Professor Kim Marie Phillips

BA(Hons) (Melbourne), DPhil (York)

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Kim Phillips is Professor in History at the University of Auckland, where she has taught since 1997. Kim's teaching and research centres on medieval Europe in its global context, with special interest in histories of women, gender, and sexualities. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she studied at the University of Melbourne (BA Hons, 1991) and the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, UK (DPhil 1998).

Research | Current

  • Medieval Europe, c. 1100-1550
  • Women's and gender history
  • Youth and lifecycle history
  • History of sexuality and the body
  • Medieval travel and ethnographic writing
  • Cross-cultural encounters

Kim Phillips’s research explores medieval European cultures, societies and global interactions (1100–1550), with particular interests in women, gender, sexualities, life cycle, travel, cross-cultural encounters, and ethnicities. She is the author or co-author of three books, editor or co-editor of four collections of scholarly essays, and author of many refereed journal articles and book chapters, encyclopaedia entries, and review essays. At present she is working on a book on meanings of the female breast in medieval European cultures and societies and has publications forthcoming on medieval youth, premodern beauty ideals, wet-nursing in medieval England, and medieval women travellers.

Teaching | Current

HISTORY 300 Thinking History: Approaches to the past

HISTORY 736 Medieval Women, c.1100-1500

Postgraduate supervision

PHD (current)                                                                                                                                                    


Victoria Munn, 'Flowing Tresses: The Practical Treatment and Cultural History of Hair in Early Modern Europe' (2020-ongoing, second supervisor)

John P. Collins, ‘The Professionalisation of Surgery: An Examination of Surgeon-Patient Encounters in Britain 1750-1850’ (2016-2021, second supervisor)

Emma Sadera, ‘A wench was condemn’d: Sexual Transgression and Infanticide in Late Seventeenth-Century England’ (2015-ongoing, main supervisor)

Alexandra Donnison, ‘Women, the Body, and Society in Late Renaissance Italy: Medicine and the Female Patient’ (2013-ongoing, main supervisor).

Completed PhDs

Lisa Hawes, "Kissing Christ: The Masculine Performance of Religious Ecstasy" (2007- 2012, main supervisor).

Michelle Smith, "Assessing Gender in the Formation of Medieval Scottish Identities, c. 1286-c. 1586" (2005-2009, main supervisor).

Kerryn Olsen, "Questions of Identity: Rewriting Anglo-Saxon Female Saints in Post-Conquest England, c. 1066-c. 1500" (2005-2009, co-supervisor and main supervisor).

Lindsay Diggelmann, "Marriage, Inheritance and the Balance of Power in Twelfth-Century England and France" (2001-2004, main supervisor).  

MA (current)

Josh Treloar, 'The Really Memorable Things: Pausanias' Periegesis and His Influence on 19th- and 20th-Century English Travel Writing' (2020-2022)

Nicholas Ringwood, 'A Micro-Study of Sexual Offenses in Late-Medieval England: The Evidence from the Courts of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln, 1336-1349’ (2020-22)

Tessa Myers-Oxnam, 'Magic, Blood, and the Feminine in Medieval Jewish Medicine' (2018-21)

Past MAs: 20 MA theses (1998-2017)

Honours Dissertations and Research Essays (current)


Past Honours Dissertations: 30 projects (2000-2020)



2018, December. Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index, 'Article of the month' for 'The Breasts of Virgins: Sexual Reputation and Young Women’s Bodies in Medieval Culture and Society." Cultural and Social History 15, 1 (2018): 1-19.

2015. Nominated for the Jerry Bentley Prize in World History (American Historical Association) for Before Orientalism: Asian Peoples and Cultures in European Travel Writing (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).

2005-9. President, Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS).

2005. Faculty of Arts Teaching Excellence Award, for ‘Sustained Excellence in Teaching’

2005-7. Marsden Fast-Start Award, Royal Society of New Zealand

2001-3. Early Career Research Excellence Award, University of Auckland

1993-6. Commonwealth Scholarship to the University of York




Graduate Studies Advisor (History)

Undergraduate Studies Advisor (History)


Deputy Head of School, Academic (2017-2019)

School Director, Academic (School of Humanities) (2016-2017)

Graduate Studies Adviser (History) (2005-2007, 2014)

Undergraduate Studies Adviser (History) (2008-2010, 2013, 2015-2018)

Study Abroad Adviser (2015-2018)

Deputy Head of Department (2013)



Areas of expertise

Medieval Europe, c. 1100-1550. Medieval women's and gender history, youth and lifecycle history, history of sexuality and the body, travel and ethnographic writing, cross-cultural encounters, .

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Phillips, K. M. (2019). Bodies of Knowledge, Bodies of Mystery: Recent Work in the History of Bodies, Genders and Sexualities. History Workshop Journal, 87 (1), 271-282. 10.1093/hwj/dbz016
  • Phillips, K. M. (2018). The Breasts of Virgins: Sexual Reputation and Young Women's Bodies in Medieval Culture and Society. Cultural and Social History, 15 (1), 1-19. 10.1080/14780038.2018.1427341
  • Phillips, K. M. (2017). Desiring virgins: Maidens, martyrs, and femininity in late medieval England. In C. Beattie (Ed.) Women in the medieval world (pp. ). London, UK: Routledge. Related URL.
  • Phillips, K. M. (2017). The Grins of Others: Figuring Ethnic Difference in Medieval Facial Expressions. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, 8 (1), 83-101. 10.1057/s41280-016-0039-6
  • Phillips, K. M. (2017). Europe looks East: Chinese cities in medieval travel writing, c.1298-c.1440. In A. Brown, J. Dumolyn (Eds.) Medieval urban culture (pp. 201-213). Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers.
  • Phillips, K. (2017). Travel writing. In S. Echard, R. Rouse, J. Fay, H. Fulton, G. Rector (Eds.) The encyclopedia of Medieval literature in Britain (pp. 1816-1823). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 10.1002/9781118396957.wbemlb280
  • Phillips, K. M. (2016). A Cultural History of Women in the Middle Ages. Bloomsbury Academic. Pages: 344.
  • Phillips, K. (2016). Travel, writing, and the global Middle Ages. History Compass, 14 (3), 81-92. 10.1111/hic3.12301


Contact details

Office hours

Wednesdays 11-1

Primary office location

Level 7, Room 727
New Zealand

Web links