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Research

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Dr Hilary Powell

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of English Studies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Medical Humanities

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Biography

Hilary Powell specialises in the social, cultural and religious history of the central Middle Ages. She completed her D.Phil in History at the University of Oxford on landscape-based healing cults in England c. 700-1200. A Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship held at the University of Cambridge enabled the extension of this research to examine the medical aspect of these healing sites, the experiences they afforded and how the concept of nature-based therapies operated within the wider social, cultural and medical contexts found in Britain during the early Middle Ages. This research has generated several articles and essays and is currently being revised for publication as a monograph. She is currently employed on the Hearing the Voice project, an interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, where she explores representation of voice-hearing in Latin miracle narratives and saints’ legends. She is particularly interested in exploring the phenomenology and hermeneutics of voice-hearing, in recovering the narratives used by miracle recipients to frame their experiences and examining how those narratives were received and reinterpreted by others. She is also interested in investigating the relationship between auditory verbal hallucinations and hallucinations experienced in other sensory modalities, especially visual apparitions.

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

  • Powell, H (2010), Miraculous birth: faith and fertility in medieval England, Society for the Social History of Medicine. Durham University, England, Durham University.

Journal Article

  • Powell, H (2013). Following in the footsteps of Christ: text and context in the Vita S. Mildrethae. Medium Aevum
  • Powell, H (2012). The 'miracle of childbirth': the portrayal of parturient women in medieval miracle narratives. Social History of Medicine 25(4): 795-811.
  • Powell, H (2010). 'Once upon a time there was a saint.': re-evaluating folklore in Anglo-Latin hagiography. Folklore 121: 171-189.

Presentation

  • Powell, H (2013), Voice-hearing in the Middle Ages: A cultural exploration, Psychosis Special Interest Group. Durham University, England.
  • Powell, H (2012), Pilgrimage, performance and miracle cures in the twelfth-century Miracula of St Aebbe, Medieval Medicine Discussion Group. Deptartment of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, England.
  • Powell, H (2010), Following in the footsteps of Christ: text and context in the Vita S. Mildrethae, Department of Anglo-SAxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, England.
  • Powell, H (2010), Marginal Cures: landscape and healing in eleventh-century England, Medieval Medicine Discussion Group. Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, England.
  • Powell, H (2010), The 'miracle of childbirth': the portrayal of parturient women in medieval miracle narratives, Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, University of Kent, England.
  • Powell, H (2010), The 'miracle of childbirth': the portrayal of parturient women in medieval miracle narratives, Early Medicine Seminar. Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, England.
  • Powell, H (2010), The making of the early medieval English therapeutic landscape, The Cabinet of Natural History. Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, England.

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