Dr. Ryan Kemp

Postdoctoral Fellow (Heinz-Heinen-Fellowship)

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
January 2024–September 2024

Title of current research project: "Critics on the margins: Parrhesia, admonitio, gender, and social status in High Medieval Europe (c. 1000–1200)"
Ryan Kemp
© Ryan Kemp

Academic Profile

My interest in the field of slavery and dependency studies stems from a desire to explore how societies accommodate the speaking of truth to power. I am delighted to be have the opportunity at the BCDSS to examine the history of political criticism in the High Middle Ages by exploring how gender, class, and social status both empowered and restricted the freedom of dependents to offer criticism, counsel, and advice to kings. I will be undertaking a comparative project examining the legacy of classical, biblical, and late antique ideas of political criticism in three case studies - the kingdoms of England, Germany, and Iberia – investigating how dependents in each realm navigated the structures of their dependency on the king’s favour, grace, and protection.

since 2020
Department of History, University of Bonn/University of Cologne, Visiting Researcher, supported by Leverhulme Study Abroad Studentship (2020–2022) and Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship (2022–2024)

Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University, Part-time Tutor

Ph.D., Aberystwyth University 
Thesis title: "Kingship in twelfth-century English and German saints’ lives and bishops’ biographies" 
Supervisors: Prof. Björn Weiler (Aberystwyth), Prof. Sarah Hamilton (Exeter) 
Funded by AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership 

M.St. in Medieval History, St Peter’s College, University of Oxford        
St Peter’s College Foundation Scholarship                          

B.A. in History, 1st, St Peter’s College, University of Oxford  
Anjool Malde Scholarship for academic excellence and citizenship 
Domus Scholarship for academic excellence  
White’s Bursary for academic achievement        
Amos Griffiths Bursary for academic achievement  
2012 Summer Undergraduate Essay Competition               
2012 OxTalent Award (Oxford Teaching and Learning Enhanced by New Technology)  


  • Forthcoming. Imagining Kingship in Twelfth-Century English and German Episcopal Biographies.



  • Forthcoming. Vita Chuonradi archiepiscopi Salisburgensis (Life of Archbishop Conrad I of Salzburg) with introduction and commentary for In Witnesses to Leadership and Community in the Middle Ages: The Lives of German Bishops, 950–1250 (working title). Manchester University Press.


Journal Articles

  • 2020. "Hugh of Lincoln and Adam of Eynsham: Angevin kingship reconsidered." Haskins Society Journal 30: 133–158


Chapters in Edited Collections

  • Forthcoming. "Whose patria? Bishops, noble rebellions, and opposition to the Crown in twelfth-century England and Germany." In Noble Rebellion in Medieval Europe (c.1150–1350), edited by Fernando Arias Guillén and Adrian Jobson. Brepolis.
  • Forthcoming. "Eadmer of Canterbury’s Image of Kingship." In Eadmer of Canterbury: Life, Works and Interpretations, edited by Sally Vaughn and Charles C. Rozier. Brepolis.
  • 2023. "The Unjust King and the Neglectful Bishop: Addressing Injustice in twelfth-century England and Germany." In Addressing Injustice in the Medieval Body Politic, edited by Constant Jan Mews and Kathleen Neal, 141–172. Crossing Boundaries: Turku Medieval & Early Modern Studies 13. University of Amsterdam Press. 
  • 2017. "Advising the King: Kingship, Bishops and Saints in the Works of William of Malmesbury." In Discovering William of Malmesbury, edited by Rodney M. Thomson, Emily Dolmans, and Emily A. Winkler, 65–80. Woodbridge.


Book Reviews

  • 2022. "Hochmittelalterliche Herrschaftspraxis im Spiegel der Geschichtsschreibung: Vorstellungen von 'guter' und 'schlechter' Herrschaft in England, Polen und dem Reich im 12./13. Jahrhundert by Grischa Vercamer." In German Historical Institute London Bulletin, 44(1): 80–87.
  • 2019. "Sulpicius Severus’ Vita Martini. Edited by Philip Burton." In History 104: 731–732.
  • 2017. "Ernst Kantorowicz: A Life by Robert E. Lerner." In Medievally Speaking. Open access
  • 2015. "Edward III and the war at sea: the English navy, 1327–1377, by Graham Cushway." In Intelligence and National Security 31: 787–789.
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