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Kim Bergqvist

About me

I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of History, focused on medieval history.

Research fields

  • Medieval history
  • Political history
  • Comparative history
  • Cultural history
  • History of emotions

During the years 2012 to 2017, I spent time as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain), the University of Oslo (Norway), Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and Columbia University in the City of New York.


My teaching is geared towards medieval society in general and the political developments in Europe during the high and late Middle Ages in particular. I also teach historical methodology and theory.

I developed a course on cultural encounters and cultural exchange in medieval Europe with my colleague Martin Skoog, and with Margaretha Nordquist Food, fashion and material culture in the Middle Ages.

At DIS Stockholm ( I have designed and currently teach two courses: World of the Vikings and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages.

Thesis supervision

Since a number of years back I supervise bachelor's theses in history, the topics of which include medieval history writing, chivalric ideals and aristocratic ideology, social relations and political culture, gender (particularly masculinity), the history of emotions, and historiography.


Research interests

My doctoral dissertation examines aristocratic insurrections, resistance to the king, and political values in Castile-León and Sweden, c. 1270–1370.

A new research project in collaboration with Margaretha Nordquist, PhD, will focus on the political agency and exercise of power by the consorts to the regents of Sweden during the later Kalmar Union period (c. 1470–1520).

Apart from the themes of my dissertation (comparative history; political history; ideology), my main research interests relate to the following broad themes: the history of emotions, gender history, medieval history writing, and medieval fictionality.

Current research projects and networks

I am currently involved in the research project MUNARQAS - Las mujeres de las Monarquías Ibéricas: Paradigmas institucionales, agencias políticas y modelos culturales (siglos XIII-XV) (

I am also a participant in the COST Action Islamic Legacy: Narratives East, West, South, North of the Mediterranean (1350–1750) (

In the research group Spatio Serti - Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisa em Medievalística(, I am an international collaborator.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The Shoemaker and the Troubadour Knight, and Other Stories: Historicity and the Truth of Fiction in Medieval Castilian Literature

    2022. Kim Bergqvist. Vera Lex Historiae?, 83-112


    The Castilian fourteenth-century author Don Juan Manuel is most renowned for his frame-tale collection of exempla, the Conde Lucanor (1335), but he wrote numerous works of fiction and history, always in a didactic vein. This article examines certain ‘reality elements’ in the fictional and historical tales of the Conde Lucanor and other works of its author, principally the use of autofiction and the insertion of historical figures in a fictional setting or their use in such a mode. This topic is approached through wider discussions about the distinction between allegorical and historical truth in Juan Manuel’s work, the discursive common ground between medieval history and fiction in terms of their plausibility, and the notion of the purported self-referentiality of fiction. It is argued that autofictional and other reality elements are not so much an attempt to verify or authenticate otherwise fictional narratives, as it is a conscious play on the common ground of the historical and the fictional mode, and part of a cohesive didactic strategy on the part of the author in question – interconnected with his social and political position in fourteenth-century Castile.

    Read more about The Shoemaker and the Troubadour Knight, and Other Stories
  • 'Era omne de grant coraçón'

    2022. Kim Bergqvist. Grief, Gender, and Identity in the Middle Ages, 15-36


    When kings are portrayed in medieval Castilian history writing from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as mourning the loss of sons to war or illness, grief is represented as debilitating and dangerous, if not moderated. Hence, the historiographical response to grief and sorrow demonstrates that not all displays of emotion by kings can be interpreted as intentional political acts or ritual display. Rather, the chronicles reveal instances of ideological use of emotions within history writing to disseminate certain ideas about kingship, gender, and emotions, which also contributed to forming lay noble emotional habitus. Chroniclers reveal an ideal that valued the transformation of sorrow into just anger and religious zeal, emotions whose functions were apparent in the ideological and military context of the Christian conquest of Muslim Spain.

    Read more about 'Era omne de grant coraçón'
  • War, Diplomacy and Peacemaking in Medieval Iberia

    2021. Kim Bergqvist, Kurt Villads Jensen, Anthony John Lappin.

    Book (ed)

    This volume offers insights into the nature of warfare, diplomacy and peacemaking on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages, and the influences and entanglements resulting from these processes. The essays collected here emphasize both violent conflict and the brokering of allegiances and settlements, either within polities and common endeavours or between rival entities (such as the taifas of Seville and Badajoz in the fractious eleventh century). The volume begins with an account of Muslim warlords who sought service under Christian rulers in the tenth century and their historiographical fates, and embraces the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, from its western coast, in an analysis of the tightrope walked by the Galician monastery of Oia in maintaining its Portuguese domains at times of bitter conflict between Castile and its neighbour, to its eastern coast, as Catalan and Aragonese merchants coped with pirates and state-sponsored confiscation in the fifteenth century.

