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Staff Profile

Dr Elizabeth Goodwin

Lecturer in Late Medieval and Early Modern History

I completed my AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2015, with Professor Martial Staub, having previously studied there for my MA in Historical Research and my BA, where I focused on late medieval cultural and religious history.

My thesis explored continuities and changes to communities of English nuns before and after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in sixteenth-century England, looking at how their communities were constructed with and without institutional walls, in their home country and in exile.

My current research explores the role that emotions have in forming communities of European nuns, the exiled experience of nuns in England in the 1580s, and religious communities and their material and visual cultures, particularly in sixteenth-century Yorkshire.

I have taught at the University of Sheffield, University of Birmingham, University of Loughborough, and with the Worker’s Educational Association from 2014, before joining York St John University as a Lecturer in August 2018.


I currently teach on the Researching and Presenting the Past and Empires first-year undergraduate modules and am part of the lecturing team on the Making of Britain course. I co-convene the Research Skills MA module.


My research interests are primarily focused in religious history, and in particular female spirituality, late medieval and early modern religious practice and expression, and the women religious' experiences of the Dissolution and Reformation. Material and visual culture, emotions, gender, exile and migrancy, and periodisation of the late medieval and early modern period, also feature heavily in my work.

I am also interested in researching pedagogy, teaching practices and the student experience in the Humanities in Higher Education, particularly communities of practice, transitions from further to higher education, innovation in assessment, casualisation, and students as researchers.

I am interested in supervising students interested in aspects of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century religious, cultural and gendered history.


I am currently working on articles and book chapters for Renaissance Studies Journal, White Rose University Press, History Teacher Journal, and Northern History Journal.

I am also preparing a monograph entitled Communities of English Women Religious: Changes, Continuities and Cultures in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, based on my PhD research.

My collection of blogs and online publications can be found in the links below:



Concepts of Community, at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield – postgraduate and early career, interdisciplinary two-day conference, 21st and 22nd March 2016, with Laura Alston. Speakers included panellists from English, History, Music and Archaeology departments, from The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and University College London.

Gendered Emotions, at the University of Sheffield – history conference across all time periods, 29th June 2018. Focused on gendering of emotions in cultural and social contexts, looking at textual, visual and material culture and featuring key note speakers from Berlin and Queen Mary, London.

Selected academic papers

‘Migrancy and Agency for English Women Religious’, Society for Renaissance Studies, University of Sheffield, July 2018

‘Nuns on the Move: Agency of Early Modern Nuns as Migrants’ with Bevin Butler, Volker Schier and Corinne Schleif, Attending to Early Modern Women 2018, University of Milwaukee, June 2018

‘Methodology through Practice - Teaching Historiography through Primary Source Analysis’ Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Loughborough, June 2018

‘‘God in heaven could have been moved’: Caritas Pirckheimer, Pathos and Emotional Defence against the Reformation’ Powerful Emotions / Emotions and Power, c. 400-1850, The University of York, June 2017.

‘Humanism, Pathos and Literary Inspiration in Caritas Pirckheimer’s Journal of the Reformation Years’ Women’s Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon international conference, The University of Bergen, June 2017.

‘A Scramble for Monastic Land? Communal Negotiation of Yorkshire Cistercian Convents at the Dissolution of the Monasteries’ at the Reformation Studies Colloquium, Newcastle University, September 2016.

‘The Letters of Elizabeth Cressener to Thomas Cromwell: Communal Negotiation of a Pre-Dissolution English Convent,’ at the International Medieval Congress, The University of Leeds, July 2016.

‘Textual Negotiation and Resistance of Female Religious Communities Facing Reformation’, at Women’s Responses to the Reformation, The University of Oxford, June 2016.

Keynote – ‘Words, Emotion and Female Familial Authority in Caritas Pirckheimer’s Journal of the Reformation Years 1524-1528’ Postgraduate Colloquium, The University of Sheffield, May 2016.

