Professor Emilia Jamroziak

Professor Emilia Jamroziak


I graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and Central European University in Budapest and received my PhD from the University of Leeds in 2001. Since then I held a lectureship in medieval history at the University of Southampton, a post of Research Officer at the Centre for Metropolitan History, University of London and I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of History and Classics, University of Edinburgh. I joined the University of Leeds in September 2005 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008 and to Professor in 2014. The recording of my inaugural lecture can be found here.

From 1 Semptember 2019 to 31 August 2020 I am MWK COFUND Fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, Universität Erfurt. funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 665958.

In February-March 2019 I hold the Invitational Fellowships for Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science as a guest of Dr Toshio Ohnuki at Okayama University. In 2015-16 I held Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers at the Technische Universität Dresden, in spring 2009 I was a fellow at the Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. In summer 2005 I held a fellowship at the Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas in Leipzig. 

I am a member of the board of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network (MECERN). 


Research interests

My research focuses on the interactions between religious institutions, especially Cistercian monasteries and the laity from the early twelfth to the early sixteenth century. Geographically my work spans Britain (particularly the North and Scotland), Central Europe, East-Central Europe and the Baltic. My 2005 monograph on Cistercian Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire examined the workings of local social networks and the reality of 'being a neighbour' of a powerful institution. My second monograph Survival and Success on Medieval Borders (2011) examined strategies of Cistercian communities on the frontiers of northern Europe. I have completed a new synthesis of the medieval history of the Cistercian order (Routledge 2013) and contributed to the Cambridge Companion to the Cistercian Order (ed. Mette B. Bruun). I have also co-edited with Janet Burton a volume on the theme of religious and lay interactions in Northern and Western Europe between 1000 and 1400 and with Karen Stöber another collection of article on the monasteries on medieval borders and frontiers of Europe.

I am also an invited contributor to the new Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism, ed. Alison I. Beach and Isabelle Cochelin (2018).

Current Research Projects

Firstly, it is based on the AHRC-funded project 'The cult of saints in Cistercian monasteries in the later middle ages: regionalism and pan-European trends'. (2012-2013) and Humboldt-Stiftung funded 'The Cult of the "Founding Fathers" in Late Medieval Monastic and Mendicant Orders'. (2015-2016). A monograph, in preparation, examines the forms of the cult of saints in Cistercian monasteries from the 14th to the early 16th century to show how Cistercian communities became rooted in their regions and localities and how they took up new religious fashions, but also how the filiation networks continued to be an important route for the transmission of ideas across Europe. The project combines case studies (from Bavaria, Franconia and the Rhineland) with an extensive survey of Cistercian houses across European Christendom to show degrees of regionalisation and trans-regional network and the nature of cult-adoption within the Cistercian environment. The creation of the figure of  Bernard of Clairvaux as the 'founding father' of the order is examined in both textual and visual sources as well as wider process in late medieval culture. By doing so, I explain how the white monks adopted elements of popular religiosity to their relationship with the outside world, built it into their own institutional identity and their bonds with the Cistercian family and within the local context.

Secondly,  it emerged from the long-standing cooperation with Amanda Power (University of Oxford). In the past, we have developed White Rose collaboration Monasticisms and Mendicancies that explored new approaches to the monastic and mendicant cultures in the late middle ages. It brought together a number of academics and postgraduates from Leeds, Sheffield and York through a series of workshops, IMS-sessions and roundtables. From 2016, Amanda Power, Sita Steckeland I lead New Religious Histories network. The aim of this project is to get to grips with the current state of religious history – particularly what ‘religion’ is and does – and to work collaboratively to communicate our sense of what is currently shaping the field, in limiting ways, and what needs to be done to improve it.  

Past Research

Digitizing the Monastic Past (2014-15) was a collaboration between the LHRI and the Institute for Medieval Studies. Together with  Michael Spence (IMS) I have received a Faculty of Arts Pump-Priming Award for a project that examines the surviving business manuscripts of Fountains Abbey, one of the largest and most important monastic institutions in the medieval North, in order to understand how its archive was constructed and deployed to manage the abbey’s institutional memory. We investigated ways in which information was amended, embellished and excised over four centuries, revealing the editorial decisions of successive abbots, and their strategies for controlling the historic representation of the monastery and the process of decision-making. The initial pump-priming stage conducted by Rene Hernandez Vera of the project build methodological ground-work for the next stage.  Whilst our application for the full-scale funding for a new digital critical edition of the abbey’s charters, charter registers and related manuscripts and their interpretation was unsuccessful, I intend to return to working on digital methods in the near future.

