I am Burnett Fletcher Chair of History. Born and brought up in Edinburgh, I was educated at St Andrews University, the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, where I wrote my doctorate under the supervision of Professor Norman Davies.
After three years as a schoolteacher, I joined the department of history at King's College London in September 1987. I was promoted to reader in 2001, and served for three years as Head of Department, until 2004, when I was appointed to a chair in Early Modern History at the University of Aberdeen, and to the headship of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, which I held until 2009.
I have held the Burnett Fletcher Chair in History at Aberdeen since 2013. In 2009 I was awarded a three-year Research Chair by the British Academy and the Wolfson Foundation for my history of the Polish-Lithuanian union. Oxford University Press published the first volume of this study in 2015: The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania, volume 1 The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569. In July 2016 I was elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy, and began a three-year Leverhulme Major Fellowship to work on volume two (2016-2019). Volume 1 was awarded the Pro Historia Polonorum prize in 2017 for the best work on Polish History published by a foreign author between 2012 and 2017. It also received the 2017 prize from the Polish Foreign Ministry for the best foreign-language book on Polish history published between 2015 and 2017, and the Benedict the Pole prize, awarded by the Travellers Club. A Polish translation of volume one appeared in October 2018, published by Rebis. In 2020 I was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania, and was elected to the Fellowships of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Akademia UmiejÄ™tnoÅ›ci).