Dallas Alexander Grubbs , history graduate student

Ph.D. student (ABD), Medieval Europe
Political history, Historiography, Political Thought, Kingship, Memory Studies


B.A., History and Religious Studies, Gettysburg College, 2012
M.A., History, The University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies, 2013




Dissertation title: "Adaptation and Invention: The Political Uses of Later Merovingian Kingship in Ninth-Century Francia.”
DIrector: Dr. Jennifer R. Davis 

My research lies at the intersection of early medieval political thought, historiography, and memory. I explore how the Merovingian kings, who ruled parts of Western Europe c. 500-700 AD, were remembered and how their portrayal could prove useful in later ninth-century contexts. After this ruling family had been overthrown by the Carolingians, early Carolingian kings and their supporters justified and legitimized their usurpation by portraying their predecessors as decadent, lazy, and useless (the courtier Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne is a notable example). Modern scholars have deconstructed this unflattering portrayal of the Merovingians but few have turned their attention to more positive or neutral depictions of the later Merovingians across the ninth-century Frankish world.

I examine the historical, hagiographical, and diplomatic sources produced in the ninth century which offer competing visions of the Frankish past. In these sources, the Merovingian kings are not maligned or vilified. Rather, in different contexts or moments of political realignment and contestation, the members of this displaced dynasty could prove useful as valuable historical and cultural resources. My dissertation explores how and why ninth-century religious and political communities preserved, repurposed, and utilized the memory of the Merovingians. It analyzes how this legacy continued to play a crucial role in the framing of Frankish memories and identities in the ninth-century and beyond.

I enjoy traveling and studying the ninth-century manuscripts in which many of my sources are preserved and transmitted. So far my manuscript research has taken me to the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris and the British Library in London. 



Publications & Conference Presentations

Book Review: The Resources of the Past in Early Medieval Europe. Ed. Clemens Gantner, Rosamond McKitterick, and Sven Meeder. Hortulus 13.2. Spring 2017. Available at: https://hortulus-journal.com/journal/volume-13-2-2017/grubbs/

“Using the Merovingian Past in Later Carolingian Lotharingia: The Evidence of the Vita Dagoberti Regis Francorum.” 11th Medieval History Seminar. German Historical Institute, London, UK. October 2019.

 “Recycling the Merovingian and Carolingian Past in the Vita Dagoberti Regis.” 44th New England Medieval Conference. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. October 2017.

“Delegitimizing and Re-legitimizing the Merovingian Dynasty, c. 751-870 AD.” 12th Annual History Graduate Student Conference. University of Maryland, College Park, MD. February 2017.

“Memory, Power, and Politics at Carolingian St-Denis: Reconstructing the Merovingian Past in the Gesta Dagoberti.” Southeastern Medieval Association Annual Conference. Knoxville, TN. October 2016.

“Carolingian Royal Politics in the Canonization of Dagobert II.” The International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 2016. 

Awards & Fellowships

Cosmos Scholars Grant Program, Cosmos Club Foundation of Washington, DC (2018)

Department of History Graduate Student Research Prize, The Catholic University of America (2015)

Resident Graduate Fellowship, Massey College, University of Toronto (2012-2013)