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Research

Christiania Whitehead’s first book, Castles of the Mind: a Study of Medieval Architectural Allegory (2003), examined the symbolic use of buildings to represent and order doctrines, ideologies, social communities, and the psychological faculties, in religious and secular texts from antiquity until the end of the Middle Ages. She then undertook a large scale editorial project, with researchers from the Universities of Lausanne and Oxford, on the 13th-century devotional treatise De Doctrina cordis (possibly by Gerard of Liège) addressed to enclosed religious, and its 15th-century Middle English translation, The Doctrine of the Hert, adapted for a specifically female audience. Circulating throughout Europe through the Middle Ages, the Doctrina was translated into six vernaculars. The Doctrine of the Hert: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary (2010) makes the Middle English translation available to a wide audience for the first time, while A Companion to the Doctrine of the Hert (2010), is an accompanying collection of essays, examining the text in relation to its Latin original and other vernacular translations.

Alongside these major projects, Christiania Whitehead has also written substantial essays on the Middle English religious lyric, on the Middle English mystics, on Julian of Norwich in modern spirituality, and on the Meditationes of the 14th-century Monk of Farne. This last subject has fed into her ongoing research project: a booklength study of the textual tradition of the cult of St Cuthbert (north eastern England) from the 8th -15th centuries, with particular reference to the ascetic elements in this tradition, especially the Vita of St Bartholomew of Farne, and the Meditationes of the Monk of Farne.

Alongside research, Christiania Whitehead has also been active in conference organisation. She co-organised the international Medieval Translator conference in Lausanne in 2007, she co-organises an ongoing series of annual doctoral research workshops (RDMES) bringing together medieval researchers from the Universities of Padua, Pazmany Peter, Budapest, Lausanne and Warwick, and she is also currently co-organising a major conference on North Of England Saints 600-1500, to be held at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, in March 2015.