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Staff Profile

Professor. John Thompson - Queen's University Belfast Research Portal - Research Directory & Institutional Repository for QUB
John Thompson

Direct phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3781

For media contact email
or call +44(0)2890 973091.


Chair of English textual Cultures; Director, Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities.

Research interests include early book history and the history of printing and publishing; English literary production and reception, c. 1300-1600; anglophone Ireland, c. 1300-1800; textual editing and textual afterlives


For appointment, please contact the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities Office. Tel: +44 (0)2890 97 2524


Research Statement

  • Much of my most recent recent research activity has been collaborative, inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary in nature since I believe in the challenges and possibilities of research cross-fertilization. I have no difficulty in justifying my current research role as a twenty-first century medievalist in Belfast where our new Institute supports a strong team of similarly-minded colleagues and students who need little or no persuading of the cultural importance of re-membering the past, working comparatively and collaboratively, and learning how to understand where we come from with appropriate humanity and humility. Through the Institute at Queen's, we will always welcome academic and other vistors who share some or all of these interests and goals and who want to learn more about the nature and impact of our latest research and projects in collaborative Humanities.

I was Director of the 'Geographies of Orthodoxy' AHRC Research Project (42 months; with colleagues from QUB and University of St Andrews)

I have also been Director of the 'Imagining History' AHRB Research project (3 years; with colleagues from QUB)

Building on the success of both projects I am now an editorial board member of the JISC-funded project:  'Manuscripts Online: Written Culture 1000-1500' (

I am Vice Chair of a recently-awarded COST Action; ISCH COST Action IS1301.

New Communities of Interpretation: Contexts, Strategies and Processes of Religious Transformation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.

This Action aims to coordinate research activities being currently developed at several European universities and research institutes and create a (virtual) centre of expertise for the study of religious culture in late medieval and early modern Europe, a period traditionally depicted as one of great cultural discontinuity and binary oppositions between learned (Latin) and unlearned (vernacular) and ecclesiastical hierarchy and the lay believers. Challenging stereotypical descriptions of exclusion of lay and non-Latinate people from religious and cultural life the project will concentrate on the reconstruction of the process of emancipation of the laity and the creation of new "communities of interpretations". The Action will therefore analyze patterns of social inclusion and exclusion and examine shifts in hierarchic relations amongst groups, individuals and their languages, casting new yet profoundly historical light on themes of seminal relevance to present-days societies.

I am an enthusiastic co-director of the 'Quadrivium' initiative that brings together senior and junior colleagues across a number of UK institutions and disciplines with the express intention of supporting postgraduate and postdoctoral research and training in medieval and early modern English textual cultures. 'Quadrivium' was originally funded by the AHRB Doctoral Training Scheme (3 years with colleagues from QUB, Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow (host), York, and Queen Mary, University of London).  For further details see



Medieval literature

Codicology and book history

History of editing, publishing and reception

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Frequent Journals

  • English Studies

    ISSNs: 0013-838X

    ISSNs (Electronic): 1744-4217


  • Surface Science

    ISSNs: 0039-6028, 00396028

    ISSNs (Electronic): 0039-6028


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