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Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict

Unit(s) of assessment: History

Research theme: Global Heritage: Science, Management and Development

School: School of Arts and Humanities


The centre has been established at NTU in order to increase understanding of the origins, ideology, implementation, impact and historiography of religion and conflict from the medieval period into the early nineteenth century. Our understanding of "conflict" is interpreted very broadly to incorporate not just military but political, social, institutional, cultural, ethnic, racial and gendered themes, source material and debates. Tolerance, religious change and the role of religion in the resolution of conflict are also of central importance to the studies we engage in.

The expertise of the centre’s core members focus broadly on the Crusades, the Levant and the Military Orders; Reformations and Confessional societies; the Conquest of the New World and Mexican identity; Africa during the late medieval period; Britain from the Seventeenth to Nineteenth centuries; and the Transatlantic slave trade. We have undertaken and supervised significant research relevant to racial inequalities (Lussana, Fuller, Simmons); poverty, welfare and social inequalities (King, McCallum); religious diversities (Morton, McCallum, Hodgson, Fuller, Gould); identity (Fuller, Hodgson); military histories (Morton, Bennett); gender and emotions (Hodgson, Lussana, Powell). Our activities have brought together a wide network of scholars who investigate the relationship of different faiths, confessions and heterodoxies to conflict as they intersect with other societal and situational factors. Our networking has enabled comparisons and contrasts across a wide range of contexts and helped to develop new definitions and paradigms for understanding the roles played by belief in national, communal, and inter-personal conflict.

Details of our networking events and regular research activities are captured on our conference website and blog.

Image reproduced with kind permission of the University of Canterbury Christchurch: The Canterbury Roll, a fifteenth century ‘Noah’ genealogy of British kings.

Collaborations and Research Activities

Since 2017 the centre has held a biennial conference: usually a three-day programme which incorporates a public lecture and workshops across Nottingham. Previous keynotes have included Professor Elizabeth Tingle (DMU) and Dr. Katherine Lewis (Huddersfield), Dr. Matthew Gabriel (Virginia Tech), Professor Penny Roberts (Warwick) and Dr. Chris Jones (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ). Delegates from across Europe, the US and Australasia regularly attend. Our first conference resulted in collection of 16 essays for the Routledge series Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History as Religion and Conflict in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds: Identities, Communities and Authorities published in 2020. A second volume from the 2019 conference Miracles, Political Authority and Violence in Medieval and Early Modern History is in production. The next CSRC conference is aimed for 2021, though the impact of Covid-19 restrictions are under consideration.

We regularly hold research seminars and bespoke events such as one-day workshops and public lectures. Previous workshops we have supported include The Thirty Years War – 400 years on (2018) co-funded by the British Council for Military History; Charity, Welfare and Emotions in Early Modern Britain and Ireland funded by the Royal Historical Society (2019); The 500th Anniversary of Moctezuma and Cortes’ first meeting (2019); The Crusades: Borders Margins and Interfaces (2020); and the annual NTU History postgraduate conference.

The research activities of centre members have been supported by external grants from the AHRC; ESRC; Wellcome Trust; Leverhulme Trust; Pasold Trust;

the Royal Historical Society; the Council for British Research in the Levant and the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East. Our students work on projects in collaboration with institutions such as the British Library, the National Archives, the Society of Antiquaries of London and Nottingham Castle Trust. We have also fostered relationships with a number of local institutions, schools and businesses for disseminating research such as Bromley House, the Old Rectory Museum, Loughborough, the National Civil War Centre, Newark and Warlord Games.

The individual impact activities of staff and postgraduate members from are regularly captured on the news and events section of the Centre’s conference website and blog.  Typical activities include public lectures; book festivals; schools outreach; and TV and radio interviews.

