My broad interest is in early-modern European intellectual history, and more particularly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century political thought, moral philosophy and psychology. I teach courses on the history of European political thought ranging from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, on ideas about human nature in the Renaissance, on the history and historiography of the Roman republic, and 'Concepts, categories, and the practice of history'.
My principal research investigates early-modern ideas about melancholy and dreams, addressing the interaction in this area between humanist medicine, ethics, theology and politics, and exploring their broad cultural-historical significance. I have also written about the methodology of intellectual history.
Areas of Research Supervision: Intellectual history from the Renaissance to the 17th Century, particularily in political and moral thought, medicine, natural philosophy, rhetoric, and theology.
Theses Currently Supervised:
-Military, commerce and morality
Theses Previously Supervised:
-Leopold von Ranke and the religious foundation of scientific history
- The worlds of Renaissance melancholy: Robert Burton in context, Cambridge University Press, 2006)
- 'The Problem of Early Modern Melancholy', Past & Present, 191 (2006)
- 'Rhetorical structure and function in The anatomy of melancholy', Rhetorica, 19 (2001)
- 'Ancient and Renaissance rhetoric and the history of concepts', Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought, 6 (2001)
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