Medieval History Seminar

Delivered by Hervin Fernández-Aceves (University of Leeds), ‘Reframing the Role of the Nobility: Misconceptions and Omissions in the Historiography of the Kingdom of Sicily’.

Few researchers have been occupied with the systematic research of the nobility of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, and they have done so by formulating categorising premises that oscillate between two general approaches: political functionalism and French structuralism. Although these epistemological frameworks have proved useful tools for historians, they have also had an important conditioning and distorting effect on our assumptions, preconceptions and interpretations of the social spaces in Medieval southern Italy. This paper will explore the challenges encountered in an effort to confront the misconceptions and omissions still found in the historiography of the Sicilian kingdom, and will also present some of the most relevant results obtained from a recently concluded research on the Italo-Norman counts. From a clarification on the origins of the south Italian counties to the distinction of documented continuities and discontinuities in the composition of the upper nobility, these alternative explanations will seek to challenge the traditional interpretation of the kingdom’s social mechanisms for military mobilisation, administration of justice, and political stability.

Hervin Fernández-Aceves is a graduate of National Autonomous University of Mexico (Political Sciences and Public Administration), Central European University in Budapest (MA in History and Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies) and recipient of Pro-Rector’s Academic Excellence prize and the Zvetlana-Mihaela Tănasă Annual Excellence Award for his dissertation there. Hervin’s PhD studies at Leeds were funded by CONACYT Overseas scholarship and he is currently waiting for his viva. His research interest is on the intersection of relational and political sociology, medieval history, and digital humanities. He specialises in Medieval manuscript studies, Eastern Mediterranean studies, and network analysis. Hervin’s  thesis is a study of the Hauteville kings’ relationships with their nobles and functionaries, especially within the context of the territorial leadership of  Norman kingdom of Sicily. A full list of his publications is available on our website. 

All are welcome and we serve wine and non-alcoholic drinks afterwards.

Best wishes,

Emilia Jamroziak and Thomas Smith, Convenors

Location details

Grant Room (3.11)