I work on early modern Europe, particularly focusing on sixteenth-century social, religious, and political history in Britain. I have long been fascinated by questions of creation and renewal: how do societies repair themselves after moments of fundamental change, and how do social fabrics mend after episodes of destruction? My current research explores these questions in the context of the long reformation of Elizabethan England, focusing particularly on the negotiation and enforcement of conformity in everyday lives. My next project will broaden these questions transnationally to investigate early modern European immigration into Britain.
Popular politics, microeconomics, and social structures
Early modern immigration history
I am currently finishing a book manuscript entitled A People’s Reformation? Religion, Politics, and Society in the English Parish, 1560-1600. Rather than examining the destruction of the early decades of the Reformation, this project focuses instead on the complicated and ideologically-charged process of creation: the building of new institutions, ideas, identities, and ideologies in the post-Reformation church. At its core, this project examines how and why England became a Protestant, post-Reformation nation: how English men and women reacted to the enormous social, political and religious rifts opened by the Reformation and how the Church was able to reintegrate itself into a changing English society.
My next project, Strangers in a Strange Land: Immigration and Identity in Early Modern England, considers issues of transnational and immigration history in early modern Europe, examining mass ideological immigration into England following the waves of Protestant Dutch refugees fleeing the invasion of Catholic Spain into the Low Countries in the late sixteenth century. This surge put new strains and stresses on the nascent systems of poor relief; challenged notions of identity, toleration, and orthodoxy within a centralizing state; and forced Englishmen and women to consider just what it meant to be ‘English’ in a modernizing world. By examining the long history of English immigration, this project both rejects the idea that immigration is somehow the problem or province of the modern world and unites English and European histories.