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Dr Jenny Benham

Dr Jenny Benham

Lecturer in Medieval History

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Email
benhamj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5648
Campuses
4.27 (4th Floor), John Percival Building
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

Research interests

  • Political and cultural history of the early and high Middle Ages
  • International law and medieval diplomacy
  • Early medieval legal history
  • Medieval warfare
  • Medieval Scandinavia

Current research projects

Biography

Education and qualifications

BA, MA and PhD University of East Anglia

Honours and awards

2016-2018       The Leverhulme Trust grant for international network 'Voices of Law'

2000-2003       Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) PhD Studentship

1999-2000       AHRB Master Studentship

Career overview

Before arriving in Cardiff in September 2013, I worked for several years outside academe, first in the legal sector and then in the publishing industry. I also spent five years as the lead teacher and Norfolk co-ordinator of the Civitas school in Great Yarmouth, and worked for three years as a project officer for the AHRC-funded project Early English Laws at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Professional memberships

2016 Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

2015 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Publications

2021

2020

2018

2017

  • Benham, J. 2017. Writing peace, writing war: Roger of Howden and Saxo Grammaticus compared. In: Munster-Swendsen, M., Heeboll-Holm, T. K. and Sonnesyn, S. O. eds. History and Intellectual Culture in the Long Twelfth Century: The Scandinavian Connection. Durham Medieval and Renaissance Monographs and Essays Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, pp. 272-294.
  • Benham, J. 2017. Danelaw. In: Echard, S. and Rouse, R. eds. The encyclopedia of medieval literature in Britain. Wiley
  • Benham, J. 2017. Treaty of Verdun. In: Martel, G. ed. Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Diplomacy. Wiley-Blackwell
  • Benham, J. 2017. Treaty of Windsor. In: Martel, G. ed. Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Diplomacy. Wiley-Blackwell
  • Benham, J. 2017. Peace of Venice, 1177. In: Martel, G. ed. Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Diplomacy. Wiley-Blackwell

2014

2013

2011

2005

2004

Teaching

I welcome students interested in gaining an in-depth knowledge of the political and cultural history of the early and high Middle Ages and Medieval war and diplomacy.

Voices of Law: Language, Text and Practice

Cardiff, together with the universities of Cambridge, Glasgow and Copenhagen and the Frisian Academy in the Netherlands, have been awarded c.£80,000 by The Leverhulme Trust for the international network 'Voices of Law: Language, Text and Practice'. The network  aims to establish a wide comparative framework that will highlight cross-cultural connections and cover areas of exceptional significance for the study of law, language and legal practice in Britain, Scandinavia and Frisia in the period AD 600-c1250. Over a 24-month period, the network will hold three colloquia and three workshops, each at a different institution in Britain, Scandinavia and The Netherlands. The network will further produce two edited collections, a collaborative monograph relating to the main themes, and a postgraduate skills guide on working with early medieval law.

International Law in Europe, c. 700-1200

I have recently completed my second monograph, International Law in Europe, c. 700-1200 (Manchester University Press, forthcoming). It is the contention of this book that there was a notion of international law in the period c.700-1200. While it is true that there was nothing that contemporaries referred to as ‘international law’ in this period nor were there any physical international institutions along the lines of the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, I argue, nonetheless, that there were laws, customs and institutions that guided interactions between different communities and political entities, protected the rights and status of people and their goods in foreign lands, and acted as deterrents to future conflict. How people resolved conflict at a time when wars and violence may have been more pervasive both between and within polities than today and in a period before fully-fledged nation states, international institutions and law, has acquired timely relevance in an age of globalisation, asymmetrical warfare, and tensions over natural resources. These trends have resulted in lessening the importance of the nation-state as a dominant factor in war and in securing peace, and in the proliferation of non-state actors involved in both conflict and conflict resolution. There are many analogies in the contexts of war and conflict resolution between the medieval and modern periods, and this has also resulted in a resurgent interest in the history of international law over the last 15 years. Despite this, the debate on the history of international law in the Middle Ages has not moved beyond the contribution of canon law and even the best treatments of the topic tend to leave a gap from the end of the western Roman empire in the fifth century to the revival of Roman and natural law in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries – nearly 800 years. This study is intended to provide the starting point for a new discourse of how to investigate the laws, customs and institutions that guided interactions between different rulers, communities and political entities, protected the rights and status of people and their goods, and acted as deterrents to future conflict. This book then is an exploration of the place of medieval Europe in the history of international law, and a search for points of similarity and contrast with other historical periods and geographical regions.

For more information on this, and my other research, see War, Peace and Diplomacy in the Middle Ages

Early English Laws

Early English Laws is an AHRC-funded project to publish online and in print new editions and translations of all English legal codes, edicts, and treatises produced up to the time of Magna Carta 1215 and to provide each with introductions and full commentary on all aspects of the texts, language, and law. It aims to transform the way in which these improved texts can be used by scholars and will provide a comprehensive resource on early law.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • International law and medieval diplomacy
  • Early medieval legal history
  • Medieval warfare
  • Medieval Scandinavia
  • Political and cultural history of the early and high Middle Ages

Areas of expertise