My research focuses primarily on Europe before the year 1000. As a social and cultural historian I am particularly interested in the ways that relationships are formed in the medieval world and how cross-cultural interaction shapes and transforms the identity and practices of pre-modern peoples and states.
In my dissertation, "Before They Were Vikings: Scandinavia and the Franks up to the Death of Louis the Pious," I examine how social, cultural, and political relationships between the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia set the stage for the Viking invasions of the ninth century.
Please click here to read my dissertation abstract and table of contents.
My book project, currently in progress, expands on this research, firmly tying together the first tentative contacts between Franks and Northmen in the seventh century to the settlement of Scandinavians in Francia itself with the founding of the county of Normandy in 911. Using contemporary written sources, as well as archaeological and numismatic evidence, this work will demonstrate that the Viking activity of the ninth and tenth century was in fact part of a much longer period of commerce, diplomacy, and competition between the Carolingian empire and its northern neighbors.
While my current research focuses on interaction and engagement between Vikings and Franks, it is part of a larger agenda aimed at understanding how medieval peoples and states communicated and interacted, often across great conceptual and spatial distances. My future goals include an in-depth examination of early medieval diplomacy, across both Western Europe and into the eastern Mediterranean and the Byzantine and Islamic worlds.