School of History


Phil Slavin was born in St Petersburg, Russia and began his university career at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he pursued two concurrent degrees in History and Violin Performance. He received his PhD in Medieval History from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto (2008). In his dissertation, he dealt with the question of food supply of late medieval monastic houses in England, eventually developed into a monograph Bread and Ale for the Brethren (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2012).

Between 2008 and 2010, Phil spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Economic Growth Center, at Yale University, studying the art of economics and GIS. Between 2010 and 2013, he was a Mellon Fellow and faculty lecturer at McGill University, Montreal. Both at Yale and McGill, he has taught a number of courses on economic, environmental and medieval history.

Phil's research interests encompass various topics in late-medieval environmental, economic and social history of the British Isles (all the way from Cornwall to the Shetland Islands!), in a broader North-European perspective. In particular, he is into storms, famines, pathogens, plagues and other scary stuff, but also into far more pleasant things, such as food, beer and domestic animals. As of 2013, he has authored 19 articles and a monograph and is currently working on his second monograph, dealing with the single harshest subsistence crisis in European history, the Great Famine of 1315-21, to be published by Brepols. Other current projects include the impact of warfare on ecological destruction, trends in peasant agriculture, dairy production, fodder management and sheep economy.

When outside a classroom or his office, Phil enjoys listening to and playing music (be it Classical, Jazz, Rock or Folk), tasting ales (the more obscure the better), cooking, and hiking.

Dr. Slavin welcomes enquiries from prospective research students interested in the environmental, economic and social history of late-medieval and early modern British Isles and other parts of the North Atlantic world.

Contact Information


Room N4.E4
Rutherford College
University of Kent

Office Hours Monday 10am - 12pm

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Slavin, P. (2016). Epizootic Landscapes: Sheep Scab and Regional Environment in England in 1279–1280. Landscapes [Online] 17:156-170. Available at:
Camenisch, C. et al. (2016). The 1430s: a cold period of extraordinary internal climate variability during the early Spörer Minimum with social and economic impacts in north-western and central Europe. Climate of the Past [Online] 12:2107-2126. Available at:
Slavin, P. (2016). Communities of Famine: A Fourteenth-Century Environmental Shock in the British Isles. Brepols.
Showing 3 of 32 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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School of History, Rutherford College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

T: +44 (0)1227 823710 or E:

Last Updated: 07/09/2016