The Program in Agrarian Studies presents:
Jamie Kreiner, historian of the early Middle Ages: “The Secret Life of Swineherds.”
Jamie Kreiner teaches courses about Europe and the Mediterranean in the late antique and medieval periods. Her research focuses on the mechanics of culture, including how medieval communities themselves thought that knowledges and commitments were communicated, adopted, and affected by other forms of power. She is especially interested in the quieter forces that shape ethical systems — forces that were not always purposeful, individual, or human — and it’s a thread that runs through her research on narrative, social forms of cognition, and animals.
Kreiner’s first book, The Social Life of Hagiography in the Merovingian Kingdom, highlights how the cultures of Christianity and government defined each other in the early medieval society of Gaul, and it demonstrates how a heterogeneous political class used literature to reconsider them. The book she is currently working on (“Legions of Pigs: Ecology and Ethics in the Early Middle Ages”) examines pigs as both objects and subjects, to measure the impact that this species had on early medieval culture and to highlight the surprising ways that early medieval societies handled their lived environments.