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Dr Sophie Page

Academic position: Associate Professor

Department: History

Telephone number: 0207679 3619

Email: sophie.page@ucl.ac.uk

Biography:

I am a historian of medieval social, cultural and intellectual history with a particular focus on the history of magic, science and religion, cosmology and approaches to nature. My current research and teaching on the medieval history of animals, magic and ritual goes back to 2007 but is increasingly concerned with questions about how we can use the past to reflect on and rethink our current exploitative relationship to animals and isolation from nature. My publications include: ‘Good Creation and Demonic Illusions: The Medieval Universe of Creatures', in A Cultural History of Animals, vol. 2 (2007).

Research Projects:

Medieval people lived in close proximity to animals and assigned important meanings to them, creating connections that our modern world has lost. I am investigating how medieval ideas of proximity with, and symbolic meanings of, animals can be positive things to take forward in our ecologically fraught and pandemic-stricken world, while testing the negative impact of the influential medieval Christian idea of human superiority over animals. My current research also addresses medieval ideas about the fluidity of the border between animal and human, especially in relation to images of hybrids, stories of shapeshifting and magical, moralistic and socio-political identification with animals. Finally, I am working on ideas about magic and the forest (and deforestation) as a starting point for examining the meanings of animals past and present, native and introduced, extinct and exotic.

Teaching:

HIST0512/HIST0513: The Medieval Universe

HIST0103/HIST0317: Identity, Cosmology and the Supernatural