Born in France (Montpellier), I studied in Montpellier and later at the Sorbonne with professor François Crouzet before moving to Manchester to obtain my PhD. I held my Wellcome postdoctoral fellowship in Manchester at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, and then moved across the Pennines to lecture in the history department of the University of Huddersfield. I have been working at the University of Manchester since 2000. I have been editor of the European Review of History since 1994. I have chaired the editorial committee of Manchester University Press for a number of years and I now edit two book series: Cultural History of Modern War and Humanitarianism Key Debates and New Approaches as well as the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.
Since 2009 I have been a founding member and executive director of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (www.hcri.ac.uk) which combines the research interests of colleagues in the humanities and opens a dialogue with humanitarian workers and medical practitioners.