Brenna Clark

PhD candidate

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Home University: Guelph


Education: BA History, Alberta; MA History, Guelph

Research Fields: Early Modern European; Medieval; Scottish; Economic History; Biocodicology

Supervisor: Susannah Ferreira

Brenna Clark is a PhD Candidate at the University of Guelph. Her doctoral research examines the medieval parchment trade in the Orkney and Shetland islands to clarify the region’s wider cultural and economic links with Scotland and Norway. An objective of her research is to elucidate the ambiguous geopolitical position of the islands, first as Norwegian possessions that Scots administered, and then, after 1472, as Scottish possessions whose cultural identity remained Norse-influenced.

Brenna’s research draws on the University of Guelph’s established expertise in the fields of Scottish history and animal sciences. Her work on the medieval North Sea parchment trade relies on an interdisciplinary methodology that combines the insights of documentary sources with the genetic analysis of historical animal DNA contained in parchment, a developing field known as biocodicology.

Her Master’s thesis research investigated the extension of the Scottish witch-hunt to Orkney and Shetland in the early seventeenth century as a consequence of the Scottish government’s drive towards centralization and unification.