St John's College Oxford
Professor Hannah Skoda

Professor Hannah Skoda

Tutorial Fellow in History

Biography

I teach late medieval history, both British and European. As well as the outline papers for this period, I cover more specialised areas based on close examination of primary source material. These include a special subject on Joan of Arc, a further subject on the crusades, and optional subjects on crime and social control in later medieval England, and on cultural and political developments in early Gothic France.

I am keen to supervise graduate students researching the social and cultural history of later medieval Europe, particularly France and Germany, with the history of education and of conflict forming areas of special interest.

I am currently on research leave funded by a Leverhulme prize until September 2017.

Research Interests

My first book focused on popular violence in later medieval northern France. I worked on the interconnections between different forms of violence, from tavern brawls to domestic violence to urban uprisings, and looked at legal and cultural constructions of 'deviance', and the role of emotions in provoking outbursts of brutality.

My current research focuses on the misbehaviour of fifteenth-century students at the universities of Oxford, Paris and Heidelberg. Drawing on criminological models, my research examines the relationship between the negative stereotypes imposed upon students by a variety of commentators and observers, and the ways in which the students negotiated those stereotypes in their actual misbehaviour. The source material ranges from student poems and letters, to sermons and legal material.

Violence and conflict are obviously of great contemporary relevance, as well as essential to an understanding of the complexities of medieval society. Disentangling the relationships between what people did, what they said they did, and what other people said about these actions is extremely challenging, but can substantially deepen and nuance our understanding.

I am also investigating the development of something akin to a sense of nostalgia in the later Middle Ages. A variety of social groups engaged with the trope of harking back to a golden age as a way of processing their reactions to the rapid social, political and economic changes which characterise the period.

Further interests include Joan of Arc's emotional world; the legalism of property and ownership, particularly in the context of medieval slavery; and the history of sufficiency.

To find out more about why I think history is important, see my Now and Then blog.