IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Sean Field, University of Vermont, USA

sean field ftbmvpWomen, Power and Religion in Capetian France

13 - 17 March 2017

Professor Sean Field studied at Northwestern University and is now Professor of History at the University of Vermont. He is the leading scholar of his generation on Capetian France, his distinction recognised by the award of a succession of distinguished grants and fellowships. At the beginning of his career, he won first a J. William Fulbright Fellowship and then the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. As an established scholar, he was awarded a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society and a Residential Fellowship from the Camargo Foundation. In the spring he will be a guest professor (professeur invité) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

His first major publication, in 2003, was an introduction to and translation of an account of the life of Agnes of Harcourt, an thirteenth-century noblewomen who wrote a biography of Isabelle of France, the sister of King Louis IX. This was followed, in 2006, by his first monograph which explained Isabelle’s influence on the institutional life of Franciscan women and her profound role in creating the aura of sanctity that empowered the French monarchy. Subsequent books have deepened our understanding of the role of women and their religious commitments in the politics of medieval France. His most recent monograph, in 2012, unravelled the challenging case of Marguerite Porete, a woman whose spiritual writing confounded many of her contemporaries and who was burned to death as a heretic in Paris in 1310. Professor Field’s expertise in archival research and ability to relate complex detail to broad conceptual approaches current in the field of history have made him one of today’s most exciting and influential medievalists.

Professor Field’s visit will be an opportunity to explore the way in which the expanding Capetian monarchy developed its authority by building an aura of sanctity, and especially the roles of women in the royal family and holy women outside the royal court in this process. Professor Field will give a lecture, run a workshop for postgraduate students and organize a half-day conference.

During his stay in Bristol, Professor Field will be hosted by Dr Ian Wei (History) and will conduct the following research events: