My main expertise and interests are in the history of law, its intellectual foundations, and its interaction with society, politics, culture, and the economy. I am particularly interested in legal reform and its limitations. My other research interests relate to the history of western political thought.
My primary specialism is in early modern history, and my previous publications include monographs on the Counter-Reformation in the Habsburg monarchy (OUP 2001), and on the constitutional debates of the seventeenth-century British Civil War (Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 2009). My research has been externally funded by the British Academy and international funding bodies, and I am currently PI, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust, for an AHRC-funded project on Tudor visual culture and spirituality.
I have experience in working with the media and schools, and with partner institutions in the UK, Europe, and the United States. I am interested in developing further collaborations with public and private sector partners.
I welcome inquiries from prospective postgraduate students, and would be happy to advise on suitable topics for Master’s theses and PhD projects.
Academic career: I studied General and Medieval History, Economic History, and German at the universities of Bochum and Oxford, and gained a First Class with Distinction for my Joint Honours MA. I am a Rhodes Scholar, and hold a D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University. From 1998 to 2003, I was a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in London, where I was editor of Research on British History in the Federal Republic of Germany. Prior to joining Swansea University in September 2005, I was Lecturer in History at the University of Bochum.
I am a member of the Selden Society for English Legal History, and the British Society for Renaissance Studies. I was awarded a research fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt on receiving the Helmut-Coing Prize in 2008, and have since retained my affiliation with the Max-Planck Institute.