Kim Bergqvist

Kim Bergqvist


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Works at Department of History
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D, plan 9
Room D 912
Postal address Historia 106 91 Stockholm

About me

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

During the years 2012 to 2016, I have been a Visiting Scholar to 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, which I also taught.

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.


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

Apart from my dissertation, my main research interests relate to the following broad themes: the history of emotions, gender history, and medieval fictionality.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 2017. Kim Bergqvist. Beyond the Piraeus Lion, 189-212

    Höviskhet, adelskap och känslomässig behärskning i de första fornsvenska översatta riddarromanerna: om Herr Ivan och Flores och Blanzeflor

    De första riddarromanerna som översattes till fornsvenska, Herr Ivan (1303) och Flores och Blanzeflor (1312), utgör i denna artikel exempel på hur två medeltida översättningar omformulerar känslor och beskrivningar av verbala och fysiska känslomässiga uttryck. De litterära gestalternas emotionella tillstånd presenteras som etiska dilemman, men de svenska översättningarna understryker också deras effekter på den sociala och politiska ordningen. Felaktiga känslor och inte minst omåttliga känslouttryck var problematiska för den politiska eliten. Den svenska 1300-talsaristokratin behövde en litteratur som kunde lansera höviska uppförandekoder, som spred idén om att den som fötts med ädelt blod var mer behärskad, rationell och därmed lämplig att styra riket. I artikeln diskuteras hur översättningarnas funktioner relaterar till olika strata inom den svenska aristokratin och dessas möjliga varierande reception av texterna.

  • 2017. Kim Bergqvist. Tears, Sighs and Laughter, 77-97

    A striking example of the paradoxical relationship between the roles of king and father can be found in the Chronicle of Alfonso X (Crónica de Alfonso X), written by Fernán Sánchez de Valladolid in the 1340s, on behalf of the ruling King Alfonso XI of Castile and León. In the midst of political turmoil and civil war raging because of a succession crisis, Alfonso is reached by false news of the death of his second son, Sancho (later IV), and is struck by grief. His counsellors, upon seeing his reaction, are mortified. In all probability this particular scene is not principally based on written evidence but a product of the chronicler’s imagination, and to understand this scene, we must consider what it was meant to convey to the intended audience of a historical discourse at court. How are we then to approach the emotions of people in the Middle Ages, when they are so far away in time, and so ephemeral? Certainly we cannot be sure to reach anything more than an assumption of what this or that person may have felt in a particular situation. Nevertheless, the attitudes held towards emotive expressions and the ways in which they were interpreted are accessible to us. The shedding of tears is a constant human gesture, while its signification and cultural relevance are not. The meanings attributed to crying men and women vary according to each historical situation, with each cultural context or emotional community (to use a phrase coined by Barbara Rosenwein). As historians we need to be sensitive to the particular context in which emotional expressions were constructed. This article examines crying, the emotions connected thereto, and the portrayal of kings as fathers and sons in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Spanish prose, in varying literary genres. The aim is to offer some reflections on the attitudes taken towards lachrymose behaviour, and to reach some insight into the distinction between the public and the private, the political and the emotional life in said context.

  • 2016. Kim Bergqvist. Kunskapens tider, 19-42
  • 2015. Kim Bergqvist. The Eufemiavisor and Courtly Culture, 67-85
  • 2013. Kim Bergqvist. Roda da Fortuna 2 (2), 221-242

    This article surveys previous and recent scholarship and theoretical reflections on fictionality, and on the divisions and relations between history and literature in medieval texts. Evidence and examples from scholarly literature will be taken from various geographical contexts, academic disciplines and communities. Thus, it is my intention to set out a state of the question, and furthermore to suggest some lines and prospects for further research in this field.

  • 2012. Kim Bergqvist. Hjältar och Hjältinnor, 41-73

    Riddarromaner och historiska krönikor är området för Kim Bergqvists artikel "Den medeltida riddaren som intertextuellt fenomen: Om hjältekonstruktioner i Eufemiavisorna och Erikskrönikan." I artikeln studerar Bergqvist görandet av hjältar genom analyser av föreställningar om och gestaltningar av medeltida riddare, så som de framställs i ovanstående narrativ från 1300-talet. Bergqvist menar att dessa, mer eller mindre, fiktiva hjältegestaltningar, förhandlade i en samtida nationell, sociohistorisk kontext, utgjorde ett medel i den aristokratiska gruppens identitetsskapande och som sådan verkade normerande för tidsperiodens uppfattningar om idealiserad manlighet och kvinnlighet. (Ur Therése Anderssons inledning, Hjältar och Hjältinnor, ss. 13-14)

Show all publications by Kim Bergqvist at Stockholm University

Last updated: December 28, 2018

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