Our core members hold a number of significant editorial roles.  King edits Family and Community History, Bennett is editor of the Thoroton Society Journal, Hodgson is co-editor of Nottingham Medieval Studies and McCallum is General Editor and Publications Secretary for the Scottish History Society. Between us we edit four book series for Routledge: Advances in Crusades Research; Rulers of the Latin East; The Military Religious Orders: History, Sources, Memory and Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History.

We have also produced a number of public facing articles and podcasts to support research impact, for example in History Today (Hodgson, Fuller, Morton, Bennett); History Today Podcasts (Fuller); BBC History Magazine (Bennett); BBC History Extra podcast (Hodgson) The Times Higher (Hodgson, Morton) ; The Conversation (Hodgson, Morton, Bennett, King) and BBC Radio 4 In Our Time (Hodgson, King).

PhD Students

Below is a list of current or recently completed PhD students attached to the centre. Members of our team co-supervise a number of PhDs with other universities in the Midlands 4 Cities DTP. Our students regularly engage in our events programme of seminars, workshops and conferences. We also hold special postgraduate workshops aimed at MA Students and 3rd year undergraduates thinking about postgraduate study in Medieval and Early Modern topics. The Centre provides our PGRs with important opportunities to develop their research skills and to network both nationally and internationally.

Jack Beaman (co-supervised with University of Nottingham) - Noble and Non - noble warriors during the crusades.

Giampiero Bagni The Templars in Bologna.

Natasha Bailey (co-supervised with University of Leicester) Nahua women in the pulque trade of early colonial Mexico. M4C profile.

Matthew Bayly A human ecology of the poor law in the Lincolnshire Wolds, 1800-1860.

Sara Bradley The nature and role of anti-Spanish sentiment in news and travel-related pamphlets produced in London in the 1580s.

Richard Bullock The High Sheriff in Early Modern England.

Laura Charles Experiencing Love and Marriage in the East Midlands 1600-1700.

Helen Drew Social Conduct, Community and the Church Court in Early Modern Nottinghamshire.

Helen Gair The impact of the Reformation on female piety in Early Modern Scotland.

Catherine Gower Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from Japheth’: The production, dissemination and use of royal genealogical chronicles in the first reign of Henry VI (1422–61).

Jeffrey James Punishment in the New Poor Law workhouse, 1834-1884.

Lucy Judd Maleficium or Beneficium: Women’s ‘domestic’ knowledge-sharing culture in Early Modern Nottinghamshire.

Chelsea Kilian The Emotional Experience of Friendship in Early Modern England.

Bethany Marsh (University of Nottingham)– 'Protestant Martyrs or Irish Vagrants?' Responses and the organisation of relief to Irish refugees in England, 1641-1651.

Erin Newman Were Male and Female Criminals in Seventeenth Century Popular and Court Literature, represented as either Defying or Complying with Religious and Gender Ideals.

Lizbeth Powell The emotional landscape of Sir Thomas Parkyns of Bunny.

Chloe Riggs Queenship in the thirteenth century Levant.

Sophie Rice Dying Well during the British Civil War.

Mark Robinson Routiers, Brabancons and Cotteraux: Mercenaries and Crusade in Southern France, 1179-1229.

Mary Rudling The experiences of the poor under the Old and New poor laws in Sussex, 1800-1860.

Maxine Spry The use of angels and angelic motifs in martyrdom treatises during the English Reformation.

Caroline Walton An emotional history of the nineteenth-century workhouse.

PhD Studentships

We’re offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres for UK, EU or International students. Find out more about our PhD studentships.

Related staff

    Professor Martyn Bennett - Early Modern social, political and military history, civil wars in Britain and Ireland.

    Dr Amy Fuller -Early Modern Spain and Mexico, religious drama and iconography.

    Dr. Kevin Gould – European Reformations, French Wars of Religion

    Dr Natasha Hodgson - (Director) The Crusades, the Latin East, Medieval Gender, Masculinities Heresy, Domesday, Normans, Wars of the Roses, Medieval and Early Modern Religion and Conflict.

