Vanina Kopp is currently a project leader at the German Historical Institute in Paris with her collaborative project “The Performance of Games and Competition in Medieval Sociability”. This project investigates the interactions of games and competitions in a courtly setting, and its social and cultural functions. The research team also includes two PhD students. Vanina’s own project focuses on literary and poetic games at the French courts.
Vanina earned her PhD in medieval history at the universities of Bielefeld (Germany) and the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales Paris (France) with a thesis on the uses and functions of the library of the French Kings in late medieval Paris. Before that, she studied history, law and sociology at the universities of Bielefeld and Paris 7 Denis-Diderot, through a joint Magister/maîtrise program under the auspices of the Franco-German University (DFH/UFA).
While completing her PhD, Vanina taught medieval intellectual and cultural history to undergrads, and managed the interdisciplinary Mittelalterzentrum at the University of Freiburg (Germany). After defending, she flew off to anglophone Canada for an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and collaborated with the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.
In her scholarly approaches, she tries to mix the four academic cultures she has experienced so far –– North American, English, French, and German –– trying to incorporate the best of all these cultures in her research group and her own work. Vanina loves roadtripping in the wide open spaces of North America as well as wandering around admiring the 19th century architecture of the many Paris neighbourhoods. Even if academia demands a high level of rigour and self-constraint, fun and a ludic approach should always be an integral part of the whole. She thus highly enjoys retweeting funny marginalia and medieval miniatures, seeking to favour the colourful and flamboyant Middle Ages.