Dr Kirsty Day

Lecturer in Medieval History


After studying for an undergraduate degree in English and History at the University of Sheffield (2007–2010) and an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Culture at the University of Southampton (2010–2011), I completed a PhD at the University of Leeds (2011–2015; awarded 2016). I was appointed Teaching Fellow in Medieval History at Leeds (2015–2016) before moving to the University of Edinburgh to take up another teaching fellowship (2016–2019). Continuing my journey north, I moved to Aalborg University in Denmark to take up a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (2019–2021). I returned down south to Edinburgh in 2021 to take up another teaching fellowship in Medieval History. I was appointed as Lecturer in Medieval History in September 2023, and am pleased to be able to stay put for a while.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Deputy School Academic Conduct Officer

Undergraduate teaching

Medieval Worlds: A Journey through the Middle Ages (Pre-Honours)

Historical Skills and Methods I (Honours Core Course)

Historical Skills and Methods II (Honours Core Course)

No Such Thing as a Free Gift: A Long History of Donation (Honours Elective)

Damnation and Redemption in the Medieval World: a Journey through Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio (Honours Special Subject)

Postgraduate teaching

Historical Research: Skills & Sources (in-person and ODL)

Historical Methodology

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am happy to consider research proposals relating to gender (conceived broadly) and/or 'Latin' Christianity in the central-late Middle Ages, medieval East-Central Europe, or the History of Emotions in the Middle Ages.

Research summary


  • Europe
  • Mediterranean


  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Society


  • Medieval & Renaissance

Research interests

I am a social and cultural historian of medieval religion, specialising in how women and gender shaped the central-late medieval Church. My interests include cultures of power and authority, the Franciscan Order, gift theory, the History of Emotions, the papal curia, and East-Central Europe.

Research projects

Based on my AHRC-funded doctoral research into communities of Franciscan women in thirteenth-century Bohemia and Poland, my monograph-in-progress examines the way in which the submission of royal and noble women to clerical authority in East-Central Europe became symbolic of orthodoxy in the thirteenth century and a model for the Church’s reform. I demonstrate how royal and noble women’s conformity with and resistance to the Church’s imposition of order shaped this project, which was bound inextricably with efforts to expand and make uniform the regions of Latin Christendom.

My ERC-funded project examined how the papacy of the early-thirteenth century imagined and communicated its authority as supreme within the Church during times of triumph and crisis. Focussing on the letters and sermons produced by Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) and his curia, I demonstrate that the curia’s exclusion of women from ministry, and its placement of emotion and intellect into a hierarchical taxonomy, were constituent parts of papal claims to supremacy over the Church. Read not as lofty rhetoric but as a set of instructions on how to feel correctly, emotion in papal letters reflected and shaped the papacy’s effort to curb cultural-geographical and religious diversity in the process of creating a renewed and distinctly ‘Latin’ Church.

Peer-reviewed publications

‘Crusading against Bosnian Christians, c. 1234–1241’, in Crusading against Christians in the Middle Ages, ed. Mike Carr, Nikolaos Chrissis, and Gianluca Raccagni (London: Palgrave, 2024), 191-212

‘The Zeal with which Christ was Inflamed: Irascibility, Masculinity, and Clerical Authority in the Writing of Pope Innocent III and his Curia (1198–1216)’, Emotions: History, Culture, Society 7 (2023), 211-234 [open access]

‘Sorrow, Masculinity, and Papal Authority in the Writing of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) and his Curia’, The Journal of Medieval History 49 (2023), 201-226 [open access]

‘Royal Women, the Franciscan Order, and Ecclesiastical Authority in Late-Medieval Bohemia and the Polish Duchies’, in Authority and Power in the Medieval Church, c.1000–c. 1500, ed. Thomas Smith (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020), 269–284

‘Hagiography as Institutional Biography: Medieval and Modern Uses of the Thirteenth-Century Vitae of Clare of Assisi’, in Writing the Lives of People and Things, AD 500-1700, ed. Robert Smith and Gemma Watson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2016), 261–280

Peer-reviewed publications under review

‘The Legitimization of Papal Power through the Cults of Royal Women in Thirteenth-Century East-Central Europe’, in The Cult of Saints and Legitimization of Elite Power in East Central Europe and Scandinavia until 1300, ed. Grzegorz Pac, Steffen Hope, and Jón Viðar Sigurðsson (Turnhout: Brepols), 8139 words


Becoming Franciscan Women in Medieval East-Central Europe

With Professor Iben Fonnesberg-Schmidt: ‘The Function of Anger in Papal Writing: The Case of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216)’

Book reviews

Review of Virginia Blanton, Veronica O’Mara, and Patricia Stoop, eds, Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Kansas City Dialogue, for Speculum 95 (2020), 199-201

Review of Alison More, Fictive Orders and Feminine Religious Identities, 1200-1600 for the History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland Network (H-WRBI) [accessed 3 June 2020]

Review of Cynthia J. Cyrus, Received Medievalisms: A Cognitive Geography of Viennese Women’s Convents, in Women’s History Review 23 (2014), 1024–26