Hagiography beyond Tradition
European History
Commissioning Editor:
Shannon Cunningham
Alicia Spencer-Hall, Queen Mary, University of London
Geographical scope:
Medieval Christendom - Eastern and Western Europe, including Byzantium
Chronological scope:
Hagiography, interdisciplinarity, embodiment, critical theory, gender, queer, saints, spirituality, trans, religious culture


The study of sanctity in medieval Europe is starting to elicit cutting-edge, innovative and genuinely interdisciplinary scholarship that destabilizes what people have conventionally considered to be hagiography. This is demonstrated in the topic range of panels sponsored by the Hagiography Society at recent landmark medievalist conferences. While hagiography has traditionally been understood only in religious terms, recent scholarship moves beyond such frameworks to consider alternate ways of identifying and representing exemplary people. So doing, such research emphasises modern cultural analogies and resonances with medieval figures.

It is not enough, however, to approach saints’ lives with a “sexy” modern framework. The best scholarship is rooted in analytical rigour, close attention to context(s), and a keen awareness of the potential pitfalls of anachronism, all the while accepting that anachronism can often be productive. This series provides a home for the kind of work that negotiates that border between the traditional and the contemporary and encourages scholarship enhanced by interventions drawn from celebrity studies, trans studies, crip theory, animal and monster studies, the history of senses and the emotions, media studies, and beyond. Rather than considering hagiography as a single genre, the series is open to expanding the ways in which we imagine how people come to be offered for veneration, as well as the media and genres in which they are fashioned, represented, and celebrated.



 James Kerr_Updated

Untitled digital collage, by James Kerr (2017). Source works: “Repentant Mary Magdalene”, by Giampietrino (Gian Pietro Rizzoli) (c. 1508-49); “The Magdalen Reading”, by Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1435-38); “The Lamentation of Christ”, by Simon Marmion (c. 1467). All source works in the public domain and available from Wikicommons. 

Proposals Welcome

The series welcomes scholarly monographs and edited volumes in English by both established and early-career researchers.

Series Editor
Alicia Spencer-Hall, Queen Mary, University of London

Editorial Board Members
- Martha Newman, University of Texas
- Sarah Salih, King’s College London
- Bill Burgwinkle, University of Cambridge
- Anna Taylor, University of Massachusetts

Further Information

For questions or to submit a proposal, contact: Shannon Cunningham, Acquisitions Editor European History via S.Cunningham@aup.nl.

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