Tutorial Fellow in History
BA, MA, DPhil (Oxon.)
Associate Professor of History
Tutor and Fellow in History at Brasenose, and Lecturer at St. John's.
Academic Background and Previous Positions
I studied Ancient and Modern History at Oxford (1996), and then History and Anthropology at University College London before returning to Oxford for my DPhil in History (2002). I then moved to Cambridge, first to a Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, and then in 2008 to a College Lectureship at Churchill and Murray Edwards College. I joined Brasenose and St. John's in 2011.
Undergraduate Teaching Areas
Early Modern Global and European history
Graduate Teaching Areas
I welcome research students in early modern world history, particularly cultural and religious encounters in Asia, and in Sri Lankan history.
My most recent publication is a theoretical book about religion and politics in the premodern world (Unearthly Powers – see below). This will be followed by a companion book, Converting Kings: Kongo, Japan, Thailand and Hawaii Compared 1450-1850 (Cambridge, forthcoming), about why rulers in some parts of the world converted to Christianity and others did not.
I initially specialized in the history of Sri Lanka c.1500-1650, which is when the island came under the influence of Portuguese imperialism. My work has increasingly adopted a more comparative or inter-disciplinary approach, and addressed such themes as origin myths, ethnic consciousness, and sacred kingship.
See Faculty page below, for full list.
Unearthly Powers: Religious and Political Change in World History (Cambridge 2019)
Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History, ed. Zoltán Biedermann and Alan Strathern (UCL Press, 2017)
Kingship and Conversion in Sixteenth-Century Sri Lanka: Portuguese Imperialism in a Buddhist Land (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Global Early Modernity and the Problem of What Came Before, Past & Present, Volume 238, Issue suppl_13, 1 November 2018, Pages 317–344
‘The Vijaya Origin Myth of Sri Lanka and the Strangeness of Kingship', Past and Present 203 (May 2009), 3-28.
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