Page tree

Get started by adding some pages to this space. Create page.

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

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)



  • Royal Historical Society (Postgraduate Membership)


Papers Presented:

  • May 2019 - EMREM Annual Symposium: Powerful Places, University of Birmingham: "O Prester, Where Art Thou? Placing an Absent King in Thirteenth-Century Geographies"
  • June 2019 - New Voices in Medieval Studies, University of York: ""They Make Great Rumours from Nothing" - Emptiness and Nestorian Christians in William of Rubruck's Itinerarium" 
  • July 2019 - International Conference of the History of Cartography, Amsterdam: "When in the World are Gog and Magog? Ideology, Temporalities and the Apocalypse on the Hereford Mappa Mundi" (forthcoming)


Other Talks

  • October 2018, University of Birmingham: Applying for a Phd and for PhD funding. This was a talk I and a few other first-year PhD candidates planned and delivered for students in Birmingham's College of Arts and Law who are considering applying for a PhD. I was subsequently invited to the M3C application workshop in November, where I gave a short talk on my experiences of applying and was part of a question and answer panel on the same subject
  • May 2019, M4C Research Festival: Thinking about Medieval Maps (a five minute research-relay talk on an aspect of my methodology)



  • 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.


University email address:



  • No labels