Liam McLeod

Liam McLeod

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Rebuilding Jerusalem: Receiving Ideas of the Holy City in the Early Medieval West 
SupervisorDr William Purkis and Dr Daniel Reynolds
PhD History


I graduated from the MA Medieval Studies programme at the University of Birmingham in 2017, having previously received a First-class BA (Hons) degree from the same institution in Ancient and Medieval History. My MA was jointly funded by the UK Government and the University of Birmingham: I received both the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Birmingham MA Scholarship. My PhD is currently funded through the Birmingham Doctoral Scholarship Fund.


  • PGTA for CAL’s Academic Writing Advisory Service


My research examines the West’s reception of Jerusalem, both heavenly and terrestrial, in the centuries immediately before the crusades. I focus primarily on source material from the Carolingian Empire, including liturgy, pilgrim accounts and architectural simulacra (copies) of the Holy Sepulchre. The aim of the project is to synthesise an impression of how the Franks received ideas of the Holy City at a time when it was controlled by the Abbasid Caliphate.

I am currently working on Huegeburc of Heidenheim’s Vita Willibaldi. The Vita is an eighth-century pilgrim account of Willibald of Eichstätt journey to Jerusalem. I focus on the text as a work of literature, constructed to evoke religious and political narratives idiosyncratic to eighth-century Bavaria. 

My other research interests include:
Sacred space, the medieval cult of relics, medieval pilgrimage, medievalism and reception studies, history as literature, historical sexuality, gender studies, video games as cultural/historical objects/teaching tools

Other activities

Conference presentations

  • ‘Playing the Middle Ages: Subverting the Valiant Crusader: The Sarafan in the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Series’ at International Medieval Congress, Leeds, UK, July 2019.
  • ‘“Whether within Jerusalem or without”: Exploring receptions of Jerusalem in Amalar of Metz’s Liber Officialis’ at EMREM Forum, Birmingham, UK, April 2019.
  • ‘From Religion to Politics to Superstition: “The Mighty Shaft” of Istanbul’ at Tea with the Sphinx, Birmingham, UK, June 2018.

Conferences organised

  • Meaning, Memory, and Movement Meaning, Memory, and Movement launched in 2019 as a cross-temporal, interdisciplinary conference for ECRs and PGRs. The conference looks to cross the conventional boundaries of historical disciplines by bringing together scholars of both the ancient and medieval periods. The CfP for the 2019 conference closes on the 16 August, 2019.
  • Tea with the Sphinx – TwtS is an international conference which looks to address issues surrounding the reception of Ancient Egypt. A selection of papers from this conference is due to be published in a 2019 special issue of the Journal of History and Cultures. The fourth TwtS conference is expected to be held in summer 2020.

Research networks

  • VALUE Foundation – Academic network based in the Netherlands (Leiden), which looks to explore the use of video games and digital technology as both methods for historical research and objects of historical culture.
  • Reception of Ancient Egypt Research & Scholarship Network – Academic network for the study and research of receptions of ancient Egypt in modern times. The network was the product of the Tea with the Sphinx conferences and works at the intersection of various disciplines including history, literature studies, archaeology, and Egyptology.


Larger awards:

  • AHRC Cohort Development Fund (Co-applicant): £3829 (2019).
  • Birmingham Doctoral Scholarship Fund, University of Birmingham: £18,000 (2018).
  • Birmingham MA Scholarship, UK Government (via UoBirmingham): £10,000 (2015).
  • Birmingham Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Birmingham: £2000 (2015).

Smaller awards:

  • Postgraduate Research Development Fund: £250 (2019).


  • PASS Coordinator for the College of Arts and Law (2015-2016).


Edited journals

  • The Reception of Ancient Egypt: Interdisciplinary Readings of Egypt’s Myth and Magic, ed. S. Brio and L. McLeod, special issue of The Journal of History and Cultures, 9.1 (2019).