Dr Jo Edge

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Personal profile

I studied for my BA History at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education and Goldsmiths College, University of London. I then went on to UCL to complete the MA in Medieval Studies, graduating with a high distinction.

Research interests

I am interested in all aspects of late medieval European social and cultural history, with a particular emphasis on medicine, natural philosophy and the 'occult' sciences - divination, magic, alchemy and astrology.

My PhD thesis is looking at a specific divinatory device - an onomancy - extant in hundreds of English manuscripts from the later Middle Ages called the 'Sphere of Life and Death'. It was used to predict the outcome of an illness by adding up the numbers correlating to the letters of an individual's first name and adding various lunar and planetary data, before dividing the sum to find a remainder which would indicate life or death. Textually, I am interested in tracing how these devices changed and evolved in manuscripts through to the end of the Middle Ages. Contextually, I am especially interested in the medical uses of the Sphere as a prognostic tool, and the broader picture of the perceived powers of names and numbers in the late medieval period.

 

Prizes and Awards

British Society for the History of Science, Masters Degree Bursary. 2009-10.

Royal Holloway, University of London, Reid Scholarship. 2010-13.

British Society for the History of Science, Butler-Eyles Travel Grant. 2011.

Princeton University, Department of Medieval Studies, Travel Grant. 2011.

Royal Holloway, University of London. Dame Margaret Tuke Travel Bursary. 2011.

Royal Historical Society, Grant for Individual Travel to a Conference. 2012. 

Wellcome Trust, Small Grant (for 'Medical Prognosis in the Middle Ages'). 2012.

Royal Holloway, University of London. Helen Cam Award. 2013.

University of London. Isobel Thornley Fund award for help with costs of publication. 2013.

 

Conference Papers

'What's in a Name?'. The Sphere of Life and Death in Europe, 1100-1500. British Society for the History of Science, Annual Postgraduate Conference, CHSTM, University of Manchester. 4 January 2011.

'What's in a Name?'. Spheres of Life and Death. Europe, 1100-1500. Department for Medieval Studies, 18th Annual Graduate Conference, Princeton University. 16 April 2011.

'Your Number's Up': The Spheres of Life and Death in the context of English medical practice, 1100-1500'. Department of History, Annual Postgraduate Research Forum, Royal Holloway University of London. 1 June 2011.

'Your Number's Up': The Spheres of Life and Death in the context of English medical practice, 1100-1500'. Second Annual History of Medicine Postgraduate Summit, Queen Mary University of London. 18 June 2011.

Licit medicine or 'Pythagorean necromancy'? The case of the Sphere of Life and Death in late medieval England. European History 1150-1550 Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London. 8 March 2012.

Sophisticated prognosis or simple divination? The 'Sphere of Life and Death' in England, 1100-1500. Science and the Occult from Antiquity through the Early Modern Era, Purdue University, Indiana, US. 20 April 2012.

The Medical Context of the 'Sphere of Life and Death' in late medieval England. Medical Prognosis in the Middle Ages symposium, Royal Holloway University of London. 26 May 2012.

Licit medicine or 'Pythagorean necromancy'? The case of the Sphere of Life and Death in late medieval England. International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 10 July 2012.

Student Fun or Solemn Prognostic? The 'Sphere of Life and Death' in manuscripts for students of the Arts at the English university, c. 1100-1500. International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds. 2 July 2013.

Nomen omen: The 'Sphere of Life and Death' in late medieval England. Director's Seminar. Institute of Historical Research, London. 30 October 2014.

The 'Sphere of Life and Death' and medical deontology in England, c. 1200-1500'. Life Cycles Seminar. Institute of Historical Research, London. 3 December 2014.

 

 Publications


'Licit Medicine or Pythagorean Necromancy?: The 'Sphere of Life and Death' in late medieval England', Historical Research [accepted after peer-review, forthcoming]

'Sophisticated Prognosis or Simple Divination?: The 'Sphere of Life and Death in England, 1100-1500, Science and the Occult - from the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing) [invited chapter, forthcoming]

 

Affiliations

Junior Research Fellow (Scouloudi), Institute of Historical Research, 2013-14. http://www.history.ac.uk/about/joanne-edge

Teaching assistant, King's College London, 2013-14. Two seminars per week on 'European History, 400-1500'.

Visiting Teacher, Royal Holloway University of London, 2013. Two seminars per week on 'Europe 1000-1300: The Structures of Power'.

Co-convenor of the Royal Holloway History Department postgraduate monthly seminar, held at the central London base at Bedford Square.

Co-convenor (with Peregrine Horden) of the one-day symposium 'Medical Prognosis in the Middle Ages', held at RHUL's central London base, 11 Bedford Square, 26 May 2012. The proceedings are available to listen to as a podcast here http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2012/05/medical-prognosis-in-the-middle-ages/

Conference administrator, 'The Royal Body', held at Royal Holloway, Egham, 2-4 April 2012.

Founder, Medieval Medicine Reading Group, a monthly reading group.

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