Dr Hannah Burrows
Dr Hannah Burrows

Dr Hannah Burrows

BA (Hons), MA, PhD (York), FRHistS

Senior Lecturer

Accepting PhDs

About

Biography

My main research interests are in the medieval North, particularly Old Norse-Icelandic literature, language, culture, and society. I studied for a BA (Hons) in English and Linguistics at the University of York, where the city's visible layers of history, Norse-influenced street names, and the opportunity to study unusual things (Old English and Old Norse, among others) all contributed to me falling in love with medieval languages, literatures and cultures. I stayed on for an MA in Medieval Studies, followed by a PhD examining literary-legal relations in early Iceland. I was finally persuaded away from the charms of northern England for a postdoctoral position in sunny Sydney, where I worked on the international research project Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages (2007-12). On my return to the UK I started inching north, with a stint as a Junior Research Fellow at Durham University, before coming to Aberdeen as Lecturer in Scandinavian Studies in September 2014. Since then I have spent time as an ERASMUS Visiting Scholar in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Vienna, and am currently Senior Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Scandinavian Studies.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Director, Centre for Scandinavian Studies
Undergraduate Programme Co-ordinator, History
Programme Director, MLitt in Viking and Medieval Nordic Studies
Academic Advisor, Apardjón Journal for Scandinavian Studies

Nominated for an Excellence in Leadership award 2019.

External Memberships

Editorial Board Member, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (2021-)
Honorary Secretary, Viking Society for Northern Research (2019-)
Bibliography Editor, Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages (2007-)
Steering Group Member, History UK (2016-19)

Latest Publications

  • Riddles and Kennings

    Burrows, H. M.
    European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 46-68
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Expertise and Experience: Nuancing Terms for Legal Practitioners in the Íslendingasögur

    Burrows, H. M.
    Law | Book | Culture in the Middle Ages. Gobbitt, T. (ed.). Brill, pp. 296-316, 21 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Showered with Praise: Weatherscapes in Late Tenth-century Skaldic Verse

    Burrows, H. M.
    Medieval Ecocriticisms, vol. 1, no. 1, 6
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Court Poetry: Assemblies and Skaldic Verse

    Burrows, H.
    Narrating Law and Laws of Narration in Medieval Scandinavia. Scheel, R. (ed.). Walter de Gruyter, pp. 91-116, 26 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • No Sense of Humour?: Humour Words in Old Norse

    Burrows, H.
    The Palgrave Handbook of Humour, History and Methodology. Derrin, D., Burrows, H. (eds.). 1st edition. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 43-70, 28 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

View My Publications

Research

Research Overview

My main research interests are in the medieval North, particularly Old Norse-Icelandic literature, language, culture, and society. During 2017-19 I held an AHRC Leadership Fellowship for a project entitled What Am I?, which examines the language used in Old Norse poetry to express ideas about the natural world and humanity's relationship with it. I am increasingly interested in theoretical and critical approaches from the cognitive and environmental humanities, and their applicability to Old Norse and medieval literature.

My PhD thesis investigated literary-legal relations in medieval Iceland, and I continue to be interested in legal culture. I've researched and published on the use of legal terminology and court scenes in sagas; lawspeakers and lawyers; the impact of literacy on legal knowledge; and the use of poetry in various legal contexts.

Having edited the poetry from Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks for the skaldic project, I became especially interested in the saga's collection of riddles, the world views they represent, and the traditions they play with, which has allowed me to think and write about Old Norse mythology, representations of the natural world, poetic traditions, humour and play, Old Norse bird puns, and lots of other fun and interesting things besides (many of which feed into my current project). I am also interested in the semantics of humour and laughter in Old Norse, jokes about women, and the genderedness of laughter in medieval Scandinavia, and have published on the translation and adaptation of Old Norse texts.

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Scandinavian Studies.


Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me

Scandinavian Studies

Supervising
Accepting PhDs

Current Research

I am currently working on emotion in medieval Nordic law.

Knowledge Exchange

Collaborations

I am Principal Investigator, with Daniel Derrin (Durham), of the Humours of the Past (HOP) Network. Follow us on Twitter @historichumour

I am Bibliography Editor for the Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages project.

Supervision

My current supervision areas are: Scandinavian Studies.

