Research Interests

Research Themes

My research over the last 35 years has centred on the history of religion in western Europe during the ‘long- eighteenth century of c.1680-1830 (especially in France and Britain), with a particular focus on the clergy in politics and intellectual life. However, I also have a strong interest in élite politics in the same era, especially the parliamentary role of the British peerage and the life and times of William, 2nd earl of Shelburne (1737-1805). Secondary research areas include eighteenth-century religious art; Anglo-French interactions and exchanges, particularly in religion and politics; court culture and ceremonial; state patronage and the political uses of the honours system. The distinctive character of my work in political and religious history is well known across the United Kingdom, in France and in the United States. It is recognised both by publishing contracts with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Reaktion Books, and financial awards for study in French and North American archives.

Current Research Projects

I am completing a book provisionally entitled Oxford and the Enlightenment: the University and the cultural life of eighteenth-century Britain. It is a wide-ranging monograph of approximately 140,000 words to be published by Oxford University Press in 2017. My second major project is a research edition of volume two of The Correspondence of James Boswell and William Johnson Temple 1756-1795, part of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell. I am also completing two articles on the eighteenth-century Premier, the earl of Shelburne.


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