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Reader in Modern European History, University of Glasgow

My primary areas of research interest include, firstly, the French Revolution (both within France and in pursuit of its wider geographical impact), secondly, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and, thirdly, the ‘domino’ revolutions, meaning such revolutionary waves as those of 1848 in Europe.

I am currently involved in three research projects:

The first is on Paris during the Revolution, drawing comparisons with New York and London in the same period. The book (for Little, Brown) will seek to evoke a sense of place, but its scholarly purpose is to explore the relationship between urban space and revolutionary and popular politics, and to investigate the many ways in which the built environment was part of the wider evolution in democratic political culture in the late eighteenth-century Atlantic world. This work has been supported by two grants from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities in Scotland, in 2011 and 2012, for archival research in Paris and New York.
The second project is an exploration of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars as a global conflict. This book (for Atlantic, London) traces the worldwide resonances of the conflict, engaging with such issues as imperialism, maritime and continental power, slavery and emancipation, trans-national cultural relations and ideas of human rights, conquest and ‘race’. This research has supported by a grant from the Carnegie Trust, in 2009, for research in the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence.
The third project, on the ‘domino revolutions’, investigates and compares revolutionary waves, and involves collaboration with a number of colleagues (including my friend Dr. Kevin Adamson at the University of Stirling). We are investigating the ‘domino effect’ in modern revolutions, drawing comparisons between the phenomena as they arose, in particular, in Europe in 1848, Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and the Middle East in 2011, but we are also taking other such movements into account, such as the revolutions in the late eighteenth-century Atlantic world, those of 1830 in Europe and the impact of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. This work analyses the causes, course and effects of the rapid spread of revolution across time, space and cultures.
I am also completing a book on Europe from the fall of Napoleon in 1815 to the Revolutions of 1848 (for Palgrave). I am currently editing the Oxford Handbook to Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century.
I was born in New York, but I studied History at the University of Edinburgh, undertook my PhD thesis on the French Revolution at the University of Bristol (under the supervision of Professor William Doyle) and, after a short spell at the University of Sunderland, taught at the University of Stirling for seventeen years before joining the School of Humanities at Glasgow in February 2013. When not teaching, writing and researching, I enjoy hillwalking (although I am not a Munro bagger), visiting museums and historical sites, sampling real ale and spending time with my wife (who teaches Scottish history) and my daughter. We are currently training a guide dog puppy and are long-suffering followers of Scotland’s national rugby team.


  • –present
    Reader in Modern European History, University of Glasgow