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    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: - Early Modern British and Irish History. - European Intellectual History and the History of Political Thought. - Renaissance Humanism. - Scholasticism and Early Modern Universities. - Church History, whether Catholic or Protestant.


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Personal profile

Research Statement

I am currently writing a history of Franciscan political thought in seventeenth-century Rome, with regard to the ways in which these Franciscans engaged with the theological heritage of John Duns Scotus. This Scotist tradition maintained distinctive positions on human excellence, natural law, the power of the prince, and holy war, and this book is a central component of the European Research Council project outlined below. 

In October 2015, I was awarded a Starting Grant of €1.3 million by the European Research Council to pursue the research project ‘War and the Supernatural in Early Modern Europe’ over four-and-a-half years. I am leading a research team of two research fellows and one graduate student to examine the relationship between debates inside the early modern European universities on the proper limits of the natural and supernatural and the character of religious warfare in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Europe. My project hypothesizes that the mistaken imposition of the modern categories of sacred and secular on early modern religious debate has obscured not only the way that early modern Europeans thought about God and politics at extremes, but also the way that modern ways of speaking about religion slowly emerged during the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment invented the secular, the category without God; but just as important to Enlightenment was the enlargement of the natural, the category in which God left humans free to pursue ends impressed in them by him. The supernatural was that category in which God intervened directly. The arguments of militant Christians, whether Protestant Calvinists or Catholic Franciscans, are important to this story, but so too are the responses of moderate Catholics and Protestants who feared that holy war had the potential to destroy all human government, and not just the government of unbelievers. These debates and disputes were conducted in Europe’s learned language, Latin, without regard for national borders. Drawing on the disciplines of both History and Neo-Latin Studies, this project will recover this discourse by publishing analyses and parallel-text translations. But this project will also track the extension of this discourse of natural and supernatural in vernacular political debate outside the universities. These new editions of early modern Latin texts and analyses of discourse within and without the universities will help to eliminate the assumption among historians of religious violence that early modern people were less rational than ourselves, will redefine our category of religious warfare during Europe’s early modernity, and will re-orientate our understanding of European secularization.


Research Interests

Early modern British and Irish history; political thought and intellectual history; the history of race.


I have taught optional first-year modules on Irish history and the history of race (HIS1002), third-year modules on political thought in seventeenth-century Ireland (HIS3121), and supervised undergraduate dissertations in early modern British and Irish history and the history of race. I have taught a first-year survey module on the phenomenon of revolution with Dr Aglaia De Angeli (HIS1004) and a second-year survey module on Britain and Ireland 1603-1815 (HIS2064) with Professor Crawford Gribben and Dr Andrew Holmes. I have led MA seminars on religious warfare in early modern Europe, and the long term significance of the School of Salamanca (MHY7035 and MHY7080) and contributed seminars on the history of religious culture to the Irish Studies Summer School at Queen's. I am currently second supervisor for Mr Harrison Perkins and Ms Claire McNulty.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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