Dr Jan Vandeburie

Lecturer in Later Medieval Mediterranean History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2808



After completing a BA in History and International Politics and an MA in Medieval History at the University of Leuven in Belgium, I went on to complete a second MA, this time in Medieval Studies, at the University of Leeds, graduating in 2010.

During my Ph.D. at the University of Kent, working on Jacques de Vitry’s Historia Orientalis, I worked with manuscript collections in archives throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the US, with extended research visits in Paris, Madrid, Rome, Florence, and Jerusalem. I was a visiting scholar at the Instituto de Filosofia of the University of Porto and was awarded the Heckman research fellowship at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (Minnesota) where I worked with their digital collections of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern manuscripts.

In 2015, I was the Brill Postdoctoral Fellow at the Warburg Institute’s Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe. In 2016 and 2017, I was funded by the Leverhulme Trust to undertake research in the Vatican Library in Rome where I was affiliated with the Università degli Studi Roma Tre as Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2018, I was awarded the Nicky B. Carpenter Fellowship in Manuscript Studies at the Hill Manuscript Museum & Library, Minnesota, US.

After having held teaching positions at the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, Cambridge Muslim College, and Royal Holloway, University of London, I joined the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics, and International Relations in December 2017 and teach on a range of modules, see the Teaching tab.


Although my research is often interdisciplinary, I consider myself a historian of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with an emphasis on cultural and religious interaction in the medieval Mediterranean, in particular the exchange of knowledge, the activities of the Latin Church in the Eastern Mediterranean, crusading, preaching, pilgrimage, and travel writing. Recent research and publications have focused on the life and writings of Jacques de Vitry, on shared sacred space in the Latin East, and on knowledge about the East and Islam among the Parisian scholars of the early thirteenth century.

The subject of my Ph.D. was a study of the content, manuscripts, and impact of Jacques de Vitry’s Historia Orientalis, a thirteenth-century treatise on the Holy Land and its history, Islam, and Eastern Christianity. I am working on a monograph on the Historia Orientalis and a biography of Jacques de Vitry.

My project at the Warburg Institute, ‘Sacred Space Shared between Christians and Muslims at the Time of the Crusades (1096-1291). Western Accounts and Perceptions’ as well as my project in Rome, ‘The University and the Curia. The Manuscripts of the Paris Masters at the Papal Court (1198-1227)’, continue to be intermingled strands of my research.

I was the co-lead for the Leicester Institute for Advance Studies 'Tiger Team' (with Dr Svenja Bethke): 'A Scientific Approach to Dress Material Culture and Identity' (SADMaCI) (September 2018-March 2019)

I am currently a visiting fellow at St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge, where I continue to work on shared sacred space.




Edited with Liz Mylod, Guy Perry and Thomas W. Smith, The Fifth Crusade in Context. The Crusading Movement in the Early thirteenth Century, Crusades - Subsidia (Routledge, 2016) (240p.).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Editor, Shared Sacred Space in the Eastern Mediterranean, Special Issue Al-Masāq, Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean (Forthcoming 2022).

'Dress to Impress - Jacques de Vitry and the Power of the Episcopal Office', in Power Manifest: Structures and Concepts of Ecclesiastical Authority in the High Middle Ages, ed. by T. Smith and M. Ross (Brepols, 2020), pp. 233-252.

”A Dragon With Nine Heads”: The Changing Reputation of Crusader Acre, c. 1191-c. 1291’, in Cultures and Practices of Coexistence from the Thirteenth through the Seventeenth Centuries, ed. by Marco Folin and Antonio Musarra (New York, 2020).

‘Latins and Levantine Christian Minorities after the Fourth Lateran Council’, in Minorities in Contact, ed. by C. Almagro and J. Tearney-Pearce (Brepols, 2019).

‘Dominus Papa volens scire - Echoes of the Fourth Lateran Council's Crusade and Mission Agenda in Thirteenth-Century Manuscripts’, in The Fourth Lateran Council and the Crusade Movement, ed. by J. Bird and D. Smith (Brepols, 2018), pp. 299-320.

'Maugre li Polein – European migration to the Latin East and the Construction of an Oriental Identity during the Crusades', in Migration and Migrant Identities in the Near East from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, ed. By C. Barron, J. Yoo and A. Zerbini (Routledge, 2018), pp. 244-261.

'The Preacher and the Pope. Jacques de Vitry and Honorius III', in The Papacy, Religious Life, and the Crusade in the Early Thirteenth Century, ed. by J. Bird, A. Duggan, B. Bolton and D. Smith (Amsterdam University Press, 2018), pp. 131-154.

