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I am a historian of the intellectual, cultural and religious history of early modern Europe, and of its relationship with the wider world. I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2010. Since then, I have held positions at Trinity College, Cambridge and All Souls College, Oxford. In 2022–23, I am a Visiting Professor at the Rogers Research Institute for the History of Science at Caltech and the Huntington Library. In 2016 I received the inaugural Leszek Kołakowski Prize in Intellectual History.
First and foremost, I am historian of knowledge and the way it changes across time and place, focussing in particular on the period between the 16th and 19th centuries. I have written about the history of philosophy, science, medicine, scholarship, theology, orientalism, and legal and political thought. The history of pre-modern knowledge is at the moment a very exciting field: if you’d like to know more about it, you might enjoy this Blog on the website of the Oxford Centre for Intellectual History.
You can follow up my writing on the Publications and Non-Academic writing pages. My first book, Ancient Wisdom in the Age of the New Science (Cambridge University Press, 2015), was named as one of the 2016 Books of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement. My most recent book, The Kingdom of Darkness, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.
If you are a student and cannot get hold of my publications electronically or in your institutional library, please get in touch and I shall supply you with an electronic copy where it is available.
I supervise graduate students at both Masters and PhD level, and always welcome initial approaches from potential students.
I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. As well as my academic work, I write for the London Review of Books, the Literary Review, and the Times Literary Supplement. I also speak at schools, and am happy to receive requests to do so (please contact me by email in the first instance).