I am a medievalist educated in Canada (University of British Columbia), the UK (University of Glasgow and University of York), and Sweden (University of Gothenburg). I have a Ph.D. in (medieval) history from the University of Gothenburg. My dissertation focuses on the emergence of new cults of local Danish and Swedish saints in the early medieval period and their connection to the Christianization of the region. My research interests are interdisciplinary and include cultural heritage, cultural history, material culture, hagiography/liturgy, and digital humanities.
I have been employed as a university lecturer at the University of Gothenburg, Malmö University, and Lund University. In addition, I have been a visiting lecturer at the University of the Highlands and Islands (Orkney) and a research fellow at Stanford University. Since February 2019, I have been working as a Researcher in Nordic Medieval History at the Department of Cultural Sciences. From the Spring Term 2020, I am the Director of Studies for History.
I am also the Online Editor for Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forskning.
From Autumn 2020, I lecture on "Digital History" and am a thesis supervisor for the Master Programme in Digital Humanities.
Since Autumn 2021, I am the course coordinator and one of the teachers for 4HI505 Digital History.
Previously, I have taught a variety of courses on all levels from survey courses on global history from 10,000 BCE to 1789 CE, to teacher training courses (history didactics), medieval history, the cults of saints as cultural history, historical theory and method, and cultural heritage studies, as well as supervised theses at both the BA and MA level.
I am the project leader of the Swedish Research Council funded, 'digitisation and accessibility of cultural heritage collections' (DIGARV) project, Mapping Lived Religion: Medieval Cults of Saints in Sweden and Finland. The project runs from 2019-2024. As part of this project, I will be studying the development of special feast days, their role in lived religion, and their connection to lay piety.
Since defending my doctoral thesis, I have written about the construction of sanctity as reflected in the lives of Scandinavian women; the portrayal of non-holy bishops in Scandinavian hagiography and how this reflects the formation of textual networks and communities; and the inclusion of travel narratives and companions in medieval hagiography. In addition to the above research project, I study the communication of the past and the use of history. In particular, I examine how objects and their reconstructions are used by different actors in the creation of narratives about the past. My current case study involves how viking ships and their reconstructions are used in the formation of narratives and the transmission of knowledge in museum contexts.
Since 2021, I have been co-lead of the project and initiative, Nordic Spatial Humanities: Linking, Building, and Sustaining Humanities Digital Spatial Infrastructures for Research in the Nordic Countries. Working together with the PI at Uppsala University and co-leads at the University of Bergen and the University of Iceland, we have generated diologue and exchange between academic and non-academic sectors, focussing on the needs of the humanities in terms of spatial data and data infrastructures for research and dissemination.
I am also a founding member of a public history project, "Visiting the Past", in which we have created opportunities for researchers, cultural heritage practitioners, and re-enactors to engage in a dialogue with each other. One of these initiatives involves creating a guidebook for re-enactment together.
Director of Studies for History
My research groups
Digital Humanities Digital humanities is an interdisciplinary field of study that represents a bridge between the arts and humanities and information technology.
Medeltidsforum Linné Medeltidsforum Linné (Medieval Forum Linnaeus) is a network of researchers and students with a special interest in the Middle Ages in its broadest sense. MFL provides an…
My ongoing research projects
Article in journal (Refereed)
Liepe, L., Ellis Nilsson, S. (2021). Medieval Iconography in the Digital Age : Creating a Database of the Cult of Saints in Medieval Sweden and Finland. Iconographisk post : Nordisk tidskrift för ikonografi. (2). 45-63.
Chapter in book (Refereed)
- Ellis Nilsson, S., Zachrisson, T., Fröjmark, A., Liepe, L., Åhlfeldt, J. (2023). Mapping Saints: creating a digital spatial research infrastructure to study medieval lived religion. Arc Humanities Press.
- Ellis Nilsson, S. (2020). Promoting or Rejecting the Saints : The Representation of Non-Saintly Bishops in medieval Scandinavian Hagiography. Turnhout, Brepols.
- Ellis Nilsson, S. (2019). Forming and Fashioning Early Scandinavian Sanctity : Liturgy and its narrative context. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag.
- Ellis Nilsson, S. (2019). 'Not all those who wander are lost' : Saintly Travellers and their Companions in medieval Scandinavia. London, Routledge.
Article in journal (Other academic)
Ellis Nilsson, S., Liepe, L., Zachrisson, T. (2022). Scandia introducerar: Levd religion i det förmoderna Nordeuropa : [Lived religion in premodern Northern Europe]. Scandia. 88 (2). 317-337.
Ellis Nilsson, S., Kolbe, W., Zachrisson, T. (2022). Redaktörerna har ordet. Scandia. 88 (2). 191-198.
Ellis Nilsson, S., Nyzell, S. (2021). Scandia introducerar: (Åter)skapad vikingatid. Scandia. 87 (2). 245-268.
Chapter in book (Other academic)
- Ellis Nilsson, S. (2020). Antonie (Toni) Elisabeth Magda Schmid. Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon. Göteborgs universitet.
- Ellis Nilsson, S. (2020). Digital history : digitizing and communicating the past: a case study. Växjö, Linnaeus University Press.
Article, book review (Other academic)
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2023). Gemenskapens betydelse i att skapa helgon i det medeltida Sverige: Johanna Tynnelä-Haapamäki, Constructing Episcopal Sainthood in Late Medieval Sweden: the Cases of Brynolphus Algoti and Nicolaus Hermanni. Historisk Tidskrift. Svenska Historiska Föreningen. 143 (3). 449-453.
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2020). Konsten att förmedla historia : En tvärvetenskaplig forskningsfråga?. Historisk Tidskrift. Svenska Historiska Föreningen. 140 (2). 276-291.
Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
- Petrulevich, A., Lethbridge, E., Gammeltoft, P., Ellis Nilsson, S. (2023). Humanities-driven Geospatial Data Infrastructure Development for Vision 2030. Fast Track to Vision 2030. Nordiska ministerrådet, NordForsk. 19-22.
Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
- Ellis Nilsson, S., Petrulevich, A. (2022). Workshopping Nordic Spatial Data Humanities (Uppsala).
- Petrulevich, A., Ellis Nilsson, S. (2022). Some Thoughts on the State-of-the-art of Humanities’ Spatial Research Infrastructures in the Nordic Countries.
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2021). Fragments of a Year : Saints' Feasts in Swedish and Finnish Medieval Calendars (Part II). Linnaeus University.
Blog post on the blog Mapping Saints..
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2021). Inputting Saints' Feasts found in Calendar Fragments into the 'Mapping Saints' Database. Linnaeus University.
Blog post on the blog Mapping Saints..
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2020). Fragments of a Year: Saints’ Feasts in Swedish and Finnish Medieval Calendars (Part I).
Blogpost in Mapping Saints..
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2019). BLOGG DigHist – Perspectives on Digital History : An academic blog series: Introduction. Lund, Lund University.
Blog post on the website of the journal Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forskning.
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2019). BLOGG Digitizing the Past for Cultural Heritage Research, Education, and Public Consumption. Lund, Lund University.
Blog post on the website for the journal Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forskning.
Ellis Nilsson, S. (2019). Communicating the past through craftsmanship and art : the case of the Viking ship. Malmö, Malmö universitet.
Blog post at Just nu och för hemskt länge sedan: Historia och historiedidaktik vid Malmö universitet (History and History Didactics at Malmö University).