital mapping and visualisation with textual editing and analysis, to advance new insights into how urban environments were experienced and understood in the Middle Ages. These projects have also all involved partnerships with agencies outside academia, producing a wide range of heritage interpretation materials, from interactive digital maps and computer games to museum exhibitions and public art. An Impact Case Study based on the Chester projects was awarded a 4* grade in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, and work in Chester and Swansea has received a number of Public Engagement awards.

My most recent AHRC-funded project (2017-18) is developing The St Thomas Way: a new heritage route from Swansea to Hereford, inspired by a real medieval pilgrimage. You can follow the project on Twitter @StThomasWay (website launches July 2018).

My major publications reflect my broad interests in place and identity in the medieval period. Recently, my 2012 monograph, Writing Power in Anglo-Saxon England: Texts, Hierarchies, Economies, examines systems of power in late Anglo-Saxon England, arguing that ‘vertical', hierarchical structures operate simultaneously with patterns of reciprocity and economy. I edited a special issue of the Journal of Medieval History (2015) on ‘Power, Identity and Miracles on a Medieval Frontier’, focusing on medieval Swansea and its cultural and political contexts. My latest book (forthcoming 2019) is on Medieval Cityscapes Today.

I convene a number of modules including Multi-media Old English (ENGL1085), Visions of Beowulf (ENGL2073) and Making Medieval Place (ENGL3068). I also contribute to a range of other undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Professor Catherine Clarke
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings