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Simon Trafford

Simon Trafford is Director of Studies and Lecturer in Medieval History

Simon convenes and teaches on the MA in History, Place & Community, co-ordinates and oversees the research training programme, and has overall responsibility for all teaching and learning within the Institute.

Institute roles

Simon is a lecturer in Medieval History and the Director of Studies. As such he has overall responsibility for all teaching and learning within the Institute and for the research training programme. He is the series editor of the Manchester University Press IHR Research Guides Series.

He convenes the MA in History, Place & Community and is module leader for Thinking HistoryConnecting History (jointly with Prof Catherine Clarke) and the Dissertation module.

Simon is also co-director of the School of Advanced Study Doctoral Centre.

Research interests

Simon is a historian of early medieval Europe, specialising in the interlocking histories of the British Isles and Scandinavia from c.750 – c.1100. Previous work has concentrated on migration and identity in the British Isles, but his current projects revolve around human interactions with the natural world – and above all with water – in the early Middle Ages. 

Simon also has a research interest in is in perception and reception of the Middle Ages in modern popular culture. A particular focus is the construction and use of the Viking image in mass appeal cultural commodities such as film, television and rock music.

Selected publications

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0233-9193

'Ethnicity, migration theory, and the historiography of the Scandinavian settlement of England', in D. M. Hadley and J. D. Richards (eds.), Cultures in Contact: Scandinavian Settlement in England in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries (Brepols: Turnhout, 2000), 17-39.

(with Aleks Pluskowski) 'Antichrist superstars: the Vikings in hard rock and heavy metal', in D. Marshall (ed.), Mass Market Medievalisms: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture (Jefferson: MacFarland, 2007), 57-73.

'Viking metal', in K. Yri and S. Meyer (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music and Medievalism (Oxford: OUP, 2019)

"Nata vimpi curmi da": dead languages and primordial nationalisms in folk metal music', in A. DiGioia, C. Doesburg and R.-L. Valijärvi (eds.), Multilingual Metal: Sociocultural, Literary and Linguistic Perspectives (London: Emerald Publishing, 2020)

'Anglo-Saxon swimming', in C. Twomey and D. Anlezark (eds.), The Meanings of Water in Early Medieval England (Turnhout: Brepols, 2021)

(forthcoming) 'Alcohol consumption, masculinity and modern Vikings', in S. Ellis Nielsen and S. Nyzell (eds.), Viking Heritage and History in Europe: Practices and Recreations (2021)