During 2007-08 academic year I completed the project 'Border loyalties and disloyalties: a comparative study', funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society programme, which considered the role of Cistercian monasteries on the frontiers of northern Europe. Spanning twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, this project explored six case studies of Cistercian foundations in Pomerania and Neumark and on the Scottish-English border focusing on their involvement in the trans-border networks, relationships with the local and external centres of power as well as the impact of wars and other forms of violence on those monastic communities.  Listen to my podcast in which I describe the project and some of its results.

The outcomes of the project are a monograph Survival and Success on Medieval Borders: Cistercian Houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the Twelfth to Late Fourteenth Century and a database of Melrose Abbey charters created by Katharine Keats-Rohan. Also co-edited with Karen Stöber, a collected volume of studies exploring the roles and strategies of monastic houses on the political and cultural frontiers of medieval Europe (Brepols 2013). 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD (University of Leeds)
  • MA (University of Leeds)
  • MA (Central European University, Budapest)
  • MA (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Student education

Student Education

On the UG level, I teach modules on medieval religious culture, popular belief, and medieval Jewish history and I contribute to the level 1 lectures on medieval Europe. On the PGT level, I am the convenor of the core modules on research methods and palaeography and I co-teach an optional module on late medieval individual and communal religious experience.  

Research Supervision

I would particularly welcome doctoral projects in the following areas:

  • society and religion in high and late middle ages in Northern, Central and East-Central Europe

  • Cistercian order

  • monastic and mendicant culture

  • material culture of medieval monasticism (as a co-supervision with Dr Hugh Willmott, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield)

Current PhD students

  • Pawel Cholewicki, 'The Rise of the Observance and the disintegration of the Bosnian vicariate (1432-1469)' [co supervision with Dr Melanie Brunner. Funded by the LDS scholarship]

  • Iain Dyson, 'Yorkshire and the Crusades 1095-1400' [co-supervision with Dr Alan Murray]  

  • Kaan Gorman, 'The relationship between the medieval English laity and the evolution of the Carthusian Order in England, c.1178- 1500' [co-supervision with Melanie Brunner. Funded by the LARS scholarship]

  • Andrea Mancini, 'Preaching and penitence in the age of Observance. The Summa confessorum of the Franciscan Nicholas of Osimo and the economic ethics of Observant Franciscans in the late Middle Ages (c1350-c1453)'  [co-supervision with Melanie Brunner] 

  • Elisabeth Trischler, 'The Experience of Late-Medieval Representations of Architectural Spaces as Intellectual and Spiritual Pedagogy in Dante's Commedia' [co-supervision with Prof. Matthew Treherne. Funded by the UoL AHC Interdisciplinary scholarship.] 

  • Victoria Yuskaitis, 'Anchorites in Shropshire: An archaeological and literary analysis of the anchoritic vocation' [co-supervision with Catherine Batt. Funded by the Faculty Cross-Disciplinary Research Scholarship]

Completed PhD thesis:

  • Dr Steve Werronen (2013): 'Ripon Minster in its social context: 1350-1530'. Steve is now a research assistant at Københavns Universitet, Denmark.

  • Dr Mike Spence (2014): 'Record-keeping at Fountains Abbey and the management of Malham in Craven'. Mike is Visiting Research Fellow in the IMS. 

  • Dr Audrey Thorstad (2015): 'Living in an Early Tudor Castle: Household, Display, and Space 1485-1542'. Audrey is Lecturer in Early Modern History at Bangor University. 

  • Dr Kirsty Day (2016) 'Constructing Dynastic Franciscan Identities in Bohemia and Polish'. Kirsty is Teaching Fellow in Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh. 

  • Dr Richard Thomason (2016): 'Hospitality in a Cistercian abbey: The case of Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds in the later middle ages'. Richard is working as a civil servant. .  

  • Dr Clarck Drieshen (2017) 'The dissemination and reception of visionary devotional instruction of continental origin in late medieval England'. Clarck is working in the Department of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in the British Library, London. 

  • Dr Francesca Dornan (2018): 'Communal Solitude: the Archaeology of the Carthusian Houses of the Provincia Angliae, 1178-1569' [Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield].  

Research groups and institutes

  • Medieval Studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>