Ms Ulriika Vihervalli
MA (Hons) History, 2010, University of Glasgow
MSc with Distinction in First Millennium Studies, 2011, University of Edinburgh
Working Title: Deviant Sex and the Western Church in the 5th Century.
This project examines the development of ideas of sexual unorthodoxy in the late antique period. The decline of the Roman world and the rise of Christendom coincided with a change in sexual morality: many forms of sexual expression were gradually becoming marginalised. These expressions ranged from the more everyday problems of adultery and fornication to deviance on a worse degree in the form of homosexual acts, incest, bestiality, oral sex and so on. This doctoral thesis analyses this complex social and religious development which, although scholarship is ongoing, continues to be poorly understood. The thesis explores the ways in which leading church figures approached ‘deviant’ acts and seeks to determine what motivation lay in this search for a newly defined sexual doctrine. At the centre of the study are the Christian communities and leaders of the Roman West (Italy, North Africa, Hispania, Gaul) during the politically unstable fifth century.
Start Date: October 2013
Research interests: Late Roman history, late antiquity, ecclesiology, Latin patristics, Roman social history, ideas of gender and sex, barbarian migrations, history of homosexuality.
Editorial board: Studies in History, Archaeology, Religion and Conservation.