Dr Peter Jones

Dr Peter Jones joined UCL in 2018 as a Teaching Fellow in European Medieval History (c.1000-1400). His teaching explores the major intellectual and cultural transformations of the period between the First Crusade and the Black Death, with an emphasis on bringing unusual narrative, artistic, and material sources into the classroom.

Peter's primary research is on the politics of humour in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. His book, Laughter and Power in the Twelfth Century, which is scheduled for publication in 2019, explores the use of laughter as a mode of spiritual authority and political sovereignty in the 1100s. His further research on medieval humour has also appeared in the Journal of Medieval History and the Journal of Cultural and Social History.

Currently, Peter is developing two new book projects. Supported by a fellowship at the Warburg Institute, Democratic Dreams in Medieval Europe is an investigation of the theological foundation of republican and democratic thought in the 1100s. Another book project, A History of Loving Things, traces a history of loving relations between humans and nonhumans from Medieval Europe to the present day, via Imperial Russia and Oscar Wilde's Ireland. This work is being developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of scholars at the School of Advanced Studies in Tyumen, Siberia.

Before joining UCL, Peter taught at universities in the USA, Canada, and Russia. He has worked as an Andrew W Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the Jackman Institute, University of Toronto; a visiting scholar at Brown Univesity; a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Advanced Studies in Tyumen, Russia; and most recently, as a Frances A Yates Long-Term Fellow at the Warburg Institute.

Major publications

  • 'Humour at the Fourth Lateran Council', in Literary responses to the Fourth Lateran Council, ed. Maureen Bolton (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2018).
  • 'Humility and humiliation: The transformation of Franciscan humour, c.1220-1300', Journal of Social and Cultural History, 15:2 (2018), pp.155-175.
  • 'Gerald of Wales's sense of humour', in Gerald of Wales: New perspectives on a Medieval writer and critic, ed. Georgia Henley and Joey McMullen (University of Wales Press, 2017), pp.202-226.
  • 'Preaching laughter in the thirteenth century: The exempla of Arnold of Liège (d.c.1308) and his Dominican milieu', Journal of Medieval History, 41:2 (2015), pp.169-183.


  • The First European Union? Christendom c.1100-1350
  • The Friars in the Medieval World
  • The Crisis of the Papacy, 1294-1334
  • The Invention of the Question: A History of European Thinking, c.1100-1400 (MA module)