Sam Woods is coming to speak to us on MEMSA on May 20, 2013. 5.30 World Heritage Cite Center. Here’s a brief interview of him to help introduce us to his research interests.
- How did you come to Durham?
I came to Durham out of sheer luck. I was looking into studying in the UK or Ireland after undergrad and stumbled upon the History Department here and after visiting, I knew it was the place for me, applied, got in, and here I am!
- Durham is obviously small, but has its charm. Favorite thing about the city?
The view of the cathedral and castle from South Street. I also really like the view from Prebends bridge and all along the riverside path.
- Much research takes place in libraries. Which library would you go to choose to sit down and do you own academic research if you could (locally and further abroad)?
The Cathedral Library, over Christmas break, because the undergrads are gone, and there are not many tourists roaming around.
- What is your research field, and your research specifically?
I am interested in the structures of power and lordship in the late 11th and early 12th centuries in the Anglo-Norman world. I am looking specifically at Durham at the moment as a microcosm of the expression of power in England and Normandy, and hope to be able to use theological texts to link the notions of power in monastic chronicles to regions beyond the Anglo-Norman world.
- What drew you to your field? How did you get to doing what you do now?
I was drawn into studying the history Durham by reading about Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham 1099-1128 and several conversations I have had with David Rollason.
- Favorite primary text you work with academically? Non academically?
I am currently working with a tract in Symeon of Durham, De iniusta vexacione, that I quite like. I have been slowly working through the works of Aristotle over the past few years and it helps put things in perspective when I get tunnel vision in the 11th century.
- Favorite secondary sources, or scholars you admire.
Richard Southern’s Making of the Middle Ages is one of my favorite books. Having read it as an undergrad and several times since, I can really see the influence of that initial reading on my approach to history.
- If you weren’t an academic, you would be…
If I weren’t an academic, I would be a wilderness guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado.
Thanks so much, Sam! We’re look forward to his paper on power in Anglo-Norman Durham.