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Name: Chris Rouse

PhD: History, University of Birmingham

Thesis Title: The Intellectual Colonisation of Asia in European Geographical Discourse, 1200-1500


Thesis Description:

My research involves looking at the depictions of East Asia in medieval European cartography and travel literature, with particular focus on the representations of Asian time, space, and agency. Drawing on and critiquing theories like Edward Said's "Orientalism", narrativity and Postcolonial approaches, I analyse how the portrayal of Asia fitted into a Christian, European intellectual framework, and how far this conceptualisation can be defined as an "Intellectual Colonisation" in response to geopolitical difficulties. I am especially interested in the conceptual manifestations of Otherness and liminality, and in the topics of Prester John, Gog and Magog, and Nestorian Christians.


Supervisors and Institution(s): Prof Naomi Standen (University of Birmingham) and Dr Margaret Small (University of Birmingham)


Research Interests:

To date, my research across undergraduate and postgraduate levels - which has covered a range of periods and geographic areas - has been thematically linked by a focus on the historic interrelationships between ideology, discourse and power. This interest in the potential of narrative and representations links my thesis with the work I have done on Anglo-Saxon saints and the Apocalyptic rhetoric of Gregory VII (or at least, this is what I tell myself to avoid self-accusations of being a butterfly mind).

I am a firm adherent of interdisciplinarity approach in the study of the past, believing in combining a traditional historical method with Art History, literary approaches, codicology, and political sociology. I also take a keen interest in the Global Middle Ages and the interconnected nature of the politics, economies and ideas of medieval Afro-Eurasia. Both of these interests speak to my belief that parochialism and rigid compartmentalisation are barriers to our understanding of history.



2016 - 2017: MA Medieval Studies, University of York (Distinction)

2013 - 2016: BA (Hons) History and Political Science, University of Birmingham (First Class)



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Scholarly Activities and Public Engagement:

  • Pending!


Other Interests:

  • I am passionate about public engagement with history and heritage. I started a blog dedicated to these themes:
  • I have also written for several other non-academic platforms. A list of my pieces can be found here:
  • In a non-scholarly capacity, I can often be found trawling museums, cathedrals and old parish churches. In the case of the latter two, I am especially proud of my newfound, helpful ability to point at an old window and shout "look! Early English!". I am a big fan of the vaulting in Gloucester Cathedral cloisters (this is a pun of which I am equally proud, not least for its being niche)


University email address:



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