My main expertise and interests are in the history of law, its intellectual foundations, and its interaction with society and the economy. I am particularly interested in legal reform and its limitations, especially in eighteenth-century Britain and the 20th -century USA. My other research interests relate to the history of western political thought.
I started out as an early modernist, and my previous publications include monographs on the Counter-Reformation in the Habsburg monarchy (OUP 2001), and on the constitutional debates of the British Civil War (Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 2009). My research has been externally funded by the British Academy and international funding bodies, and I am currently PI for an AHRC-funded project in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust. I have experience in working with the media and schools, and with partner institutions in the UK, Europe, and the United States. I am interested in developing further collaborations with public and private sector partners.
I welcome inquiries from prospective postgraduate students, and would be happy to advise on suitable topics for Master’s theses and PhD projects.
Academic career: I studied General and Medieval History, Economic History, and German at the universities of Bochum and Oxford, and gained a First Class with Distinction for my Joint Honours MA. I am a Rhodes Scholar, and hold a D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University. From 1998 to 2003, I was a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in London, where I was editor of Research on British History in the Federal Republic of Germany. Prior to joining Swansea University in September 2005, I was Lecturer in History at the University of Bochum.
I am a member of the Selden Society for English Legal History, and of HOTCUS (Historians of the Twentieth-Century US). I was awarded a research fellowship at the Max-Planck-Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt on receiving the Helmut-Coing Prize in 2008, and have since retained my affiliation with the Max-Planck-Institute.