Projects and Publications
Journal of Medieval Worlds 2, no. 3–4 (2020): 115–123
The Black Death in the Maghreb is severely understudied. There is little scholarship on the Maghrebi experience of the second pandemic in general. That which exists bases its conclusions on Al-Andalusi and Middle Eastern sources and does not incorporate the paleoscientific data which has shed light on plague outbreaks for which there is less traditional evidence. As a result, little is known about the Maghrebi Black Death, and this ignorance is detrimental to our understanding of the Black Death in adjacent regions, especially Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper surveys the existing scholarship on plague in fourteenth-century North Africa and argues that the field both needs and deserves further attention. It then suggests directions for further study grounded in an interdisciplinary approach incorporating paleoscience, plague ecology, archaeology, and a reexamination of Maghrebi primary texts.
Early Medieval Europe 30, no. 2 (2022): 185–202
Scholars of Gregory of Tours have paid little regard to the specific role of Basina in the nuns’ rebellion at Sainte-Croix abbey in Poitiers. Their inattention mirrors Gregory’s narrative of the ‘scandal’, which presents Basina as Clotild’s more passive and reluctant sidekick, whereas the judgement of the bishops’ tribunal that tried the rebellion’s leaders characterizes them as equally blameworthy. This article examines Basina’s role in the ‘scandal’ in detail and argues that she was a more active participant than Gregory chose to suggest. It then seeks to explain why Gregory minimized Basina’s involvement and examines what his portrayal of her contributes to our understanding of his manipulation of historical events.
Reconstructing the "Scandal" in Poitiers:
A Sixth-Century Nuns' Rebellion in Three Perspectives
My current book project examines a incident in which forty cloistered nuns illegally left their convent, gathered an army, sacked their own abbey, abducted their abbess, and somehow got away with it all scot-free. Only one source for these events survives: Gregory of Tours' heavily manipulated and didactic Ten Books of Histories. This study argues, however, that three distinct perspectives of the rebellion are preserved in Gregory's Histories, and that only by identifying, disarticulating, and interrogating them can we come to an objective understanding of the nuns' actions and motivations. The study sheds light on sixth-century Merovingian gender relations and reveals how bias which originated 1400 years ago can permeate modern understandings of historical events.
An Environmental History of Conquest in Wales
Wales was conquered many times in the Roman and medieval periods. I plan to examine these various conquests through an environmental lens and with an interdisciplinary approach. I hope that looking at the environmental effects of these conquests can help us to better differentiate them and add to our knowledge of conquest and colonialism in the Middle Ages.
I am currently working on several article-length projects which focus on first-pandemic plague and disaster in Gildas' De excidio Britonum.