    Read more about War, Diplomacy and Peacemaking in Medieval Iberia
  • Conflict and Collaboration in Medieval Iberia

    2020. Kim Bergqvist, Kurt Villads Jensen, Anthony John Lappin.

    Book (ed)

    Studies of conflict in medieval history and related disciplines have recently come to focus on wars, feuds, rebellions, and other violent matters. While those issues are present here, to form a backdrop, this volume brings other forms of conflict in this period to the fore. With these assembled essays on conflict and collaboration in the Iberian Peninsula, it provides an insight into key aspects of the historical experience of the Iberian kingdoms during the Middle Ages. Ranging in focus from the fall of the Visigothic kingdom and the arrival of significant numbers of Berber settlers to the functioning of the Spanish Inquisition right at the end of the Middle Ages, the articles gathered here look both at cross-ethnic and interreligious meetings in hostility or fruitful cohabitation. The book does not, however, forget intra-communal relations, and consideration is given to the mechanisms within religious and ethnic groupings by which conflict was channeled and, occasionally, collaboration could ensue.

    Read more about Conflict and Collaboration in Medieval Iberia
  • Kings and Nobles on the Fringes of Christendom

    2019. Kim Bergqvist. The Routledge History of Monarchy, 622-635


    This chapter focuses on the relationship between kingship and nobility focuses on the kingdoms of Castile-Leon and Sweden during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It aims to describe research on kingship and nobility in these contexts—ones that seldom take part in the same scholarly dialogues—with a comparative analysis of the varied and shifting political circumstances of medieval European monarchies. In medieval Europe, representatives of monarchy and aristocracy vied for supremacy, often in open conflict. The aristocracy was granted legal exemption from royal taxation while the king secured high-profile military resources for his own ends. The recurrent periods of royal minority in Sweden and Castile were times when the nobility or aristocracy had the opportunity to implement their own political agendas. The chapter demonstrates that both Sweden and Castile share common traits with contemporary kingdoms in western and central Europe, and that a comparative perspective is profitable in order to make connections between seemingly disparate contexts.

    Read more about Kings and Nobles on the Fringes of Christendom
  • Osämja och fiendskap mellan kungar och stormän

    2019. Kim Bergqvist. Collegium Medievale 32 (2), 171-191


    This article discusses different paradigms for analysis of conflicts between magnates and kings in the period c. 1250–1370 in Norway and Sweden. During the past few decades, the study of feuds and the idea of the survival of a feud culture into the Late Middle Ages or Early Modern period has been prevalent in scholarship on medieval Scandinavia. Here it is argued that conflicts between kings and magnates in the period under study were perceived as being of a different order than conflicts between individual or groups of magnates, both by kings and by magnates themselves. Magnates were protective of their right of resistance against unlawful kings, and increasingly presented themselves as protectors of the common good, and representatives of the community of the realm. Kings, meanwhile, began to label any (armed) resistance to their initiatives as treason, leaning on Roman law. These circumstances should make scholars wary of ignoring the constitutional and legal ramifications of aristocratic resistance.

    Read more about Osämja och fiendskap mellan kungar och stormän
  • Performing Chivalric Masculinity

    2018. Kim Bergqvist. Affective and Emotional Economies in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 227-246


    Bergqvist offers an analysis of how emotional and affective behavior are portrayed in relation to masculinity in the Libro del Cavallero Zifar, the first domestic book of chivalry composed in medieval Castile around the year 1300. This literary work embodies knightly manhood and the performative aspect of lay elite masculinity. Bergqvist finds that the male ideal of the Zifar, epitomized in its eponymous hero, is characterized by emotional restraint and composure. This ideal of moderation, shared with contemporaneous wisdom literature, grounds Castilian chivalry in morality, and creates a distance from the emotionally expressive Arthurian knights of French romances. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the incentive for promoting this ideal and the influence on the narrative of Toledo as the place of composition.

    Read more about Performing Chivalric Masculinity
  • The Vindication of Sancho II in the Crónica de Castilla

    2017. Kim Bergqvist. The Medieval Chronicle 11, 64-86


    The first part of the post-Alfonsine Crónica de Castilla (c. 1300) is partly a vindication of the reputation of Sancho II, the king who is known to have initiated the fratricidal wars after the death of Fernando I in 1065. This article demonstrates how this is a direct consequence of the political identity constructed and disseminated within this utterly Castilian chronicle, and probably a response to certain specific historical and political circumstances in the final years of the thirteenth century. The article argues the need to view changes in the historiographical genre during this period, including those that transformed history writing towards a more 'literary' mode, as relevant to the ideological views and projects of the instigators of chronicle writing. Finally, it questions current views of the Crónica de Castilla as an example of aristocratic historiography.

    Read more about The Vindication of Sancho II in the Crónica de Castilla

Show all publications by Kim Bergqvist at Stockholm University