Dr Melanie Brunner

Dr Melanie Brunner


I studied for my MA in Medieval History, Modern History and English Language at the University of Augsburg (Germany), interrupted by a year as an Erasmus student at the University of Edinburgh. I came to Leeds to work on my PhD (part-time) at the Institute for Medieval Studies while at the same time working for the International Medieval Bibliography (IMB). I finished my PhD in 2006 and am currently working for the School of History as Project Editor of the IMB (since 2007) and as lecturer in Medieval Studies (since 2013).


  • Director of IMS PGR Studies

Research interests

I am particularly interested in late medieval ecclesiastical and religious history, especially the interactions of theology, (canon) law and papal administration; the history of the mendicant orders, particularly the Franciscans; and ideals of voluntary poverty and religious reform. I have recently begun a new project exploring the political culture and the process of decision-making at the papal court in Avignon (1305-1378).

I am a member of the DFG-Netzwerk Imitation: Mechanismen eines kulturellen Prinzips im Mittelalter, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and chaired by Dr Jörg Sonntag (Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig/Technische Universität Dresden) and Dr Gerald Schwedler (Universität Zürich).

Additionally, I am part of Marginalisation and the Law: Medieval and Modern, sponsored by the White Rose Collaboration Fund and chaired by Maroula Perisanidi (Leeds)

I have also been involved with the DFG-Netzwerk Stilus Curiae: Spielregeln der Konflikt- und Verhandlungsführung am Papsthof des Mittelalters (12.-15. Jahrhundert), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and chaired by Dr Jessika Nowak (Universität Basel) and Dr Georg Strack (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München).

From September 2013 to September 2017, I have been involved in Working Group 3 (‘European Networks of Knowledge Exchange’) of the EU-funded COST Action IS1301 New Communities of Interpretation: Contexts, Strategies and Processes of Religious Transformation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, chaired by Dr Sabrina Corbellini and based at the University of Groningen. 


Some recent publications:

‘Good and Bad Friars: Polemical Patterns and Strategies between Franciscans in the Early Fourteenth Century’, medieval worlds, 7 (2018), 80-97

‘Rom in Avignon: Imitation und Adaption im Papstpalast’, in Nachahmen im Mittelalter: Dimensionen - Mechanismen - Funktionen, ed. by Andreas Büttner and others, Beihefte zum Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 82 (Vienna: Böhlau, 2018), pp. 135-152

‘The Power of the Canons? Episcopal Authority and the Cathedral Chapter of Sion (Valais) around 1300’, in Episcopal Power and Local Society in Medieval Europe, 1000-1400, ed. by Peter Coss and others (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), pp. 97-114

‘Nach dem Konzil von Vienne. Konfliktlösung und Entscheidungsfindung in der Spiritualenkrise und im Armutsstreit’, in Ecclesia disputans: Die Konfliktpraxis vormoderner Synoden zwischen Religion und Politik, ed. by Christoph Dartmann, Andreas Pietsch and Sita Steckel, Historische Zeitschrift: Beihefte, 67 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), pp. 203-230

‘Johannes XXII. als Reformer? Päpstliche Verwaltungspolitik und Ordensreform von oben’, in Papst Johannes XXII. Konzepte und Verfahren seines Pontifikats, ed. by Martin Rohde and Hans-Joachim Schmidt, Scrinium Friburgense (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014), pp. 119-148

 ‘Pope John XXII and the Michaelists: the scriptural title of evangelical poverty in Quia vir reprobus’, Church History and Religious Culture, 94 (2014), 197-226


<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>


  • PhD Medieval Studies (University of Leeds)
  • MA History and English (Universität Augsburg)

Professional memberships

  • Ecclesiastical History Society
  • Mediävistenverband

Student education

Research Supervision

I would particularly welcome doctoral projects in the following areas:

  • medieval ecclesiastical history
  • history of the papacy
  • history of the mendicant orders
  • late medieval political culture
  • canon law

Current PhD students

  • Pawel Cholewicki, 'The Rise of the Observance and the disintegration of the Bosnian vicariate (1432-1469)' [co-supervision with Prof. Emilia Jamroziak. Funded by the LDS scholarship]
  • Kaan Gorman, 'The relationship between the medieval English laity and the evolution of the Carthusian Order in England, c.1178- 1500' [co-supervision with Prof. Emilia Jamroziak. 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 Prof. Emilia Jamroziak] 
  • Vanessa Wright, ‘The Textual and Visual Uses of the Literary Motif of Cross-Dressing in Medieval French LIterature, 1200-1500’ [co-supervision with Prof. Ros Brown-Grant, Dr Catherine Batt. Funded by a School of History/IMS scholarship]

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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>