Professor James Clark
Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer, Professor of History
My historical interests are focused on the period between the Black Death and the Break with Rome. While a medievalist by training, I explore themes in religion, intellectual and cultural life which reach across the traditional boundaries of medieval and early modern; likewise, my approach is informed not only by the sources and methods of the historian but also by those of researchers in literary, artistic and material culture.
My research explores religion, learning and book culture in England (especially) between the Black Death and the Break with Rome, a period traditionally disparaged as lacking both the vitality of the high Middle Ages and vision of the Renaissance. My work seeks to unsettle – sometimes to challenge – this old orthodoxy, offering new insights into institutions and individuals, patterns of writing, reading and thought, drawn from the rich (but still somewhat neglected) body of archival, literary and material sources.
I welcome doctoral proposals on any aspect of church, intellectual and religious life in the later Middle Ages and pre-Reformation period. Particular interests include (but are not confined to) monastic culture, the universities after Wyclif, the reception of the classics and the production, transmission and reading of books in manuscript and early print.
Current PhD projects:
Cardinal Archbishop John Morton as late medieval prelate
Oxford, Bodl., MS A 42, and learning and spirituality at the English houses of Fontevraud
Nicholas Trevet and ThomasWaleys’ commentaries on Augustine’s De ciuitae Dei and later medieval approaches to antiquity
The Chronicon Anglicanum of Ralph of Coggeshall
AHRC Postdoctoral project assistantship, University of Southampton, 2012
Teaching Fellowship in Medieval History, University of Bristol, 2012
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Northwestern University, 2009
In 2013/14 I will be taking up a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
My training in medieval and pre-Reformation history began as an undergraduate at Bristol under the guidance of Anthony Tuck, Ronald Hutton and, briefly, when a visiting professor, Geoffrey Elton. It was continued at New College, Oxford, where I completed a DPhil under the supervision of Jeremy Catto. As a Junior Research Fellow and British Academy Posdoctoral Fellow at Brasenose College, I remained in Oxford until 2001. I joined the History Department at Bristol in 2001/2, progressing to a personal chair in 2010/11. I came to the History Department at Exeter in April 2013. I was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2008. I am a founder member of the editorial board of the Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies (Brepols). Since 2012/13 I have been Chair of the Management Board of the South West & Wales Universities Consortium which is bidding for an AHRC Doctoral Training Programme. In 2013/14 I will be Distinguished Visiting Professor in Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.