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Dr Sarah Johanesen

Office: 3.64, third floor, Faculty of Arts Building

Office Hours:

Tuesdays 17:00-18:00 on Teams

Thursdays 11:00-12:00 in-person FAB 3.64

I am a historian of early modern material culture and confessional politics, focused on Catholicism in England after the Reformation.

As Digital Profile Manager of the Tudor & Stuart Seminar at the IHR, I am responsible for their Twitter engagement, and as a regular attendee would be keen to support any Warwick PhD student in publicising their work in London.


I studied for my BA in History here at the University of Warwick, going into the Heritage Industry for a few years before deciding to return to academic study in 2014. After completing an MA in History at Royal Holloway, focusing on Material Culture and the Early Modern period, I became an AHRC-funded PhD student in the History department at King's College London (KCL), where I was supervised by Dr Lucy Wooding (now of Lincoln College, Oxford) and Prof. Laura Gowing.

After completing a doctorate at KCL and achieving a Fellowship of the HEA as a Seminar Tutor there, I was Lecturer in Early Modern History for two years at Manchester University, covering for Dr Stefan Hanss and taking on the role of Employability Lead.

I am now a Teaching Fellow in Early Modern History here at Warwick, serving on the Academic Conduct Panel for History.

Research interests

My research focuses on the politics of Catholic material culture in England, during and after the Elizabethan Reformation in England, in a wide range of early modern political contexts: from dynastic and diplomatic affairs to parish politics, the legal system, and the home. I am particularly interested in material things as part of an interconnected network of resources, key to strategies of political expression and identity formation.

My thesis focused on a crucial period of transformation from the Elizabethan Settlement to the early Stuarts within England, and I am converting this into a monograph for Boydell & Brewer’s IMEMS Press. I am interested in taking my focus on British Catholicism further forward into the Civil War and beyond, to consider colonialism, race-making, and the changing attitudes to the Catholic community within Britain, in the context of overseas expansion, and the afterlives of the Reformation.

I am part of the British Art Network’s British Catholic Material Culture 1538-1829 Group, and keen to work with heritage sites to explore and study their Catholic collections in greater depth.



Monograph, The Politics of Catholic Material Culture, 1558-1625: Loyalty, Dissent, and Identity in Post-Reformation England (under contract with Durham’s IMEMS Press, Boydell & Brewer, manuscript due for submission Feb. 2024).

Book Chapter, Sarah Johanesen & Claire Marsland, ‘Catholic Material Culture’, in John Morrill and Liam Temple (eds.), The Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism, vol.2: 1641-1745, (OUP, projected publication 2023).


‘Review of: Catholic Social Networks in Early Modern England: Kinship, Gender and Coexistence. By SUSAN M. COGAN (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021; pp. 296. £103.00)’, English Historical Review, ceac228 (Nov, 2022).

‘Marketing English Catholicism Through Gifted Relics (c.1559-1640)’, in Kristin Bezio and Scott Oldenburg (eds.), Religion in the Early Modern British Marketplace (Routledge, 2021), pp. 100-120.

‘Review of Memory and the English Reformation’, Reviews in History, Review no. 2444, Mar. 2021. DOI: 10.14296/RiH/2014/2444.

'that silken Priest': Catholic disguise and anti-popery on the English Mission (1559-1640)’, Historical Research, Vol. 93, Issue 259, Feb. 2020, pp. 38–51. Winner of Sir John Neale Prize in Early Modern British History.

Silken Priests: Catholic Disguise and Anti-Popery on the English Mission 1569-1640’, On History Blog post, IHR, Apr. 9, 2020.