Simon Parsons

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My research interests are focused mainly on the High Middle Ages in France, in particular literary culture, linguistic interaction, the Old French epic, and the writing of history. The doctoral research project I undertook, completed Jan 2016 was concerned with the early accounts of the First Crusade (1095-1099), and their relationship with contemporary literature, specifically the chansons de geste

This provided new evidence for exactly how these accounts were composed, what material they were using, and what stylistic choices the authors made. This research helped to place these complex literary texts within their proper historiographical context, seeing them no longer in isolation, but rather part of the larger canon of European literature.

My current work focuses on extending and supplementing this work with a revised textual understanding of the entire corpus of contemporary First Crusade historiography in French and Latin to comprise the core of a monograph on the same subject, with a provisional title, The First Crusade: Text and Tradition. It is hoped that this will provide a primer for students, aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, alongside laying groundwork for more profitable, less heirarchical treatment of crusading texts in future historiographical work in this field. 

Past Studies: 
Before my PhD, undertaken at Royal Holloway with Professor Jonathan Phillips, I studied for both my BA History and European Literature and Culture, and my MA (Res) in Medieval Studies, at the University of Reading (2007-2011). The thesis for the latter was focused on the posthumous reputation of Robert Guiscard in the hundred years following his death, and the relationship between his reputation and Norman identity. I remain very interested in both the historiography of the Normans, in particular Wace; and the cultural impact of the foundation of the southern Italian Norman states. 

Scholarship, Research, and Travel Awards: 
- College Research Scholarship (Fees and Maintenance), Royal Holloway, University of London. (2011-2014) 
- Leeds International Medieval Congress (IMC) Bursary. (2014) 
- Société Rencesvals, British Branch Conference Attendance Grant. (2013) 
- University of London Grant for Postgraduate Study Costs to consult manuscripts in Oxford. (2013) 
- Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Research Support Grant for travel to the Third International Symposium on Crusade Studies in St. Louis, Missouri. (2013) 
- The Academy 2012 Scholarship, to attend the Institute of Ideas’ annual conference. (2012) 
- Graham Robertson Travel Award, University of Reading - for consultation of manuscripts in Avranches, France. (2011) 
- Paid Research Assistant on proposed project on Reading Abbey for European Union funding (2011) 

I am currently a Visiting Lecturer in the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London on the BA third-year module 'Crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1095-1291' (2014-). I teach as well on other modules: in 2016 with Professor Peregrine Horden on his courses which deal with high medieval history and culture.  I am also a Graduate Teaching Assistant at King's College, London on the BA first-year modules 'European History 400-1600' (2014-), and its counterpart 'The Making of Britain (500-1500)'.

Conference, Seminar, and Workshop Organisation: 

- The Crusades in France and Occitania Project (2016-) A project sponsored by the Royal Historical Society, Medium Aevum, The Society for the Study of French History, and Royal Holloway, University of London, which aims to promote, and help disseminate, research into the roots, impact, and cultural significance of the crusading movement in France and Occitania in the Middle Ages, while fostering international collaboration and furthering scholarly discourse of the field. 
- The Crusades: History and Literature (March 2014) 
Workshop organised between Warwick and Royal Holloway. Co-organiser. 
- dhAHRC Project: Promoting Interdisciplinary Engagement in the Digital Humanities (2014) 
Co-organiser. A series of four workshops and a digital hub, supported by the AHRC’s Collaborative Skills Development Fund, involving Oxford University, Royal Holloway, and the British Library. 
- Speaking in Tongues: Language, Communication, and Power in the Middle Ages (June, 2013) 
Co-organiser. We independently gained funding and support from the Institute of Historical Research, Royal Holloway, Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, Royal Historical Society, German History Society, and The Hellenic Institute. International attendance, over 60 delegates. 
- Seminar organiser and convenor for History Lab: organised fortnightly seminars (2013-2015). 
- Founder and convenor of History Lab’s Latin Forum (2013-2014), a fortnightly collaborative skills workshop at the Institute of Historical Research where postgraduate students could discuss interpretations and translations of texts and learn through practice. 
- Convenor and publicity officer (2012-2015) for Royal Holloway History Departmental Seminars, held at Bedford Square. 

- Société Rencesvals, British Branch (2012- present) 
- Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East (SSCLE) (2012-present)

- Royal Historical Society (2016-)

- Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature (2016-)


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