Bjorn Weiler

Prof, MA (St. Andrews) PhD (St. Andrews)

  • Aberystwyth University
    Hugh Owen Building

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Research activity per year

Personal profile


A graduate of the University of St Andrews, I was first appointed to a lectureship in medieval history at Aberystwyth in 2001. Previously, I taught at the universities of Swansea and Durham. I have also been a visiting fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) at Cambridge (2004), the Centre for Medieval Studies at Bergen in Norway (2006), the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard (2008-9), and the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) at Freiburg in Germany (2010-11), and was a Visiting Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (2015).

External appointments

Former co-Director, Institute for Medieval & Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) (2010-14)

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Member of the Advisory Board for The Mediaeval Journal

Member of the Advisory Board of the Writing History in the Middle Ages book series

Member of the Haskins Society

Research interests

Politics and Political Culture in Medieval Europe:  How did people in the Middle Ages think about power? How did they negotiate conflicting norms and expectations? Kingship, Rebellion and Political Culture, published in 2007 (rev. paperback 2011), explored these issues in relation to notions of resistance and revolt in the aftermath of Magna Carta. I then turned to concepts of kingship, and the complex relationship between the 'people' at large and the ruler, and between norms (what should be) with pragmatic needs (what could be). This resulted in Paths to Kingship in Medieval Latin Europe, c.950-1200 (Cambridge, 2021). A short taster is available here. In addition I have, together with Catherine Holmes and Jonathan Shepard at Oxford, and Jo Van Steenbergen at Ghent, published Political Culture in Three Spheres: Byzantium, Islam and the West, c. 700-1450 (Cambridge, 2021). 

Historical Writing and Historical Culture:  How did people in the Middle Ages think about, why and how did they engage with the past, and what did they hope to gain from doing so? These questions weer at the heart of a Leverhulme Major research Fellowship that I held from 2019-2022. I am particularly interested in the interplay between historical writing as both a cultural and a social enterprise - something that adhered to certain norms of how accounts of the past ought to be written, but that also required the backing and support of a whole array of people other than the author: brethren, patrons, informants, readers (and so on). A first case study, on the late twelfth-century English chronicler Ralph of Diss, is nearing completion. Another two will follow, on narratives or regnal history, and on the practice of writing history in high medieval Europe. All of which builds on ideas first explored in How the Past  Was Used: historical cultures, c. 700-200ed. Peter Lambert and Björn Weiler (Oxford, 2017). A taster is available here. See also the series of conferences organised on aspects of medieval historical culture organised by PhD students in the department. 

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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