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Before taking up my current position at Queen's in January 2013, and acting as head of the School of History and Anthropology between 2015-16, I held posts in early modern literature and history in the University of Manchester and Trinity College Dublin, where I was elected a Fellow (2011). I am also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2004).
I am a cultural and literary historian whose work concentrates on the development and dissemination of religious ideas, especially in terms of apocalyptic and millennial thought, in the print cultures of Puritanism and evangelicalism.
My current projects in the earlier period include articles on John Owen and English Nonconformity; researching a new project on J. N. Darby; while editing The cultures of Calvinism in early modern Europe (with Graeme Murdock, Oxford University Press, forthcoming). My current projects in the later period include writing Survival and resistance in evangelical America (with Scott Spurlock, Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
I also serve as co-editor of the new open-access journal, Studies in Puritanism, and of two series of monographs and edited collections entitled 'Christianities in the trans-Atlantic world, 1550-1800' (Palgrave Macmillan) and 'Scottish religious cultures: Historical perspectives' (Edinburgh University Press). I directed the 'Radical Religion in the trans-Atlantic world, 1500-1800' project (funded by the Irish Research Council, 2012-13, and DCAL MAGUS, 2014-15), am a member of the Millennialism and Apocalypse project at Queen’s, and have written on contemporary religious radicalism for The Irish Times, Books & Culture, The Conversation, and The American Interest, as well as for knowledge exchange organisations such as Foreign Policy Research Institute. I am the founding co-director, with Daniel Hill (University of Liverpool), of the Jonathan Edwards Centre (UK), an affiliate of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University.
My principal admin responsibility is as Queen's director of the AHRC Northern Bridge PhD programme.
- John Owen: Contexts of interpretation (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, forthcoming)
- Survival and resistance in evangelical America, co-author with Scott Spurlock (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
- John Owen and English Puritanism: Experiences of defeat (Oxford University Press, 2016)
- Evangelical millennialism in the trans-Atlantic world, 1500-2000 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)
- Writing the rapture: Prophecy fiction in evangelical America (Oxford University Press, 2009)
- God's Irishmen: Theological debates in Cromwellian Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2007)
- The puritan millennium: Literature and theology, 1550-1682 (Four Courts, 2000)
- The cultures of Calvinism in early modern Europe, co-editor with Graeme Murdock (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
- Dublin: Renaissance City of Literature, co-editor with Kathleen Miller (Manchester University Press, 2017)
- Puritans and Catholics in the trans-Atlantic world, 1600-1800, co-editor with Scott Spurlock (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
- Left Behind and the evangelical imagination, co-editor with Mark Sweetnam (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2011)
- Literature and the Scottish reformation, co-editor with David G. Mullan (Ashgate, 2009)
- Enforcing reformation in Ireland and Scotland, 1550-1700, co-editor with Elizabethanne Boran (Ashgate, 2006)
- Protestant millennialism, evangelicalism and Irish society, 1790-2005, co-editor with Andrew Holmes (Palgrave, 2006)
- Expecting the end: Millennialism in social and historical context, co-editor with Kenneth Newport (Baylor University Press, 2006)
- Prisoners of hope? Aspects of evangelical millennialism in Britain and Ireland, 1800-1880, co-editor with Timothy C. F. Stunt (Paternoster, 2004)
- “John Owen, scholastic theology and congregational life,” in Michael Davies, Anne Dunan-Page and Joel Halcombe (eds), Church life in seventeenth-century England: Pastors, congregations, and the experience of dissent(Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
- “Ireland,” Oxford history of Protestant dissenting traditions, vol. 1, ed. John Coffey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
- “John N. Darby, dispensational eschatology, and the formation of trans-Atlantic evangelicalism,” Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- and Kulturgeschichte 110 (2016), pp. 99-109.
- “John Owen, Lucy Hutchinson, and the experience of defeat,” The Seventeenth Century 30 (2015), pp. 179-90.
- “Reformed eschatology,” in Richard Muller et al (eds), The Oxford handbook of early modern theology(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 259-74.
- “The commodification of Scripture, 1640-1660: Politics, ecclesiology and the cultures of print,” in Kevin Killeen et al (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, 1530-1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 224-36.
