IMS Open Lecture Series The Past Mirrored in the Present: Why Interpreting Medieval Monasticism Matters

Inaugural lecture of Prof. Emilia Jamroziak, Institute for Medieval Studies - University of Leeds

‘The Past Mirrored in the Present: Why Interpreting Medieval Monasticism Matters’ 

The fourth lecture of the 2016-17 series was delivered by Professor Emilia Jamroziak, who led her audience through the changing interpretations of medieval monasticism before introducing us to her own theories. Prof. Jamroziak presented to a full auditorium, as over ninety people attended the lecture, including a number of current and retired lecturers, MA and PhD students, colleagues and friends.

Prof. Jamroziak’s lecture explained how, since the nineteenth century, the history of European Latin monasticism has been interpreted by historians, archaeologists and art historians in the way that reflected changing concerns of contemporary society. The most dominant of these models of interpretation appeared to be the modernization paradigm, which strongly shaped much of the twentieth century interpretation of the monastic history and its linear development.  

Prof. Jamroziak used this context to explain how her own current work on the late medieval Cistercian monasticism attempts not only to move away from the past paradigm, but also shows how the monastic history continues to reflect the present and its concerns. Prof. Jamroziak was an enthusiastic and engaging speaker, whose passion for the subject (alongside many pictures and examples) brought the lecture to life. Audience members offered a number of interesting questions, in particular relating to technological development within monasteries, upon which our speaker was able to elaborate.

Prof. Jamroziak’s achievements were celebrated with a drinks reception in the Parkinson court, where she was able to thank attendees first-hand.

Emilia Jamroziak graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in PoznaƄ and Central European University in Budapest, and received her PhD from the University of Leeds in 2001. Since then she 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 was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of History and Classics, University of Edinburgh.

Professor Jamroziak joined the University of Leeds in September 2005 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008 and to Professor in 2014. She is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Professor Jamroziak’s research focuses on the interactions between religious institutions, especially Cistercian monasteries and the laity from the early twelfth to the early sixteenth century, and she has written a number of publications on this subject.

 Watch the Lecture here: