Research Topic: Funded jointly by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and New College, my research centres broadly on the depiction of religious diversity in seventeenth-century British and French travel accounts, particularly those written by clerics who lived, worked and travelled within the Islamic world, stretching from the Eastern Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, scores of Britons travelled to the Islamic world, particularly to the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires, and to the Muslim sultanates of North Africa. Among this diverse group of men - and sometimes women too - there were diplomats, merchants, clerics, scholars, spies, travel writers, soldiers, servants and captives, all of whom had their own ambitions, fears and prejudices. My PhD thesis will therefore ask the following questions of this variegated group of British travellers: what kind of exposure did they have to the religious diversity of the Islamic world, and what did they make of its varying forms of religious practice and belief, including Islam, Eastern Christianity and Hinduism? How did they make sense of the religious changes that convulsed the Muslim world during this period, such as the intensification of the Sunni-Shi’i divide, the rise of millenarianism, and the growing influence of disparate forms of Sufism? And why did they think and write what they did about the religions of the Islamic world, and how did they use these systems of belief to reflect on the state of seventeenth-century British society? As a way into these questions, my thesis will explore a combination of journals, correspondence and published works composed by contemporary British travellers to the Muslim world, particularly Church of England clerics, most of whom served as chaplains for English trading companies in the region.
At present, I am examining the writings of Sir George Wheler (1651-1724), an Anglican cleric and scholar, who visited parts of Greece and Turkey between 1675 and 1676, in the company of the French doctor and antiquarian Jacob Spon (1647-85). I have also studied the writings of Edward Terry (c. 1590-1660) and John Covel (1638-1722), who served as chaplains to English ambassadors in the Mughal and Ottoman Empires, respectively (served 1616-19 and c. 1670-78). Naturally I welcome any queries about these aspects of my research!
My broader research interests include seventeenth-century European travel and travel literature; Europe’s relations with and perceptions of the Islamic world from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment; seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British and French history, particularly religious and intellectual; the practice of Islam in the seventeenth-century Islamic world, particularly in the Mughal and Ottoman Empires; and non-Muslim communities in seventeenth-century Islamic states, particularly Eastern Christians.
2017 - present: PhD (DPhil) in History, University of Oxford.
2015-2017: MA in Global History, University of Warwick.
2011-2015: BA (Hons) in French and History, University of Warwick, with year abroad at l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2013-2014
Teaching & Outreach:
July 2020: graduate outreach assistant, UNIQ Outreach Programme, Faculty of History, Oxford.
2019 - present: member of research team for ‘Medieval & Early Modern Orients’, or MEMOs, https://memorients.com/, AHRC-funded project which aims to further knowledge & understanding of England’s relations with Islam & Islamic cultures & societies during the Medieval & early modern periods.
November 2018: graduate outreach assistant, Oxford Pathways, Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
October - December 2018: graduate teaching assistant, 'The Crisis of the Reformation: Britain, France and the Netherlands, 1560-1610' (third-year undergraduate history module, Faculty of History, Oxford).
May 2020: ‘Using the Global to Negotiate the Local: Early Modern English Clerics & the Religious Diversity of the Ottoman World: The Case of Sir George Wheler (1651-1724)’; Graduate Conference in European History, European University Institute, Florence (via Zoom).
February 2020: ‘Restoration Clerics & the Religious Diversity of the Ottoman World: The Case of Sir George Wheler, 1651-1724’; Early Modern Britain Seminar, Merton College, Oxford.
September 2019: ‘Edward Terry, John Covel & the Depiction of Religious Practice & Belief in the Mughal & Ottoman Empires, 1616-1722’; Cambridge AHRC DTP Annual Conference (‘Trust & Truth’), Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge.
June 2019: ‘An English Chaplain & the Religious Diversity of Mughal India, 1616-1655’; Oxford Sudbury Transnational & Global History Seminar (‘Graduate Approaches to Global History’), Nuffield College, Oxford.
February 2019: ‘Edward Terry & the Muslims of Mughal India, 1616-1655’; ‘New Approaches to Cultural History in the Early Modern World’, Freie Universität Berlin.
September 2018: ‘Reassessing the Utility for Historians of Seventeenth-Century European Travel Literature: Edward Terry & the Muslims of Mughal India’; Rothermere American Institute Annual Postgraduate Conference (‘Incredible: Lying, Credibility & the Truth in Historical Research’), Oxford.
March 2018: ‘Negotiating Islam: Sir Thomas Roe & Religious Difference at the Mughal & Ottoman Courts, 1615-1628’; Early Modern Britain Seminar, Merton College, Oxford.
May 2016: ‘Anglo-Ottoman Diplomacy during the Seventeenth Century: The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe, 1621-1628’; Department of History Postgraduate Conference, Warwick.
March 2016: ‘Propaganda, Persuasion & the mission civilisatrice: French Cinematic & Television News during the Algerian War, 1954-1962’; British Conference of Undergraduate Research, Manchester Metropolitan University.