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In 2010, David Bates presented the Ford Lectures in British History at the University of Oxford, and The Normans and Empire is the book which was born from these lectures. It provides an interpretative analysis of the history of the cross-Channel empire created by William the Conqueror in 1066 to its end in 1204 when the duchy of Normandy was conquered by the French king, Philip Augustus, the so-called 'Loss of Normandy'.
This volume emphasizes the cross-Channel and Continental dimensions of the subject, and uses modern approaches to suggest new interpretations. Bates proposes that historians of the Normans can learn from the methods of social scientists and historians of other periods of history - such as making use of such tools as life-stories and biographies - and he employs such methods to offer an interpretative history of the Normans, as well as a broader history of England, the British Isles, and Northern France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
David Bates took his PhD at the University of Exeter, and over a professional career of more than forty years, he has held posts in the Universities of Cardiff, Glasgow, London (where he was Director of the Institute of Historical Research from 2003 to 2008), East Anglia, and Caen Basse-Normandie. He has worked extensively in the archives and libraries of Normandy and northern France and has always sought to emphasise the European dimension to the history of the Normans. He is currently Director of the annual Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies.