Dr Catherine Rider
MA, PhD (London)
Telephone: 01392 724326
I am interested in the religious and cultural history of Europe in the late Middle Ages. My research to date has focused particularly on the history of magic and the church's attitude to magic. I have recently completed a book on this, Magic and Religion in Medieval England published in 2012 by Reaktion Books, which looks at how medieval English clergy defined magic, which practices they viewed as magical and why, and how they persuaded people not to do magic.
I continue to be interested in magic but I am now working on a project on attitudes and responses to infertility in medieval England (thanks to a year of research leave funded by the Leverhulme Trust in 2011-12). This builds on some of my other interests in the history of sex and marriage and the history of medicine. I will be looking a medical texts but also at non-medical sources which discuss infertility, such as Bible commentaries, sermons and saints' lives, in order to trace the varying attitudes to childless couples and the responses available in the Middle Ages.
I am also co-investigator on an AHRC-funded project, 'Magic in Malta, 1605: Sellem bin al-Sheikh Mansur and the Roman Inquisition', led by my colleague Prof. Dionisius Agius (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies)