Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough
I cut my teeth in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge. On the principle that you can never have too much of a good thing, I stayed on to do an MPhil and a PhD on landscape and geography in the Sagas of Icelanders. During this time I was a visiting research scholar at the University of Bergen (Centre for Medieval Studies) and University of Oslo (Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies).
After a brief stint in advertising, I then defected from the misty fens to the dreaming spires of Oxford in order to take up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the English Faculty. During this time I was also an Extraordinary Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College.
In 2013, I was selected as one of ten New Generation Thinkers in a national competition run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The aim is to find early career academics with the potential to turn their research ideas into programmes for broadcast. Since then I have appeared on BBC radio to present documentaries, review films and exhibitions, and take part in discussions related to various aspects of medieval history and northern culture. Documentaries for Radio 3 include 'Supernatural North', 'True Norse', and 'Apocalypse How', and recent appearances on Radio 4 include the Food Programme (on wild boar) and Costing the Earth (on climate change in Svalbard).
In October 2013 I took up a lectureship at Durham University. In 2015, I held a Visiting Research Fellowship in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Research and teaching:
Much of my research explores the history, cultures, languages and literatures of the medieval Nordic world. I have focused most recently on the history of Norse far-travellers who made their mark on the great civilizations of the Middle Ages. In Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas I examine the medieval world through the lens of the far-travelling Norse and their saga storytelling culture, establishing an unfamiliar, distinctive approach to global history. What emerges is a fluid, fragmented, multidimensional picture that provides insights into how the world was remembered and imagined by a unique culture from the edge of medieval Europe. This project also incorporated my own fieldwork in locations including Greenland, Arctic Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Orkney, Rome, and Istanbul.
Beyond the medieval world, I have broader interests in northern, arctic and geographical studies, and have co-edited the volume 'Imagining the Supernatural North' with colleagues from the International Arctic Social Sciences Association. I am on the steering group of the University of the Arctic at Durham, and am a member of the 'Creating the New North' research group at the Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø). This is now feeding into my new research project: A Cultural History of Ice.
- 2016 Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas, Oxford University Press, 352 pp.
Chapter in book
- 2017 (co-authored with Donecker, S.) 'Europa und die Arktis vor 1800 Entdeckungen, Begegnungen und Kontakte', in Saxinger, G., Schweitzer, P. & Donecker, S. (eds.), Arktis und Subarktis. Kultur, Geschichte, Gesellschaft, New Acadmic Press.
- 2017 'Travel', in Jakobsson, Ármann & Jakobsson, Sverrir (eds.), Ashgate Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Saga, Routledge, pp. 210-217
- 2016 'From Eirikr the Red to Trolls in the Wilderness: The Development of Supernatural Greenland in the Old Norse Sagas', in Barraclough, E. R., Cudmore, D. M. & Donecker, S. (eds.), Imagining the Supernatural North, University of Alberta Press, pp. 77-94
- 2009 '‘The World West of Iceland in Medieval Icelandic Oral Tradition’', 1, pp. 99-105
- 2016 (co-edited with Cudmore, D. M. & Donecker, S.) Imagining the Supernatural North, University of Alberta Press.
- 2017 'Arctic Frontiers: Rethinking Norse-Sámi Relations in the Old Norse Sagas', Viator (forthcoming) 48.
- 2013 (co-authored with Cudmore, D. & Donecker, S.) 'Der übernatürliche Norden: Konturen eines Forschungsfeldes', Nordeuropaforum 23, pp. 23-53
- 2012 'Naming the landscape in the Landnám narratives of the Íslendingasögur and Landnámabók', Saga-Book of the Viking Society 36, pp. 79-101
- 2012 'Sailing the Saga Seas: Narrative, Cultural, and Geographical Perspectives in the North Atlantic Voyages of the Íslendingasögur', Journal of the North Atlantic 7, pp. 1-12
- 2010 'Inside Outlawry in "Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar" and "Gísla saga Súrssonar": Landscape in the Outlaw Sagas', Scandinavian Studies 82, pp. 356-388
- 2008 '‘Following the Trollish Baton Sinister: Ludic Design in Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss’', Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 4, pp. 15-43
- 2008 '‘Transforming the Trolls: The Metamorphosis of the Troll-Woman in Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss’', Quaestio Insularis 9, pp. 52-62
- 2017 'Top Ten Books About the Vikings', The Guardian
- 2015 'True Norse: What Nordic Culture is Really Like', The Telegraph
- 2011 'Penitent Prudes and Playful Perverts: Sex in Old English Literature', The Erotic Review
- 2011 'The Hedonist: Reykjavik', The Independent, 26 February 2011