Steven Bednarski



I am a social historian of crime and gender specializing in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. My geographic foci are Provence and the south of England. In Provence, I read criminal trials and notarial registers to see the plots and plans of ordinary townspeople. From them I extract lessons on wife assault, child abuse, adultery and illicit sexuality, gender norms, pedagogy, and women’s healthcare. In England, I contemplate changes to natural environment and their impact on lived human experiences, particularly in and around Herstmonceux manor, East Sussex.


  • B.A. History/Linguistics, York University, 1995
  • M.A. History, University of Toronto, 1996
  • PhD Medieval History, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2002

Research and teaching interests

  • Medieval history
  • Social history
  • Criminal history
  • Gender history
  • Environmental history

Courses taught

  • HIST 115 Crusading in the Middle Ages
  • HIST 260 Europe, 410 – 1303
  • HIST 304 Heresy & Religious Crises in the Later Middle Ages
  • HIST 317 History of Sexuality, Premodern
  • HIST 402A & B: Medieval Europe Seminars
  • HIST 622: Microhistory & the Lost Peoples of Europe

Recent publications

  • (Co-authored with C. McCarthy) “Margarida de Portu,” Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, History of Toxicology and Environmental Health Series, ed. Philip Wexler, National Library of Medicine (London: Academic Press, 2017): 141 – 147.

  • “Changing Landscapes: A Call for Renewed Approaches to Social History, Natural Environment, and Historical Climate in Late Medieval Provence,” Memini. Travaux et Documents, Mélanges offerts à Michel Hébert, 19 – 20 (2015 – 2016): 423 – 457.
  • Curia: A social history of a court, crime, and conflict in a late medieval town. Montpellier, PULM, 2013. 
  • A Poisoned Past: The life and times of Margarita de Portu, a Fourteenth-century Poisoner. University of Toronto Press, 2014.
  • “Autour du corps de Catherine Fabri: un document relatif à une césarienne post-mortem en Provence au XVe siècle” in Autour de la médicalisation. Perspectives historiques, pratiques et re-présentations des soignants et des soignés, XVe-XX siècles, ed. Joceline Chabot, Daniel Hickey, and Martin Pâquet, Laval University, 2012.
  • “Sadly and with a bitter heart: What Caesarean section meant in the Middle Ages,” Florilegium. Essays in honour of Margaret Wade Labarge, vol. 28 (2011) ed. Jacqueline Murray: 33-69.
  • “Learning to be a man: public schooling and apprenticeship in late medieval Manosque” Journal of Medieval History, June 2009: 113-135.
  • “En marge de la justice: les marges décorées des registres de justice provençaux du XIVe siècle.” Provence historique, t. LIX, fasc. 235 (mars-avril 2009): 3-25.
  • “The search for the father in fourteenth-century Provençal society: Evidence from Manosque” in Aventiuren des Geschlechts. Konzeptionen von Männlichkeit in der Literatur des 13. Jahrhunderts, eds. Michael Mecklenburg and Matthias Meyer. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin, 2006: 39-59.
  • “Whence springs the lie? Motive and fraud in the Manosquin criminal court (1340-1403)” in Shell Games: Studies in Scams, Frauds, and Deceits (1300-1650), eds. M. Crane, R. Raiswell, and M. Murray. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2004: 123-144.
  • “De l’eau, du grain et une figurine à forme humaine. Quelques procès pour sortilèges à Ma-nosque au début du XIVe siècle,” Memini: Travaux et documents. Vol. 2, 1998.

Awards and achievements


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