Our PhD students conduct research in a wide variety of subject areas--to find out more about their work click on the tabs below.

Heidi Synnøve Djuve

Thesis title: Contextualising the Scandinavian specula principum

Research: Before coming to Aberdeen, I studied at the Institute of Languages and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. My current research focuses on a tradition of political writings meant to educate young monarchs, princes and leaders. This tradition is commonly referred to as specula principum, or mirrors for princes. The aim is to compare and contextualise the two representatives of the Scandinavian specula; Konungs Skuggsjà and Konungastyrelsen. Through a comparative examination of the texts, I intend to evaluate the interconnectivity and exchange of culture and ideas between Scandinavia and Europe during the medieval period.

Andrea Freund

Thesis title: Runic writing in the diaspora - expression of a Norse Identity?

Research: My research centres around the corpus of runic inscriptions from the Western Norse diaspora, focusing on Orkney. I am applying interdisciplinary methods from runology, linguistics and archaeology to use the material as sources for identity negotiations. I am based at the Institute for Northern Studies in Orkney and jointly supervised by UHI and the University of Aberdeen. As I am funded by an Applied Research Collaborative Studentship, I also work closely with Orkney Museum as a non-academic partner, examining and putting into context their runic collection. I've come to Orkney from Germany. Before starting the PhD, I earned a BA Viking Studies from Nottingham and an MLitt Viking Studies from UHI.

Deniz Cem Gülen

Thesis title: Sources of Knýtlinga saga

Research: Before coming to Aberdeen, I studied Political Science and Medieval European History at Bilkent University, Turkey. I came to the University of Aberdeen in 2015 to pursue my doctorate. My current research, supervised by Prof. Stefan Brink and Prof. Michael H. Gelting, investigates the sources of Knýtlinga saga. Through a comparison of primary sources, I am examining to what extent the authors of Knýtlinga saga used other sources in composing the saga. In so doing, I am exploring why they changed the narrative of Danish history so significantly.  After my PhD, I am planning to pursue an academic career, mostly focusing on the influence of other literatures on Old Norse sources.

Blake Middleton

Thesis title: An Examination of the development of the Norse Giants from their myths to the sagas, þættir and skaldic poetry in which they appear

Research: Blake comes to Aberdeen from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. He has a keen interest in early medieval Norse and Insular narrative literature. He has previously studied at Penn State University, obtaining his BA in Medieval Studies with a minor in English and at the University of Glasgow where he completed an MLitt in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, focusing on the supernatural within Icelandic sagas. He began his PhD at the Centre for Scandinavian Studies in 2013. Blake‚Äôs PhD project focuses on the Giants within Old Norse mythology, sagas, þættir and skaldic poetry.

Keith Ruiter

Thesis title: Mannjafnaðr: A study of normative pragmatism and social complexity in early medieval Scandinavia

Research: Having previously studied a BA at the University of Alberta and an MA at the University of York, I came to the University of Aberdeen in 2015 to pursue my doctorate. For my doctoral project, I am conducting interdisciplinary research on topics surrounding normative transgression and exploring the relationship between deviance and normativity in early medieval Scandinavia. The project is supervised by Dr Hannah Burrows and Professor Stefan Brink and generously supported by the University of Aberdeen's Elphinstone Scholarship scheme. More generally, my work endeavours to use interdisciplinary methodologies to contextualise and deepen understandings of normativity, social inclusion, and cultural accommodation in the past.