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Simon Trafford

Simon Trafford is Director of Studies and Lecturer in Medieval History

Simon convenes and teaches on the MRes in Historical Research, co-ordinates and oversees the research training programme, and has overall responsibility for all teaching and learning within the Institute.; tel: +44 (0) 207 862 8763

Institute roles

Simon is a lecturer in Medieval History and the Director of Studies. He is responsible for for all teaching and learning within the Institute and the research training programme.

A keen scuba diver, Simon is a trustee and a member of the executive committee of the Nautical Archaeology Society.

Simon is an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and tweets at @SimonJPTrafford.

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

'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 (MacFarland: Jefferson, 2007), 57-73.

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

(forthcoming, 2020) 'Anglo-Saxon swimming', in C. Twomey and D. Anlezark (eds.), Water in Anglo-Saxon England (Brepols)

(forthcoming, 2020) "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