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Name: <Joseph Peake>

PhD: <History>

Thesis Title: <A cultural, legal and economic history of waste land in late medieval England>


Thesis Description:

<My project will study waste land in its legal, economic and cultural context in England, c.1100-1500. It will engage with existing scholarship on agricultural expansion, marginal land, the concept of wilderness in eremitic and monastic discourse, and the 'frontier' of Christian civilisation. Questions I hope to answer include the following:

  • When and why was waste land (vastum) brought under cultivation, and at whose instigation? 
  • How has did the history meaning of the English word 'waste' evolved change over the course of the Middle Ages?
  • How was wasteland utilised by individuals and by institutions in the medieval landscape? 
  • What, if any, was the role of waste in urban contexts?
  • Does the concept of waste land interact with religious discourses on wilderness, specifically wilderness as a place where monks, hermits, and ascetics could escape from the worldly trappings of civilisation?>


Supervisors and Institution(s): 
<Dr Rob Lutton (University of Nottingham)
Dr Miriam Muller (University of Birmingham)
Professor Wendy Scase (University of Birmingham)>


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