Tracey R. Sands

Senior researcher



Tracey R. Sands holds a doctorate in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Washington and a Master's degree in Folklore and Mythology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and has taught at a number of universities in the United States. She is the author of The Company She Keeps: The Medieval Swedish Cult of St. Katherine of Alexandria and its Transformations, and a range of articles on aspects of Nordic religious culture during the medieval period and beyond. In addition to her participation in "Symbols that Break and Bind Communities," she is currently at work on a project that examines political aspects of the veneration and representation of saints in the Nordic region during the late Middle Ages.

Project: Saints and the City: Saints and Identities in the Øresund Region and Gotland from the Middle Ages to the Present

 This project attempts to establish a profile for the veneration of saints in urban areas of Skåne (Scania), Sjælland (Zealand) and Gotland. The towns will be examined in pairs, the metropolitan center for each area together with the main merchant town (Lund and Malmö in Scania, Roskilde and Copenhagen for Zealand, and Linköping on the Swedish mainland together with Visby on the island of Gotland). In addition to discussing the many aspects of saints' cults and representations and how these contribute to different kinds of identities during the medieval period, the project will focus on ways that representations of saints continue—at least in some of these areas—long after the Protestant Reformation, and in some cases, into the present day. How do patterns of veneration and representation develop and shift? How are identities formed in relation to saints in the urban landscape? What do continued popular representations of saints long after their official cults have ceased tell us about the complex relationship between identities (regional, local, collective and individual) and saints' cults over time?


Relevant Publications


The Company She Keeps: The Medieval Swedish Cult of St. Katherine of Alexandria and its Transformations. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 362.  Turnhout: Brepols, Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2010.


"'Sät vppa thik mins sons pino braz': Memory and Action in Heliga Birgitta's uppenbarelser." Scandinavian Studies 82 (2010): 389-416.

"Riddar sancte orrian’: Ballad Tradition and the Medieval Swedish Cult of St. George." In The Nordic Storyteller: A Festschrift for Niels Ingwersen, 6-19. Eds. Susan Brantly and Thomas Dubois. Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars' Press, 2009.

"Saints and Politics During the Kalmar Union Period: The Case of Saint Margaret in Tensta." Scandinavian Studies 80 (2008): 141-166.

"The Cult of St. Erik, King and Martyr, in Medieval Sweden." In Sanctity in the North, 203-238. Ed. Thomas DuBois. Toronto: U Toronto Press, 2008.

"The Saint as Symbol: The Cult of Saint Katherine of Alexandria Among Medieval Sweden's High Aristocracy."  In St Katherine of Alexandria: Texts and Contexts in Medieval Europe, 87-107. Ed. Jacqueline Jenkins and Katherine Lewis. Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts 8. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003.

"'Det kommo tvänne dufvor': Doves, Ravens and the Dead in Scandinavian Folk Tradition." Scandinavian Studies 73 (2001): 349-374