Dr Robert Mills
Medieval visual culture; representations of pain and punishment; saints; gender and sexuality; animal studies; translation
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, and he contributed the medieval section to A Gay History of Britain (2007). 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.
Recently Bob completed a book called Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages. This book 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 sees the publication another co-edited collection, Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory.
Bob is now turning his attention to questions of the animal and interspecies desire in medieval culture. He is currently developing a book project on this theme. He has also published essays on queer theory, museums and public culture and wishes to return to these topics in future research.
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.
A list of publications is available from UCL's Institutional Research Information Service via the Iris link below.
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