Steve Watts

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Thesis Title: 'From the University to the Convent: Perceptions of Female Religious Life in the Letters of Master Jordan of Saxony'

Professor Frances Andrews

Originally from Melbourne, Australia––by way of Vancouver, Canada––I came to St Andrews holding a BA in English Literature and the Humanities (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC) and an MCS in Interdisciplinary Studies (Regent College, Vancouver, BC).  I completed my Mlitt in Mediaeval Studies at St Andrews in 2012 and am currently in the second year of my PhD. 

My research focuses on the letters of Jordan of Saxony (d. 1237), second General Master of the Dominican order, to Diana d'Andalò (d. 1236) and her religious community at S. Agnese, in Bologna.  The collection provides a remarkable insight into not only Jordan and Diana's daily lives and their deepening friendship but also Jordan's perception of the role of women in the Dominican order.  Of particular note is the way in which the letters function to incorporate the sisters during a period when the pastoral care of religious women was a subject of great controversy.  My study also endeavors to produce a coherent chronological reconstruction of the letters.

More broadly I am interested in religious belief and its various cultural manifestations in the Medieval Latin West.



Academic Papers

'A mere rustle of leaves': Developments in Dominican political authority and the question of S. Agnese during the generalate of Master Jordan of Saxony (d. 1237), Institute of Mediaeval Studies Postgraduate Seminar (St Andrews, 15 November 2013).

(forthcoming) 'The Perilous Way': Mission and its attendant anxieties in the letters of Jordan of Saxony (d. 1237) to Diana d'Andalò (d. 1236) and the nuns of S. Agnese in Bologna, ASCH-EHS Conference (Oxford, 3-5 April 2014).

(forthcoming) Demons and Doubt: The peculiar account of Brother Bernard's demonic possession in Jordan of Saxony's Libellus, EHS Conference (Sheffield, 22-24 July 2014).


Teaching Assistant for Christian Thought and Culture I, Autumn 2008 (Regent College)
Teaching Assistant for Christian Thought and Culture II, Winter 2009 (Regent College)
Teaching Assistant for Biblical Exegesis, Winter 2010 (Regent College)
Teaching Assistant for Biblical Exegesis, Autumn 2010 (Regent College)
Tutor for ME2003: Europe in the High Middle Ages, Autumn 2013 (St Andrews)