Dr Fraser McNair

Dr Fraser McNair


I gained a BA in History, an MPhil in Medieval History and a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, receiving the latter in 2016.

Between 2016 and 2017 I was a Fondation Wiener-Anspach Postdoctoral Fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, before moving holding a position as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen from 2017 to 2018.

Research interests

I came into the West Frankish kingdom – the ancestor of modern-day France – on the Viking longships of Rollo, the first ruler of Normandy, after writing an undergraduate dissertation comparing the Viking settlements in Normandy and East Anglia. From there, I developed an interest in the changing fortunes of the so-called ‘territorial principalities’, and thence a broader interest in how medieval elites justified their rule to those over whom they ruled, and how this change. As such, I am interested in the ideological bases of claims about authority, the development of medieval political thought, and the production and use of the documents known as charters. I am also deeply convinced of the need to place everything in as deep a context as possible, and thus am particularly interested in the interaction of life histories and longer-term processes of change and the problems of medieval biography.

As a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, I am researching ‘The Changing Authority of Kings and Bishops: France, c. 900-1110’. This project (as the title indicates) examines the changing relationship between kings and bishops in a period vital for both the West Frankish kingdom and the medieval western Church. I examine sources produced during crisis periods and texts concerned with broader questions of political thought to determine how ideas of the correct use of power that emerged from the outcome of specific crises fed back into broader contemporary ideas about legitimacy. This will develop a new understanding of how this period, during which ideas about the nature of authority were unprecedently fluid, was crucial in generating new ideas about the relationship between lay and ecclesiastical power.

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