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Stephen  Spencer

Dr Stephen Spencer

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow


I am a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, working on my postdoctoral project, ‘Information Dissemination and Contested Memory: The Third Crusade, 1187–1300’. Prior to joining King’s in 2019, I was a Past & Present Fellow (2017–19) at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, which allowed me to finish my first book, Emotions in a Crusading Context, 1095–1291 (Oxford, 2019), and commence work on the memorialisation of the Third Crusade. I completed my BA (History), MA (Islam and the West), and PhD at Queen Mary University of London; following the award of the latter in 2015, I was Postdoctoral Research Assistant on a collaborative project between QMUL and The National Archives, ‘1217: The Making of Medieval England’. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • The crusades
  • Historical writing in the Middle Ages
  • The memorialisation of the crusading movement (especially before 1300)
  • The history of emotions

My current project explores how the Third Crusade (1187–92) was interpreted in western Europe between 1187 and 1300, which interpretations gained currency, and how and why interpretations of that expedition shifted over time. By putting the surviving manuscripts centre stage, it will demonstrate how information about a crucial event was disseminated, altered, and recast to determine the place of the Third Crusade in western historical memory and expose the contested nature of that memory. Much of my previous research has focused on the emotional rhetoric embedded in the western sources for the crusades, especially Latin and Old French narratives.

For more information, please see my full research profile

Selected publications 

  • Emotions in a Crusading Context, 1095–1291 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).
  • ‘“Like a Raging Lion”: Richard the Lionheart’s Anger during the Third Crusade in Medieval and Modern Historiography’, English Historical Review 132/556 (2017), 495–
  • ‘Feelings of Betrayal and Echoes of the First Crusade in Odo of Deuil’s De Profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem’, Historical Research 92/258 (2019), 657–
  • ‘Fear, Fortitude and Masculinity in William of Malmesbury’s Retelling of the First Crusade and the Establishment of the Latin East’, Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture 5/2 (2019), special issue: Remembering the Crusades in Medieval Texts and Songs, ed. Andrew Buck and Thomas Smith, 35–
  • ‘Emotions and the “Other”: Emotional Characterizations of Muslim Protagonists in Narratives of the Crusades (1095–1192)’, in Literature of the Crusades, ed. Simon Parsons and Linda Paterson (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2018), 41–54.