Dr Veronica West-Harling


My research work so far has followed three main lines of inquiry: a. The Anglo-Saxon church and culture b. Medievalism, from political debates, literature, art and architecture to film, detective novels, the Heritage industry, the Internet and re-enactment, on which I wrote the book In Search of the Holy Grail: The Quest for the Middle Ages (2006) c. Late Antique and Early Medieval Italian cultural history, especially in Rome, between the fifth and tenth centuries, which has led to my last two books. The overall line of this work was an examination of the convergences and divergences between political realities and the rhetoric, image and ideology of imperial rule in Early Medieval Italy in the 9th and 10th centuries, and at the way in which these have shaped the identity of the three main post-Byzantine capitals of Rome, Ravenna and Venice. The project entitled Family, Power, Memory: female monasticism in Italy, 700 to 1100, like my past work, is also a comparative and interdisciplinary study: that of Italian female monasteries from 700 to 1100. I approached the study of Italian religious women as a laboratory for exploring the complex relationship between gender and power. To study the evolution of nunneries makes it possible to trace changes in Italian political, social and cultural patterns, with the intermingling of family and politics. Understanding the tensions between early medieval Italian society’s male-controlled political and religious power, and the great influence of noble women as queens and as nuns, is essential for grasping women’s ideological and spiritual power in Italy and their influence within the elite and in society generally, and to recognize the different and changing configurations of medieval Italy.


MedItaNunC (Marie Curie project on Family, Power, Memory: Female Monasticism in Italy, 700-1100 (ITNUN))

I am currently an Associate member of the Faculty and a member of Wolfson College. My main research now focuses on the history of tenth-century Rome, the Rome of Alberic, and aims at studying the relationship between the aristocratic government of the city, its ideological points of reference, and the changes in the social and cultural urban topography of the city in the 10th century.