    Professor Stephen King – Poverty and Welfare from sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

    Dr Sergio Lussana - Modern American history, slavery, African-American history, antebellum South, gender, masculinity.

    Dr John McCallum - Early Modern British religious history, the Scottish Reformation, poverty, charity and poor relief.

    Dr Nic Morton - The history of crusading, military orders, inter-faith relations between Christianity and Islam.

    Dr. Adam Simmons - African diasporas in Africa, Europe, and Asia c.400-c.1600.



  • Steven King and P. Jones, Pauper Voices, Public Opinion and Workhouse Reform in Mid-Victorian England – Bearing Witness (Palgrave, 2020).
  • Natasha Hodgson, John McCallum, Nicholas Morton, Amy Fuller eds, Religion and Conflict in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds (Routledge, 2020)
  • Nicholas Morton, The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History 1099-1187 (OUP, 2020)


  • Natasha Hodgson, Katherine Lewis and Matthew Mesley ed. Crusading Masculinities, Crusades Subsidia (Routledge, 2019)
  • Martyn Bennett, ‘ “He would not meddle against Newark...” Cromwell’s strategic vision 1643-1644’ British Journal for Military History (2019) issue 5.1, pp. 3-23.
  • Nicholas Morton ‘Walter the Chancellor on Ilghazi and Tughtakin: a prisoner’s perspective’ Journal of Medieval History 44 (2018) issue 2, 170-186.


  • John McCallum, Poor Relief and the Church in Scotland, 1560-1650 (Edinburgh University Press, 2018).
  • Sergio Lussana, ‘Reassessing Brer Rabbit: friendship, altruism, and community in the folklore of enslaved African-Americans’ Slavery & Abolition, 39:1, 123-146,


  • Martyn Bennett, Cromwell at war: the Lord General and his military revolution (I.B. Tauris, 2018).
  • Natasha Hodgson, ‘"Reputation, authority, and masculine identities in the political culture of the First Crusaders: the career of Arnulf of Chocques" History 102 (2017).
  • Nicholas Morton and Elizabeth Lapina The Uses of the Bible in Crusader Sources ed. (Brill, 2017).


  • Sergio Lussana, My brother slaves: friendship, masculinity, and resistance in the antebellum South. (University Press of Kentucky, 2016)
  • John McCallum (ed.), Scotland’s Long Reformation: New Perspectives on Scottish Religion, c. 1500-c.1660 (Brill: Leiden, 2016)
  • John McCallum ‘Charity and Conflict: Poor Relief in Mid-Seventeenth Century Dundee’, Scottish Historical Review, 95:1 (2016.
  • Nicholas Morton, Encountering Islam on the First Crusade (Cambridge University Press, 2016).


  • Martyn Bennett "Every county had more or lesse the civill warre within it selfe": the realities of war in Lucy Hutchinson's Midland shires. The Seventeenth Century, 30 (2) (2018)
  • Amy Fuller, Between Two Worlds: The autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (MHRA, 2015).
  • Natasha Hodgson, ‘Normans and competing masculinities on the First Crusade’ in Crusading and Pilgrimage in the Norman World eds Kathryn Hurlock and Paul Oldham (Boydell, 2015).
  • Nicholas Morton, ‘The Saljuq Turks’ conversion to Islam: the crusading sources’, Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean (2015)


  • Martyn Bennett, 2014. ‘"A Constable to keep the peace": the violent context of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate’ in F. Jacobs ed., Diktaturen ohne Gewalt? Wie Diktatoren ihre Macht behaupten. ( Königshausen & Neumann, 2014).
  • John McCallum ‘“Nurseries of the Poore”: Hospitals and Almshouses in Early Modern Scotland’, Journal of Social History, 48:2 (2014).
  • Nicholas Morton and John France,‘Arab Muslim reactions to the advent of the First Crusade’, in Crusading and warfare in the Middle Ages: realities and representations: essays in honour of John France, ed. Nicholas Morton and Simon John (Ashgate, 2014).