Prof. Dr. Emilia Jamroziak

Alumna (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Max-Weber-Kolleg (Steinplatz 2) / Raum 212b (1. OG)

+49 361 737-2809

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Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

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Curriculum Vitae

Emilia Jamroziak is Professor of Medieval Religious History at the University of Leeds. She graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (BA), Central European University in Budapest (MA) and the University of Leeds (PhD). She is also an alumna of Humboldt Stiftung Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, which she held at the TU Dresden (2015-16) and Invitational Fellowships for Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at Okayama University (2019). Her research focuses on the interactions between religious institutions, especially Cistercian monasteries and the laity from the early twelfth to the early sixteenth century – social networks, institutional memory and identity. Geographically her work spans North-Western Europe, Central Europe, East-Central Europe and the Baltic.

Jamroziak is author of several monographs and collected volumes on monastic culture and its relationship to the wider society. She was the director of the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds (2016-2019).  She has been holder of several grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK, ) and is the chair of the newly established János M. Bak Research Fellowship on Medieval Central Europe at the Central European University.


“The powerful afterlife of medieval monasticism – from the tyranny of origins, nationalism, modernization paradigm to the transcultural perspectives”

This project aims to explain key historiographical processes that history of medieval monasticism has been the subject to from the nineteenth-century onwards. Far from being marginal, the modern historiography of medieval monasticism is a powerful test-case for a wider understanding of the interpretational processes of history, meta-levels of historiographical developments as well as opportunities of the transcultural approaches that emerged in the recent years. The project builds on Jamroziak’s entire research work so far – as a scholar of monasticism, especially in its Cistercian form. It utilizes her expertise in comparative studies and established knowledge of historiographical traditions in both Western (especially German- and English-language scholarship) and East-Central Europe (academic studies in Slavonic languages). The study is envisage to be thematic examination with chapters focusing on different interpretational paradigms and will explore different intellectual underpinnings, influences and constructs that contributed to the developments of each of these model of interpretation. Although monasticism has late antique roots and long post-medieval histories, the medieval period is the formative one and has been studied with particular intensity. It is frequently used as a stage that not only shaped but also defined this phenomenon. The ‘tyranny’ of origins have affected the historiography of medieval monasticism a great extent and continues to do so. The value attached to – or rejection of – monastic heritage has been shaped in significant ways by how the history of monasticism has been incorporated into linear histories of nation-states. The confessional perspectives – Catholic and Protestant were very important in shaping western-European historiography in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. The resurgence of the confessionally-driven interpretations in parts of East-Central Europe (especially Poland, Croatia and Hungary) and its impact on the approaches to the medieval monastic history are crucial for the wider understanding of contemporary identities and the place that medieval history has in the politics within the region. Since the development of academic study of monasticism, the trans-European monastic networks have been routinely studied from the perspective of modern political borders and subjecting it to the specific periodisation concerns as well as set of questions that removed or diminished agency of such communities vis-à-vis political structures. In most extreme versions it had led to the models that removed the religious component from the analysis altogether. The powerful image of rationality and economic planning, as well as seeing strategic innovations in the monastic structures have been central to the Weberian-inspired models of interpretation. Whitest economy-focused  approaches largely disappeared by the late-twentieth century, the models that interpret monastic structures and many elements of monastic culture as a precursor of modern rationality, often using terminology of ‘innovation’ remained, at meta-level, anchored in the concept of progress and development.     

The ultimate aim of this project is therefore to explore and dynamize theories of modernisation that are behind much of the past and current interpretations of monasticism.



  • Monastic Life in the Medieval British Isles Essays in Honour of Janet Burton, ed. Stober K; Jamroziak E; Kerr J. (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2018) 304 pp.
  • The Cistercian Order in Medieval Europe: 1090-1500 (London: Routledge, 2013) 320 pp.
  • Survival and Success on Medieval Borders. Cistercian Houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the Twelfth to Late Fourteenth Century (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011) 215 pp. 
  • Monasteries on the Borders of Medieval Europe: Conflict and Cultural Interaction, ed. Jamroziak, E. and K. Stöber (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 272 pp.
  • Religious and Laity in Northern Europe 1000-1400: Interaction, Negotiation, and Power, ed. Jamroziak, E. and J. Burton (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 399 pp.
  • Rievaulx abbey and its social context 1132-1300: memory, locality and network (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005) 252 pp.

Journal articles and book chapters (selected):

  • ‘East-Central European Monasticism: Between East and West?, in A.I. Beach and Isabelle Cochell, Isabelle Cochelin (eds.), New Cambridge History of Monasticism (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • ‘Zisterzienserstudien in Großbritannien - ein kleines Forschungsfeld mit Großen Fragen’, Cistercienser Chronik 124 (2017), pp. 535-548.
  • ‘Cistercian Abbots in Late Medieval Central Europe: Between the Cloister and the World’, in M. Heale (ed.) The Prelate in England and Europe 1300-1560 (York Medieval Press/Boydell Press, 2015), pp. 240-257.
  • ‘Centres and Peripheries’, in Mette B. Bruun (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Cistercian Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 65-79.
  • ‘Spaces of Lay-Religious Interaction in Cistercian Houses of Northern Europe’, Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. 27 (2011), 37-58.
  • ‘Genealogy in the Monastic Chronicles in England’, in R. Radulescu and E. D. Kennedy (eds). Broken Lines. Genealogical Literature in Medieval Britain, and France (Turnhout, Brepols, 2009), pp. 101-120.