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Alexander Russell ~ Archive Page for Information Only

BA (Oxford), DPhil (Oxford)

Research interests

Alex Russell is a research fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. He obtained his DPhil from the University of Oxford and has been a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick and a Mellon Fellow at PIMS in Toronto. He has also held a Centenary Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research funded by the Royal Historical Society.

His research focuses on group decision-making in fifteenth-century Europe and examines the interconnectedness of collective institutions, from international assemblies of the Church to village guilds. In his forthcoming book, Conciliarism and Heresy in Fifteenth-century England, democratic practices are related to struggles over the interpretation of Christian teaching, the regulation of everyday religious practices, and the rooting out of heresy.

He is currently working on a book project entitled “Naturalising Reluctance in Late Medieval Europe”. It asks how Europeans came to see sociability as contrary to human nature and sustainable only with the threat of violence. The project will show how psychological theories in the middle ages were used to uphold systems of discipline. Questions over free will were crucial in legal cases concerning marriages or debt contracts where one party claimed to have been coerced into making an agreement. The book project will explore the rise of the contract as a mediator of social relationships and will explain its psychological and moral underpinnings.

While at Warwick, I have taught undergraduate modules on medieval history and have co-ordinated the STVDIO seminar. I have also taught various courses on late medieval and early modern history at Oxford. In 2015 I organised two conferences: one at the Warburg Institute on Ideas and Society and another at Queen Mary in London to mark the sixth centenary of the opening of the Council of Constance.


Books (forthcoming)

Conciliarism and Heresy in Fifteenth-century England (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Articles and book chapters

‘Voting at the Council of Constance’ forthcoming in S. Ferente, M. Pattenden and L. Kuncevic (eds.), Cultures of Voting in Pre-Modern Europe (Routledge, forthcoming).

‘Popular authority in conciliar and canonistic thought: the case of elections’, Revue de l’histoire des religions, 231 (2014), 313–40.

‘The Colloquy of Poissy, François Baudouin and English Protestant Identity, 1561–1563’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 65 (2014), 551–79.

‘Conciliarism and Heresy in England’ in V. Gillespie and K. Ghosh. (eds.), After Arundel: Religious Writing in Fifteenth-Century England (Turnhout, 2012), 155–65.