Introducing Basil Arnould Price, John W. Baldwin Post-Doctoral Fellow at the CMRS Center for Early Global Studies

Published: June 4, 2024

We are pleased to announce Basil Arnould Price as the John W. Baldwin Post-Doctoral Fellowship recipient for the academic years 2024-2026. This CMRS-CEGS fellowship is awarded to a recent Ph.D. whose work focuses on European medieval studies within the global comparative context.

Price received his Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of York, where he was both a Wolfson Scholar (2020-2023) and a Humanities Research Centre Doctoral Fellow (2023-2024). His doctoral dissertation was entitled The Shadow Archive: Politics, Place, and Failure in the Postclassical Sagas.

Under the supervision of Zrinka Stahuljak, a professor of Comparative Literature and French and the director of CMRS-CEGS, Price will work on his current monograph project, provisionally entitled The Postcolonial Sagas: The Politics of Failure in Later Medieval Iceland (1264-1500).

His project responds to an omission in histories of colonialism after Iceland became a dependency of the Kingdom of Norway in 1262-1264. According to Price, “Only recently have scholars examined how Old Norse-Icelandic literature was impacted by the new position of Iceland within the Kingdom of Norway, which, at its height, extended from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Orkney, and Shetland.”

By examining late medieval annalistic, diplomatic, and legal documents alongside fourteen understudied Old Norse-Icelandic sagas, Price’s monograph “challenges prevailing notions of ‘postclassical sagas’ as ahistorical, apolitical, or otherwise lesser than their celebrated thirteenth-century counterparts,” said Price. By employing decolonial and queer frameworks, “I reveal that the ‘postclassical sagas’ express opposition to a nascent colonial relationship between Iceland and its Norwegian sovereigns not through polemics or outright resistance but through the strategic expression of negative effects in rewritings of the political past – what I call a ‘politics of failure.’”

In addition to his monograph, Price will prepare research related to his next project, which is tentatively entitled Thinking Trans in Medieval Fennoscandia (1200-1500). This project will be an intersectional, interdisciplinary study of trans* embodiments in Old Norse-Icelandic literature.

This post-doctoral fellowship, named to honor the legacy of the esteemed historian John W. Baldwin, is made possible by a gift from Professor Peter Baldwin.