I studied History, Politics, and German Language and Literature at Heidelberg University, Germany, before completing a D.Phil. in Modern History 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 the Iberian world (c.1400 - c.1700). I am interested in how knowledge - such as legal, theological, scientific or historical knowledge - relates to political expertise and political decision-making. Currently, I am working on the dynamics of massacre in the early modern and modern world. I am focusing on the (self-)perception of perpetrators of mass killings and on the ways in which complex cultural norms shaped the exercise and experience of violence. My research joins the histories of political thought and culture with the histories of violence and emotion. I also have a growing interest in ideas about societal change and alternative futures as expressed, for instance, in utopian and dystopian texts.
I am the editor-in-chief of Renaissance and Early Modern Worlds of Knowledge, the flagship book series of the Society for Renaissance Studies (www.rensoc.org). I am also the founding editor (with Pedro Cardim, Universidad Nova de Lisboa) of a new book series Early Modern Iberian History in Global Contexts: Connexions (Routledge)
Prizes or Honours
- Visiting Professor (Ecole Normale Superieur de Lyon, 2017)