Interview with Dom Birch

Our next seminar will be taken by Dom Birch on 26 November 2018. The seminar will be starting at 18:00 with tea and coffee from 5:40. Below we talked to Dom about information, Satan, and Barbados .

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from?

I’m Dom, I’m originally from Long Newton—a tiny village near Darlington with two pubs, a church and school. I’m also a former MEMSA exec member, and am very much being on the other side of things now!

What brought you to Durham?

For my UG, I came to Durham because, like a good deal of people, I got rejected by Oxford (I’ve now rejected them 3 times so I like to think I’m winning that one). I didn’t really want to come to Durham originally, worried that I would be the type of student to take my washing home. Luckily, my parents did us all a favour by moving 300 miles down the road. I’m now doing a PhD at KCL, but live in Durham because I enjoy the bracing northern wind.

What is your favourite thing about the medieval/early modern period?

Information, its spread and its distortion! I love the whole process of reporting and rumour. For instance, I’ve just finished reading the letters of a governor of Virginia who was always complaining about the lack of accurate information, given that news got to him from England via Ireland via Barbados—essentially a transatlantic game of telephone!

What does your research focus on?

I look at how people resolved disputes without litigating, and what this means for our understanding of the law, state and society. How and why do different types of law exist in one society?

What do you plan to focus on in your seminar?

I’m going to go through some of the theory behind my PhD, and try and show the reasons why I think what I’m doing is important.

If you were not in academia, what would you be doing?

Spreading the queer agenda.

Do you have a favourite medieval/early modern text?

I’m a big Milton fan, so I’ll say Paradise Lost. I love a compelling and charismatic anti-hero. I’m waiting for the film version with Zachary Quinto playing Satan. Dreamy.



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