Christopher Callow


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I would welcome research students on a wide range of issues in the history and archaeology of early medieval western Europe, especially the Vikings and medieval Iceland and Scandinavia. Research proposals on social, cultural or economic history within particular medieval regions or communities would also be possible. I have published on the writing of history in the middle ages and would be interested in supervising similar topics on medieval narratives.

Current doctoral research students and their topics:
- Harriet Clarke, Kingship in medieval Norway (co-supervised with Prof Judith Jesch)
- Agni Papamichael, Icelandic perceptions of Byzantium (co-supervised with Prof Judith Jesch)
- Steve Walker, Early medieval Cumbria (co-supervised with Dr John Baker)
- Julie Kilbey, Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England (co-supervised with Dr Kate Sykes)
- David Marsh, The Trade in Roman Glass (co-supervised with Dr Roger White)

- Emma Thompson, Gender and burial practice in Viking Age Scandinavia (co-supervised with Dr Paul Garwood)

Past PhD students and subjects:
- Bernadette McCooey, Pre-industrial farming practices in Iceland
- Ryder Patzuk-Russell, Education in medieval Iceland
- Emma Southon, The early medieval family


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I have been in my current post since 2005. Before that I held temporary positions at Birmingham, Birkbeck College and UCL. My major administrative role at the moment is as the academic lead for Joint Honours programmes across the College of Arts and Law, a role I enjoy, having taken an interdisciplinary BA degree at Birmingham myself.

In 2013 I held a Snorri Sturluson Icelandic Fellowship at Stofnun Árna Magnússonar in Iceland.

I have been a member of the Council of the Viking Society for Northern Research (2009-12). I was a founder member of Birmingham’s medieval studies research centre, Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages (CeSMA).

Research interests

My central research interest is society of medieval Iceland. Wider issues and aspects of this include approaches to narratives; saga literature, including Sagas of Icelanders and Sturlunga saga. My first book, Landscape, Tradition and Power in Medieval Iceland (Brill, 2020) considered these texts by examining two particular regions of Iceland against the backdrop of institutional and familial structures, and economic patterns.

My next project is a reassessment of the nature of the viking phenomenon which arises from my wider interest in using interdisciplinary approaches to the past using texts, archaeology and place-names. I am writing a monograph that seeks to assess separately the nature of the movement overseas by Scandinavians in the ninth and tenth centuries and the way it was perceived in later centuries. My contention is that, still, we allow later textual evidence to govern our perceptions of the Viking Age.

In the past I was a member of the AHRC-funded Viking Identities Network (2006-9) led by Prof. Judith Jesch (School of English, University of Nottingham) and worked on aspects of gender and the life course.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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