Dr Robert Mills

Reader in Medieval Art

Email: robert.mills@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Robert Mills

Bob Mills graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA in Medieval Studies in 1994 and an MA in the History of Art in 1996. He completed his PhD in the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge in 2000. The focus of Bob’s doctoral research was representations of pain and punishment in medieval art and literature and there has always been an interdisciplinary bent to his profile. Reflecting these interests, Bob was appointed as Lecturer in English at King’s College London in 2001, where he remained for eleven years, before joining the History of Art Department at University College London in 2012.

Although the central core of Bob’s research focuses on the visual culture and literature of England and France between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, he has also published on art in the Low Countries, Germany and Italy. Bob’s first book Suspended Animation: Pain, Pleasure and Punishment in Medieval Culture (2005), which came out of his doctoral research, shows this range. One of the essay collections he co-edited, The Monstrous Middle Ages (2003), exemplifies his commitment to research with a strong interdisciplinary focus.

Bob has longstanding interests in gender and sexuality, both as historical phenomena and critical categories. He has published a number of chapters and articles in this field, contributed the medieval section to A Gay History of Britain (2007), and co-edited Troubled Vision: Gender, Sexuality, and Sight in Medieval Text and Image (2004). Feminist theory, queer studies and LGBT cultural history have always exerted a shaping influence on his research. At King’s he was director of the Queer@King’s research centre, and he has organized a number of symposia, conferences, research seminars and public events under this heading.

Bob's next book, Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages (2015), explores the relationship between sodomy and motifs of vision and visibility in medieval culture, on the one hand, and those categories we today call ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality,’ on the other. Built around a core of texts and images from high and late medieval England, France and Italy, Seeing Sodomy foregrounds the role played by translation – visual, textual and cultural – in defining when and how male and female same-sex relations become intelligible. Bob is also interested in issues of translation more generally and 2012 saw the publication another co-edited collection, Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory.

Bob is now turning his attention to questions of 'the animal' in medieval visual culture and is currently developing a book project on this theme. He has also recently been working on Derek Jarman's engagements with medieval art and literature, with a particular focus on Jarman's conceptions of time and history.

Bob is very interested in supervising doctoral projects on any aspect of medieval visual culture (broadly defined); research situated at the interface between the visual and the verbal; projects on animals and animal-human relations. He is also interested in supervising research on medieval gender and sexuality, as well as work exploring aspects of queer history and art history in any period from a theoretical perspective.

Current PhD Students

Euan McCartney Robson: Emotion and Embodiment in Romanesque Architecture (first supervisor)

Sophia Wilson: Human and Nonhuman Transformation in the Middle Ages (joint first supervisor, with Sarah Salih, King's College London)

Magali Burnichon: Queer Representations on Television (second supervisor, with James Agar, Centre for Intercultural Studies)

Andy Murray: The Mourners of the Tomb of Philip the Bold (second supervisor, with Alison Wright).

Recently Completed PhDs

Wendy Gore: 'Wilful Longing to God': A Lacanian Reading of Julian of Norwich's Texts, 2013 (joint first supervisor, with Sarah Salih, King's College London)


Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages
Gay History of Britain
Troubled Vision
Suspended Animation
Rethinking Medieval Translation
Monstrous Middle Ages

A list of principal publications is available via the link below.

A complete list of publications is also available from UCL's Institutional Research Information Service via the Iris link below.

Page last modified on 27 feb 15 15:56