Religious heritage and monetization: the problem of simony in medieval Italy, c. 1050–1130
James Norrie is a historian of early medieval Italy and the Mediterranean. His interests lie especially in how urban change remakes both material worlds and religion, stories he follows in trying to understand the transformation of the post-Roman world and the growth of citied societies in the eleventh century. His doctorate, completed at the University of Oxford in 2017, studied how the growth of Milan in the long eleventh century transformed social landscapes and exchange, sparking religious revolt on a scale then unprecedented in medieval Europe. He is now finishing a book under the title Urban Change and Radical Religion: Medieval Milan, c.990-1140, to be published with Oxford University Press.
Following studies at Oxford and University College London, Norrie has taught at Oxford and held doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships in London, at the British School at Rome, and at the University of Padua, with support from bodies including the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), and the Wolfson Foundation. He has also written on the comparative history of urban ritual and processions, debt, and on the risks of city life in the long period from the end of the Roman empire to the twelfth century. At the Italian Academy he will work on why monetisation provoked unprecedented anxieties about the legitimacy of religious authority in eleventh-century Italy, remaking the imagined network of relations between humans, things, and divinity.