I am lead supervisor for the following PhD researchers:

Jennifer Hemphill, 'Weather Magic in Medieval Scandinavia'
Neal Locke, 'Personal Transformation in Medieval Scandinavian Literature: Three Case Studies'

Second supervisor for:

Hamza Aziz, 'The Study of the Seven Sins: Distortion of Behaviour and Excessive Emotions'
Ingrid Hegland, 'An Interdisciplinary Reassessment of the Causes of the Viking Age'
Phil Knight, 'The exempla of AM 657 a-b, 4o: A Digital Edition and Critical Analysis'
Cattlyn Obel, 'The West Semitic Origins of Thor’s Combat with Jormungandr'

External second supervisor for:

Peter Randall (UHI) 'The Þing in the King's Sagas' (with Prof. Alexandra Sanmark and Dr Alex Woolf)

Completed PhD students:

Dr Stefan Drechsler, ‘Making Manuscripts at Helgafell in the Fourteenth Century’ (2017)
Dr Keith Ruiter, ‘Mannjafnaðr: A Study of Normativity, Transgression, and Social Pragmatism in Medieval Scandinavia’ (2018)
Dr Claire Organ, ‘Colour in the Eddic Mythological Poems’ (2019)
Dr Solveig Marie Wang, 'Decolonizing Medieval Fennoscandia: A Study of Norse-Saami Relations in the Medieval Period' (2021)
Dr Pam Corray, 'Looking Through a Modern Lens at Children and Childhood in the Old Icelandic Sagas' (2022)
Dr Caroline Wilhelmsson, 'Swedish Identity, c.800-c.1288' (2022)

I would be happy to hear from students wishing to undertake doctoral research in any area of Old Norse-Icelandic literature, culture and history.

Funding and Grants

2017-19: What Am I? Riddles, Riddling Language and World View in Old Norse Poetry - AHRC Leadership Fellows Scheme

2017: The Saga of the Conspirators. Impact, Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation award, University of Aberdeen

2016-17: Humours of the Past - AHRC Research Networking Scheme (with Daniel Derrin)

2016: Censured and Censuring: Humour, Laughter and Identity in (early) Scandinavian Society - Royal Society of Edinburgh Small Grants Scheme

2015: Humours of the Past - Principal's Interdisciplinary Fund, University of Aberdeen

Teaching

Programmes

Teaching Responsibilities

In addition to the courses above, which I coordinate, in 2022-23 I am involved with the following courses:

HI5594 Research Preparation in Historical Studies
Undergraduate and MLitt dissertation supervision.

I was nominated for an Excellence in Postgraduate Teaching Award in 2015 and 2017.

Publications

Page 1 of 2 Results 1 to 10 of 19

  • Riddles and Kennings

    Burrows, H. M.
    European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 46-68
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Expertise and Experience: Nuancing Terms for Legal Practitioners in the Íslendingasögur

    Burrows, H. M.
    Law | Book | Culture in the Middle Ages. Gobbitt, T. (ed.). Brill, pp. 296-316, 21 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Showered with Praise: Weatherscapes in Late Tenth-century Skaldic Verse

    Burrows, H. M.
    Medieval Ecocriticisms, vol. 1, no. 1, 6
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Court Poetry: Assemblies and Skaldic Verse

    Burrows, H.
    Narrating Law and Laws of Narration in Medieval Scandinavia. Scheel, R. (ed.). Walter de Gruyter, pp. 91-116, 26 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • No Sense of Humour?: Humour Words in Old Norse

    Burrows, H.
    The Palgrave Handbook of Humour, History and Methodology. Derrin, D., Burrows, H. (eds.). 1st edition. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 43-70, 28 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • The Palgrave Handbook of Humour, History, and Methodology

    Derrin, D. (ed.), Burrows, H. (ed.)
    Palgrave Macmillan. 526 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Kenning the Land: New Writing from the Scottish Isles Inspired by Viking and Old Norse Poetry

    Burrows, H. (ed.)
    Centre for Scandinavian Studies, University of Aberdeen. 44 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • The Mead of Poetry: Old Norse Poetry as a Mind-Altering Substance

    Burrows, H. M.
    Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Culture. Anderson, M., Wheeler, M. (eds.). Edinburgh University Press, pp. 99-119, 21 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks

    Burrows, H.
    Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Clunies Ross, M. (ed.). Brepols, pp. 367-487, 121 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Anonymous gátur

    Burrows, H. M.
    Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Gade, K. E., Marold, E. (eds.). Brepols, pp. 631-635, 5 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
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