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ePortfolio of Brendan Tam


I am a second year PGR in Warwick's Department of History. My research project, titled ‘Pledged by Habit, Connection or Personal Honour’? Friendship and Politics in the late Hanoverian Period: 1760-1837 is supervised by Professor Mark Knights and Professor Mark Philp.

I previously completed my BA, majoring in History and Political Science at the University of Melbourne (2014-2018), followed by a MScR in History at the University of Edinburgh (2018-2019). My research is focused on exploring the dynamics of political friendship in British politics during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Using archival sources, newspapers, pamphlets and parliamentary speeches, I explore both the rhetorical use of friendship and how friendship operated in practice in a political context in Britain. Through focusing on both well-known examples of friendships in politics, such as Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox, William Pitt the Younger and William Wilberforce, as well as the Duke of Wellington and Harriet Arbuthnot, alongside more quotidian examples, I intend interrogate the wider practices of political friendship throughout the late Hanoverian period, charting continuities and changes.

Research Interests

  • Late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century British Political History (Including England, Scotland, Ireland and the broader British Empire)
  • Sociability in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.
  • Friendship Studies
  • History of Emotions
  • History of Political Thought


Publications, Research Activities & Outreach:

Book Reviews:

Completed Dissertations:

  • MScR, History, University of Edinburgh, 2018-2019 - Dissertation: 'The Friends of Mr. Pitt: Political Friendship during the Age of Revolutions.' Supervised by Professor Gordon Pentland and Dr Benjamin Weinstein
  • BA (Hons), History, University of Melbourne, 2014-2017 - Dissertation: 'William Pitt the Younger and the Sedition and Treason Trials 1793-5,' Supervised by Professor Trevor Burnard.


'Poll Mania', Farrago Magazine, 21 March 2016 (republished on the University of Melbourne's 'Election Watch' Blog)

Conference Papers:

  • 'The Friends of Mr. Pitt' Without Pitt - The Reconstitution of a Political Network (Unsettling Certainties: Fourth Biennial Conference of the Society of the History of Emotions, University of Adelaide, November 2023)
  • 'Speaking Without Personality': 'Honourable Friend' and the Parliamentary Rhetoric of Friendship in the Eighteenth-Century House of Commons (Eighteenth-Century Emotion with Workshop of Memory and Emotions, Cambridge University, November 2023)
  • 'The Friends of Mr Pitt' and being a Friend of Pitt: William WIlberforce and Pitt's Political Network (Redefining 'the Age of Wilberforce': a Workshop, Cambridge University, September 2023)
  • “Bringing Pitt forward again, in spite of himself” - the political instrumentality of sociability, (Sociability in Politics, Food and Travel in the Early Modern Era Conference, Warwick, June 2023)

Conference Organisation:

  • Organising Committee Member, University of Warwick History Department Postgraduate Conference (May 2023); (May 2024).


Departmental Activities:

  • Co-Convener, Postgraduate Work in Progress Session, 2023-4
  • Postgraduate Representative, Departmental Research Committee, University of Warwick History Department, 2022-2023


2022-2026, PhD in History, University of Warwick

2018-2019, MScR in History, University of Edinburgh (with Distinction)

2014-2017, BA (Hons) in History, University of Melbourne (Upper Second Class Honours)

Brendan Tam