Southampton academics elected as Fellows of British Academy

Professors Woolgar and Sedikides
Fellows of the British Academy – Professor Chris Woolgar and Professor Constatine Sedikides

Professor Chris Woolgar and Professor Constantine Sedikides from the University of Southampton have both been elected as Fellows of the British Academy (BA).

Professor Woolgar, Professor of History and Archival Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and Professor Sedikides, Professor of Social and Personality Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences, are recognised for this prestigious honour for their outstanding contribution to subjects within the humanities and social sciences.

Professor Woolgar is honoured for his long-standing interest in medieval studies and extensive experience working with archives and manuscripts from the medieval period onwards. His research focuses on the history of the everyday in the late medieval period, including material culture, food, sensory perception, and great households, as well as the forms of documents and archival processes from the medieval period onwards.

“Election to the Fellowship of the British Academy is a very great honour,” said Professor Woolgar. “It is quite humbling to join such distinguished company.”

He first joined the University of Southampton’s Hartley Library in 1982 and was Head of its Special Collections Division from 1991 to 2013, when he moved to Southampton’s History Department.

His current work centres on the objects of daily life, their significance and the meanings of material culture in the later Middle Ages. At its heart are the changes in mentality that came with a long-term social revolution, from a point in England, around 1200, when most people had few goods, to one three hundred years later, when possessions and goods of all kinds were everywhere.

A major element of Professor Woolgar’s research has been the preparation of editions of medieval texts on social and economic history and explorations of how these documents functioned. These publications include no fewer than five volumes of key materials: he edited two volumes of household accounts for the British Academy’s prestigious Records of Social and Economic History series, published in 1992-3, and in 2019 he edited, with Barbara Harvey, two further volumes in the series, on The States of the Manors of Westminster Abbey, a series of 75 accounting documents for the properties of one of the greatest landowners of medieval England either side of the Black Death. He has also published an edition of the testamentary records of English and Welsh bishops between 1200 and 1413 with the Canterbury and York Society.

His further publications include three volumes with Yale University Press: The Great Household in Late Medieval England (1999), The Senses in Late Medieval England (2006), and The Culture of Food in England, 1200‒1500 (2016). He co-edited Food in Medieval England (2006) with Dale Serjeantson and Tony Waldron, for Oxford University Press; and in 2018 he edited The Elite Household in England, 1100-1550, in the Harlaxton Medieval Studies series.

Professor Woolgar has been the editor of the one of the leading history journals, the Journal of Medieval History, since 2009.

Professor Sedikides, who is Head of Southampton’s Social and Personality Psychology Research Group and Director of the Centre for Research on Self-Identity, is honoured for his considerable expertise in using the scientific method to answer long-standing philosophical questions such as:

  • Do people think more positively about themselves than they should, and, if so, why?
  • Are leaders who think very highly of themselves (narcissists) effective?
  • Do people have an authentic self or just believe they do, and what are the implications of such a belief?
  • How do people integrate their past into their present, and what is the role of nostalgia in this?

He addressed these questions with laboratory and field experiments, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, as well as genetics and neuroscience studies. This work is summarised in approximately 500 publications, including 15 volumes.

“I feel deeply honoured for being elected Fellow of the British Academy,” said Professor Sedikides. “The honour should be shared with members of the Centre for Research on Self and Identity, with special thanks to the School of Psychology and our university for their unwavering support.”

Before joining University of Southampton as Director of the Centre for Research on Self and Identity, Constantine taught at University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He holds a PhD from Ohio State University, USA, and a BA from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

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