- “Scottish Romanticism, evangelicalism and Robert Pollok’s The Course of Time (1827),” Romanticism 21:1 (2015), pp. 25-36.
- “Polemic and apocalyptic in the Cromwellian invasion of Scotland,” Literature & History 23:1 (2014), pp. 1-18.
- “Angels and demons in Cromwellian and Restoration Ireland: Heresy and the supernatural,” Huntington Library Quarterly, 76 (2013), pp. 377-92.
You can watch a recent lecture on a subject related to my John Owen project here.
I am an enthusiastic teacher and supervisor of undergraduate students. Essays prepared by my students have been shortlisted for the Irish Undergraduate of the Year prize for history (2009), have won the Irish Undergraduate of the Year prize for English (2010) and the undergraduate essay prize of the Irish Association for the Academic Study of Religion (2017).
- HIS2064 “Uniting kingdoms? Britain and Ireland, 1603-1815”
- HIS2065 “Apocalypse! The history and anthropology of the end of the world”
- HIS3114 “The British Republic, 1649-1660”
PhDs and Postdocs:
I am a committed supervisor of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, and the winner of a Faculty prize for postgraduate supervision (2017). I have supervised PhDs in a range of topics related to the literary cultures of Puritanism and evangelicalism, almost all of which have been published by or are forthcoming with Palgrave, Wipf & Stock or Oxford University Press. PhD students within the School can attend specialist research training opportunities provided by the university's membership of the Folger Institute, Washington DC, which include regular courses on paleography.
I particularly welcome proposals for studies of John Owen. We need much more work on Owen’s networks in Essex in the 1640s; his administration of the university of Oxford; his place in the booming print culture of the revolutionary period, especially in the second-hand market; his relationship with Marvell and Bunyan; the ways in which he was perceived by his critics, including Milton; his influence on Locke; his late-career political activity; and his reception in Scotland and New England. We need more theological studies of Owen’s reception of medieval theology; his habits of exegesis; his view of Scripture and tradition; his view of the church; his view of the Catholic church, especially of the Jansenist movement; and especially his doctrine of baptism. Please contact me if you are interest in exporing any of these doctoral project possibilities.
I am currently first supervisor of PhDs in the following areas:
- James Ussher's covenant theology
- Witchcraft in puritan Essex
- Sir Archibald Johnston of Wariston
- Church discipline in Edinburgh, 1638-5
- American creationist organisations, 1960-2000
- The ecclesiology of J. N. Darby
During 2017-2020, I will be mentoring Kathleen Miller's EU Horizon 2020 funded postdoctoral fellowship on women and the writing of plague in early modern England, having previously supervised the PhD thesis that she published as The Literary Culture of Plague in Early Modern England (Palgrave, 2016). I have previously mentored several postdoctoral research fellows whose projects have included The Minutes of the Antrim Ministers, 1654-8 (funded by the Ulster Scots Agency, 2008, and published by Four Courts, 2012); 'Christian Zionism and English identity' (funded by IRCHSS, 2011-13, forthcoming from Palgrave); and 'Memorialising the killing times: History, religion and nation in pre-Enlightenment Scotland' (funded by IRCHSS, 2011-14, and forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press).
Belfast offers outstanding resources to students wishing to pursue doctoral or postdoctoral research in early modern and modern religious history, including missionary archives relating to Amy Carmichael and a multitude of denominational and inter-denominational societies, held in PRONI and in various denominational repositories. I am interested in hearing from anyone who is interested in pursuing doctoral or postdoctoral research on the literary cultures of Puritanism and evangelicalism in an inter-disciplinary context.
Research output: Research - peer-review › Chapter (peer-reviewed)
Research output: Research › Book
Research output: Research - peer-review › Article
Manchester University Press
Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.21 SJR 0.17 SNIP 1.083
Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1477-4623
Oxford University Press
Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.08 SJR 0.1 SNIP 0.158
Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work › Publication peer-review
Activity: Examination › PhD external examination
Activity: Examination › PhD external examination
Contribution to conference papers, events and activities