I read History, Politics, and German Language and Literature at Heidelberg University, Germany, before completing a D.Phil. on early modern Catholic political thought at Oxford University. I joined the Department of History at Liverpool in 2004, after holding postdoctoral fellowships and temporary lectureships at Oxford, King's College London and the London School of Economics.
I am a historian of late medieval and early modern political culture with an emphasis on Iberian empires and the Catholic world more widely (c.1400 - c.1700). My research connects the histories of knowledge, religion, and violence. More precisely, I study how distinct fields of knowledge (e.g. legal, theological, or historical knowledge) relate to political discourse, experience and practice. Currently, I am working on dynamics and discourses of massacre in the early modern and modern world. I focus on the (self-)perception of perpetrators of mass killings, and the ways in which complex cultural norms shaped the exercise and experience of violence. I also have a growing interest in pre-modern narratives of change and alternative future (e.g. Utopian texts) and how they relate to contemporary perceptions and representations of possible futures.
I am the founding editor (with Pedro Cardim, Universidad Nova de Lisboa) of 'Early Modern Iberian History in Global Contexts: Connexions' (Routledge), a book series that offers comparative and global perspectives on the Iberian presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. I am also the founding editor and co-editor (with Emily Michelson, University of St Andrews) of 'Renaissance and Early Modern Worlds of Knowledge', the flagship book series of the Society for Renaissance Studies (www.rensoc.org.uk).