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.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Statement

I am an historian of early modern Ireland and more generally of early modern European political thought.

My book Renaissance Humanism and Ethnicity before Race: The Irish and the English in the Seventeenth Century was published by Manchester University Press in 2013. My most recent publication in Irish History has been ‘Irish Political Thought and Intellectual History, 1550-1730’ in Jane Ohlmeyer (ed.), The Cambridge History of Ireland, volume 2, Early Modern Ireland, 1550-1730 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp 506-528. Since then, I have pursued my interests in Catholic and Protestant political theory from Ireland to the rest of Europe.

In 2022 I published, with Floris Verhaart, a collection of Calvinist writings on war that were originally written in Latin: Protestant Politics beyond Calvin: Reformed Theologians on War in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Routledge, 2022). Our analysis and English translations provide clear evidence that the most prestigious Calvinist theologians from England, the Dutch Republic, Switzerland, the German-speaking lands, and Poland were not the deranged Calvinist ‘crusaders’ of historiographical legend but rather belong within the mainstream European just war tradition. Also in 2022 I edited a cluster of articles in the Journal of the History of Ideas dedicated to re-examining the relationship between religion and force in European thinking on war: my introduction to this cluster was ‘Rethinking war, nature, and supernature in early modern scholasticism’, Journal of the History of Ideas 83 (2022), pp 601-611. This argued that both Calvinist and Franciscan scholastics have been neglected by historians of European theories of war, and that when they are taken into account, the sacred remained a more important part of seventeenth-century European thinking on war than previously recognised. I have also edited a group of articles for the journal History of European Ideas dealing with the sacralisation of the early modern state. My introduction to these articles outlined the ways in which Italian philosophers and historians like Giorgio Agamben and Paolo Prodi have approached the interaction between the early modern state and the sacred. My contribution to the group was an English translation of an Italian article by Prodi which argued that the confessionalisation of the European state system during early modernity marked a new relationship between the state and the sacred that culminated in the political religions of the Twentieth Century. The research feeding all of this work was funded by the European Research Council through a Starting Grant of €1.3 million to pursue the research project ‘War and the Supernatural in Early Modern Europe’ over four-and-a-half years, with an extension due to the Covid pandemic. This project began in March 2016 and concluded in February 2021.

I am currently concentrating on early modern Franciscan political thought, work that was begun during that Starting Grant. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Franciscans selected John Duns Scotus from all the intellectuals in their medieval heritage as their master in theology; the dominant strand of early modern Franciscan theology is called Scotist as a result. I have published a number of articles and chapters on this recently, including ‘The Jewish Family, Forced Baptism, and Holy War in Early Modern Roman Scotism’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 83 (2022), pp 659-670. With Todd Rester, I have edited and translated extracts from Franciscan and Scotist theologians on war and politics. This volume is under contract with Routledge and is currently undergoing peer-review. In addition, I am writing a history of Franciscan political thought in seventeenth-century Rome. This Scotist tradition maintained distinctive positions on human excellence, natural law, the power of the prince, and holy war that are quite different to those taken as characteristic of Catholic political thought.

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 first supervisor of Mr Joseph Dunlap.

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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