Research Stream

Spencer Young

Spencer Young is a specialist in the intellectual, educational and religious history of medieval Europe. His research interests include the history of universities, poverty and poor relief, and the social and cultural impact of the concept of the seven deadly sins. His project analyses sermons, theological treatises and confessional literature in order to understand how ideas about sin, penance and conversion influenced the emotional life of European christians in the later Middle Ages.

The University of Western Australia Staff Profile


Emotions, Vices, and Conversion in Late Medieval Religion



Young, S. E. Scholarly Community at the Early University of Paris: Theologians, Education and Society, 1215–1248. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Book Chapters

Young, S. E. 'More Blessed to Give and Receive': Charitable Giving in Thirteenth- and Early Fourteenth-Century Exempla'. In Experiences of Charity, 1250–1650, edited by A. M. Scott, pp. 6378. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015 (Routledge, 2016).

Young, S. E. ‘Avarice, Emotions and the Family in Thirteenth-Century Moral Discourse’. In Ordering Emotions in Europe, 1100–1800, edited by S. Broomhall, pp. 6984. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Edited Journal Issue

Van Gent, J. and S. E. Young.  'Emotions and Conversion'. Special issue, Journal of Religious History 39.4 (2015).

Journal Articles

Van Gent, J. and S. E. Young. ‘Introduction: Emotions and Conversion’. ‘Emotions and Conversion’. Special issue, Journal of Religious History 39.4 (2015): 461–67.

Young, S. E. 'Faith, Favour and Fervour: Emotions and Conversion among the Early Dominicans'. Journal of Religious History 39.4 (2015): 46883.

Young, S. E. ‘The Subsidiary Sins as Guides to Early Dominican Pastoral Care and Moral Reformation in Stephen of Bourbon’s Tractatus de diversis materiis predicabilibus’. Mediaeval Studies 76 (2014): 169215.

Selected Presentations

Paper: ‘The Medieval Prosperity Gospel: Tracing a History of Ideas about the Hundredfold Reward’,  49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, USA, 811 May 2014.

Conference paper: 'How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love My Children: Avarice, Emotions and the Family in Thirteenth-Century Moral Discourse', 40th Sewanee Medieval Colloquium: Medieval Emotions, Sewanee, Tennessee, 45 April 2014.

Invited Public Lecture: ‘For Wisdom or Satan’s Pomps? The Early University of Paris and Its Critics, c.12151260’, Brigham Young University, Utah, USA, 1 April 2014.

Invited Conference Paper: ‘A Workshop of Wisdom or the Pomp of Satan?  Education, Status and Social Reform at the Early University of Paris’, Universität-Reform: A Tension of Long Duration (12th21st Centuries), Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany, 18 September 2013.

Workshop Paper: ‘In the Beginning There was Fervour: Emotions and Conversion Among the Early Dominicans’, the CHE 'Emotions and Conversion' workshop, The University of Western Australia, 12 July 2013.

Conference Paper: ‘Looking for Love in All the Wrong Place: Avarice and the Emotions in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Pastoral Sources’, CHE ‘Sourcing Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World’ conference, UWA, 28 June 2013.

Conference Paper: ‘Avarice and the Emotions in Thirteenth-Century Moral and Pastoral Discourses’, Canadian Society of Medievalists Annual Meeting, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 3 June 2013.

Public Lecture: ‘Faith, Favour and Fervour: Emotions and Conversion in the Thirteenth Century’, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance, Monash University, Melbourne, 3 May 2013.

Invited Workshop Paper: ‘More Blessed to Give and Receive: Charitable Giving in Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Century Exempla’, at ‘Experiences of Charity: Revisiting Religious Motivations in the Charitable Endeavour, 1250-1600’ workshop, The University of Western Australia, 22 February 2013.

Conference Paper: 'Lecturers, Debaters, Preachers: Theologians and the Theological Endeavour at the Early University of Paris', ANZAMEMS Inc 9th Biennial Conference ‘Cultures in Translation’, Monash University, Melbourne, 1216 February 2013.

Public Lecture: 'Sins and Daughters: The Capital Vices, Their Offspring and Social Reform Among the Early Dominicans', The University of Sydney, 19 September 2012.

Collaboratory Presentation: 'Vocabularies of Vice: Expressions of Emotion?: The Seven Deadly Sins, their Offspring, and the History of Emotions in the Middle Ages', 'Languages of Emotion: Concepts, Codes, Communities' CHE Meanings Program collaboratory, The University of Western Australia, 24 August 2012.

Conference Presentation: 'Tears and Fears: The Emotions of Conversion Among Early Dominican Recruits', Australian Historical Association Meeting, The University of Adelaide, 10 July 2012.

Public Lecture: 'The Usurer’s Alms: Theologians, Society and the Emergence of the University of Paris', Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group, UWA, 13 March 2012.