This project aims to analyse the way physical geography was dealt with in 17th Century accounts of Natural Law. Central to this will be a re-reading of certain key texts in terms of how they deal with the physical terrain and broader environmental issues. Traditionally, questions to do with the terrain have often been read in relation to the politics of state formation. In this narrative, discussions around the topic are presented as part of a wider analyses of statecraft. Whilst a significant understanding of Natural Law, this ‘state-centred’ approached fails to acknowledge the way ideas aound physical the terain fit in to the original theory. Through examining how the conventional ‘political’ readings of textual references to the terrain correspond with the authors other research interests, this project will demonstrate how physical geography was a persistent concern for Seventeenth Century Natural Law theorists. Before coming to Oxford, I completed a Mphil at Sussex University entitled ‘Landscapes of Progress: The Place of Physical Geography in Scottish Enlightenment accounts of Stadial Theory’. The thesis demonstrated the role played by the physical terrain in explanations of historical progress givern by four stadial theorists. In addition to this, I became interested in the way the Humanities discipline engages with questions sourounding Climate Change and co-edited volume entitled Climate Change and the Humanities: Historical, Philosophical and Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Contemporary Environmental Crises.
More broadly I am interested in
The connection between historical ideas and environmental concerns.
Methodological debates within Intellectual History.
The nature of histoical understanding and its connection with Political Theory.