I am an intellectual historian with particular expertise in the political thought of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I have carried out research on concepts such as republicanism, democracy and revolutions during this period and have written extensively on the exchange of ideas between Britain and France. My books are French Revolutionaries and English Republicanism: The Cordeliers Club, 1790-1794 and The English Republican Tradition and Eighteenth-Century France. I am currently working on an intellectual biography of the seventeenth-century English political thinker James Harrington, which I will complete thanks to a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for 2017-18. For more details on my past and current research see the Publications and Current Research sections of this website.
From a very early age I have been fascinated by both History and ideas. I did my undergraduate studies at Cambridge University, attracted by that institution's strength in the History of Political Thought. I then moved to Sussex University where I completed an MA in Intellectual History and a DPhil supervised by Professor Blair Worden and Professor Richard Whatmore.
After completing my DPhil I was fortunate to be awarded a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship again at Sussex and I was then appointed to a lectureship at Newcastle University in 2004 and have remained there ever since, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008.
I have a passion for communicating history not just to the academic community, but also beyond, to students on my modules, to school children (for example in the project 'Inspiring Archives: The Story of the Civil War in the North East of England') and to the wider public for example via radio broadcasts (see the Media section of this website for more information).
Photograph by John Gurney