'Consenescentis mundi die vergente ad vesperam – Eschatological Rhetoric after the Fourth Lateran Council', in The Use of the Bible in Crusader Sources, ed. by E. Lapina and N. Morton (Brill, 2017), pp. 342-358. '

"Sancte fidei omnino deiciar" - Ugolino dei Conti di Segni's Doubts and Jacques de Vitry's Intervention', Studies in Church History, 52 (2015), Cambridge University Press for the Ecclesiastical History Society, pp. 87-101.



Cultural interaction between the medieval European West and the Muslim/Eastern Christian world from c.1100-c.1350, religious conflict (crusades), pilgrimage and mission, ethnography and travel writing, the Mongols.

The papacy, Church reform and theology, popular religion, heresy, religious propaganda (preaching and sermon studies) in Italy, France, and the Low Countries from c.1100-c.1350.

Manuscript studies, textual traditions and transmission of knowledge, medieval languages, medieval universities.


My teaching focuses on Europe and the Mediterranean in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in particular on cross-cultural interaction, the crusades, and pilgrimage and travel.

I am teaching on the following modules:

  • HS1000 Making History
  • HS1001 Barbarism and Civilisation: Medieval and Early Modern Europe
  • HS1100 People and Places: Sultan Saladin: From the Crusades to Saddam’s Iraq
  • HS2027 The Latin World
  • HS2401 Perceiving the Past
  • HS2500 The Historian’s Craft
  • HS3763 Special Subject: A sea of Conflict? Christian-Muslim Encounters in the Eastern Mediterranean (c.1050-c.1350)
  • HS7005 Historical Statistics (MA)
  • HS7022 Mastering Medieval Sources - Palaeography (MA)

Press and media

‘The Crusades: An Arab Perspective (2016)’, 4-part television documentary of the Al-Jazeera Worldwide Media Network.

Selected Talks and Conference Papers

Not Like a ‘Monkey on the Roof’ - Jacques de Vitry’s Reform Efforts in the Diocese of Liège (c. 1226-29) (International Medieval Congress, 3-6 July 2017, Leeds).

A 'Scabby Goat'? Theology Students Between the University and the City - Paris c. 1200 (International Congress on Medieval Studies, 11-14 May 2017, Kalamazoo).

The Influence of the Paris Masters during the Pontificate of Honorius III (Sessions for the 800th anniversary of Pope Honorius III’s papacy, International Medieval Congress, 4-7 July 2016, Leeds).

‘Diversas proprietates terrae sanctae’ – Knowing the Holy Land and Crusade Planning in the Early Thirteenth Century (Ninth Quadrennial Conference of the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, 26 June-2 July 2016, Odense).

Tra l’Università e la Curia. L’influenza dei maestri parigini durante il pontificato di Onorio III (‘Il Pontificato di Onorio III (1216-27)’, 13 June 2016, Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medioevo, Rome).

Conversion or Cohabitation? - The Papacy and the Sharing of Sacred Space in the Thirteenth Century (Guest Lecture, Centre for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Interaction, 3 May 2016, Ben Gurion University, Beersheba).

The Books of the Pope: Reconstructing the Papal Library before and after Avignon (ca. 1305–77) (Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, 31 March-2 April 2016, Boston).

‘Dominus Papa volens scire’ - Echoes of the Fourth Lateran Council's Crusade and Mission Agenda in Thirteenth-Century Manuscripts (Concilium Lateranense IV: Celebrating the Octocentenary of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, 24-29 November 2015, Rome).

Knowledge of the Other and Understanding Shared Sacred Space, c. 1150-1250 (Symposium ‘Sharing the Holy Land’, 12-13 June 2015, Warburg Institute London).

‘Sed et etiam Sarraceni’ - Latin Perceptions of Sharing Sacred Space in the Medieval Levant (Symposium ‘Lieux Saints Partagés’, 3-5 June 2015, Aix-Marseille University).

Animals of the Holy Land: Bestiaries and the Crusades (The A.W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities, 10 November 2014, University of Wisconsin-Madison).

‘Consenescentis mundi die vergente ad vesperam’ – Eschatological Rhetoric after the Fourth Lateran Council (7ème Congrès International de Latin Médiéval – ‘Le sens du temps’, 10-13 September 2014, Lyon).

When in Doubt, Give Him the Finger - Ugolino di Conti's Loss of Faith and Jacques de Vitry's Intervention (‘The Church and Doubt’, EHS Conference, 22-24 July 2014, Sheffield).

‘Martyrs and Mosaics’: Honorius III's Architectural Propaganda in the Basilicas of Rome (‘The Papacy, Rome and Romanitas. Sessions in memory of John Doran’, International Medieval Congress, 7-10 July 2014, Leeds).

Jacques de Vitry's Changing Attitudes Concerning Mission in the East in the Early Thirteenth Century (‘Migration and Mission in Christian History’, ASCH-EHS Conference, 3-5 April 2014, Oxford).

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