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Ryan T. Goodman

Thesis: Kingship, Morality, and Masculinity: The Creation of Royal Identities in Later Anglo-Saxon England, c. 871-1016.

This dissertation will attempt to investigate the creation of ideals of kingship in later Anglo-Saxon England, from around the time of Alfred the Great to the beginning of the reign of Cnut. Primary sources ranging from Christian homilies to heroic poetry to so-called “mirrors for princes” all struggled to define what it meant to be a good or true king, and kings had to personally embody (or reshape) these ideals in their own reigns. Notions of piety and justice competed with ideas about bravery and strength in battle. This thesis will further consider how early medieval conceptions of masculinity are related to these same topics. In general, it will ask: Are the things that make a man manly the same things that make a king kingly?


Expected submission date

  • 2018

Funding award

  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures Graduate Scholarship

Research interests

The Early Middle Ages; Anglo-Saxon England; Vikings; Masculinities; Identity; Power; Justice and Kingship.

Conference presentations

2012: "'Reges ex Virtute Sumunt:' Kingship, Military Power, and the Creation of the Anglo-Saxon State, c. 400-900," The 2012 Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society Regional Convention – Carolina Region; Queens University of Charlotte.

2012: "Charisma, Ritual, and Kingship: The Role of Ideological Power in the Formation of an Anglo-Saxon State," Graduate History Conference on Power and Struggle; University of Alabama.

2012: "Grave Goods and Buried Hoards as Sources of Anglo-Saxon Royal Power: Military, Economic, and Ideological," Society for Historical Archaeology 2012 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Baltimore, MD (4-8 January).

Teaching experience

2012-2015: Teaching Instructor and Academic Coordinator – Italy Intensives Program, East Carolina University (Certaldo Alto, Tuscany).

Additional information

Originally from rural North Carolina, USA, I earned my BA in History and Medieval & Renaissance Studies (2008) and my MA in European History (2012) from East Carolina University. My MA thesis, under the direction of Professor Michael Enright, was entitled “The Role of Royal Power in the Formation of an Anglo-Saxon State, c. 400-900 AD.”

After finishing my MA, I was appointed Teaching Instructor and Academic Coordinator for ECU’s Italy Intensives study abroad program based in Certaldo, Tuscany, and I spent three years living in Italy, teaching history, guiding tours to historic sites and museums, and generally helping run the program.

Outside of academia, I’m interested in cooking, board games and other historical games, and fantasy literature (from pulp to contemporary). I’m also an avid musician and play guitar and banjo in bluegrass, country, and folk music.

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