‘Compassionate Imagery, Agency and Materiality’ at Gender, Materiality and Agency in the Early Modern World Conference, The University of Plymouth, April 2016.

Panel: ‘Images and Identity – visual culture of Yorkshire nuns’ and roundtable: ‘Nuns history and methodologies – problems of periodization in England’ at the International Medieval Congress, The University of Leeds, July 2015.

‘Communities after the Dissolution: Nuns in Exile and Apart’, Syon Abbey at 600, London, November 2014.

‘Textual Communities of Dartford Nuns’, Histories of Women Religious in Britain and Ireland, The University of Glasgow, August 2014.

‘Contemplative Devotion through Late Medieval Texts (with Clark Drieshen)’ Monastic and Mendicant Workshop, The University of Leeds, in collaboration with White Rose Network, April 2014

‘Syon Abbey’s Communal Resistance to Sixteenth-Century Reform’, Arguing the Establishment: Obedience and Resistance since 1450, The University of Durham, May 2013.

Selected public engagement papers presented

‘Reforming Women: Feminist Studies of Religious Change’ SheFest, Sheffield, March 2018.

‘Medieval Tinsley: Then and Now’, Medieval Cabaret, Festival of the Arts and Humanities Showcase, May 2017.

‘Brexit and Emotions: The European Connection’ for Sheffield Museums ‘Protest Lab’ workshops, May 2017.

‘Tinsley Court Rolls: The Tickhill Connection’, Tinsley Court Rolls Project, Tickhill History Group, Rotherham, September 2015.

‘Endings and Beginnings: Communities of Nuns after the Dissolution of the Monasteries’, Mobile University, University of Sheffield, September 2015.

‘What are Tinsley’s Court Rolls?’ Tinsley Court Rolls Project, hosted at Sheffield Library, April 2015.

Professional activities

  • Member of the Royal Historical Society
  • Holland Library Fellow at the University of Durham (awarded July 2018, to be undertaken Summer 2019)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (July 2018)
  • Honorary Research Fellow, University of Sheffield (July 2018)
  • Nominated for Outstanding Teaching Award at the Annual Academic Awards, University of Sheffield (April 2018)
  • Winner of the Bramley Award, Yorkshire History Prize, Yorkshire Society (December 2017)
  • Arts Enterprise Fellow – Researcher into Medieval South Yorkshire Churches (August, 2017)
  • Arts Enterprise Fellow – Researcher into the Tinsley Court Rolls (August, 2016)
  • Prof. David Luscombe Award for Medieval History (June 2011)

Public engagement

I have long been involved in and passionate about various forms of public engagement. I was a research assistant, public lecturer and events facilitator on both the ‘Unravelling the Tinsley Court Rolls’ and the ‘Tinsley Time and Travel’ projects, exploring pre-modern histories of South Yorkshire, beginning in 2014. This involved writing public blog posts, giving talks across South Yorkshire, presenting findings on the radio and delivering school sessions in local classrooms.

From 2016 onwards, I have disseminated my research in numerous public-facing ways. I participated in the Festival of the Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield by presenting my research visually and in story form, as well as curating an exhibition based on my research: 'Guns and Roses: A Visual History of Women Religious in Popular Culture.'

Presenting my work in a public way has been another key area of my career. I have contributed papers to events like Medieval Yorkshire Cabaret, to ‘SheFest’, the International Women’s Festival, and with the ‘Mobile University’ as part of the Festival of the Mind. Building from participation in the BBC 3/AHRC Free New Generation Thinkers workshop in 2016, I contributed to a BBC 3 Free Thinking radio program on New Research into the Reformation, aired in April 2017.

From my undergraduate degree, I have also built up wide experience within the heritage sector, working with, curating for and volunteering at the Traditional Heritage Museum, Millennium Galleries, Western Park Museum, the Ruskin Pop-Up Museum, and Manor Lodge (all Sheffield).