My research spans early modern British history but my main area of interest embraces the political culture of early modern Britain c.1500 - c.1800. I have particular interests in political culture, the nature of public discourse, the role of print, the interaction of politics, literature and ideas, and the integration of political and social history. I have begun a project on corruption, from the sixteenth century Reformation, to nineteenth century Reform. This body of work has informed a number of impact and public engagement activities:
Stan's Cafe: The Anatomy of Melancholy
In November 2013 I participated in a one-day workshop with the theatre company Stan's Cafe as part of a small group of historical advisors. The workshop explored the historical context of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Madness and aimed to inform the company's adaption of the work.
I have formed an IAS-funded 'Corruption Network' and developed a good working relationship with leading members of Transparency International UK. I presented a paper at Transparency International's 2012 conference on 'The Fight Against Corruption', which was attended by academics, policy practitioners, members from the business community, and government. Transparency International will be publishing a piece about the policy implications of my historical work, due for publication c.2016.
Who Do You Think You Are? (2012)
I appeared on series 9 episode 8 of BBC One's 'Who Do You Think You Are?' and assisted actress Celia Imrie in tracing her family back to the seventeenth century and uncovered stories of political intrigue and imprisonment in the Tower of London. The episode aired on 10 October 2012, attracting an audience of 4.89 million.
BBC News Magazine (2012)
In 2012 I contributed to an online article on '10 things readers want in a history of the world'. Linked to Andrew Marr's BBC television series, History of the World, the list included the Seven Years War and I discussed the impact and significance of the conflict for Britain and the great powers of Europe.
BBC History Online (2011)
As part of the British History Online series, I published a piece on diaries of the seventeenth century which considered whether these kinds of documents can provide an unbiased recollection of events occurring at the time in which they were written. The article is publicly available via the BBC website.
BBC Radio 4 (2005)
To coincide with the general election in 2005 I contributed to Radio 4's Start the Week, speaking about the roots of the British political system.