Edgbaston campus
Opening slide containing title and image of a statue

Over the past fifty years scholarly understanding of The Crusades has changed dramatically, especially in terms of where, when and why medieval Latin Christians “took the cross” to engage in acts of devotional violence. Yet in spite of these significant historiographical developments, grand narratives of the crusading past – especially those that are presented to wider audiences or feature in educational curricula – often rely on frameworks and paradigms that were first formulated centuries ago and should now be regarded as more limiting than helpful.

In his inaugural lecture, William argues that some of the most familiar aspects of the narrative and conceptual scaffolding for histories of The Crusades – including the idea of “The Crusades” itself – might fruitfully be dismantled and set aside, to clear the ground for a fresh and more holistic understanding of an innovative medieval devotional practice that might simply be called “crossing”.