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Director of the Reformation Studies Institute, University of St Andrews

My research focuses on the long-term impact of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations on German society and culture. The most distinctive element of my approach is the incorporation of visual evidence into the broader frameworks of religious history. My first monograph, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500-1648 (Cambridge, 2007), drew on both textual and visual sources to analyse the significance of Marian piety during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

My second monograph, A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany (Oxford, 2017), was published recently. It explains how and why Lutheranism—a confession that insisted upon the pre-eminence of God’s Word—became a visually magnificent faith, a faith whose adherents produced, during the eighteenth century, monuments as splendid as the Frauenkirche in Dresden. I am spending 2017-18 as a visiting fellow at the Freie Universität in Berlin in order to work on my next major project, which focuses on religious life during and after the Thirty Years' War.

My teaching follows my research interests closely. I lecture and tutor for MO1007, ‘The Early Modern Western World, c.1450-c.1750’. At third-year level, I currently offer a selection of modules focusing on the social and cultural history of early modern Europe: ‘Art and Piety’, ‘Women and Men’ and ‘Witches and Witch-hunting’. My fourth-year special subject is on ‘The German Hercules: Martin Luther and Germany 1517-2000’ and there is an account of the field trip that we took to Germany in March 2017 on the School blog.


  • –present
    Director of the Reformation Studies Institute, University of St Andrews