+44 (0)113 34 33604
Summary: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain; Yorkshire and the North; religious history; intellectual history
I took my BA and MA from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1981 and was subsequently elected a Prize Fellow of All Souls, College, Oxford, where I was awarded my D.Phil. and where I remain as an Extraordinary Research Fellow. My doctoral research, supervised by Lord Briggs and Dr. Bryan Wilson, was on the social history of religion and the secularisation question. I came to Leeds as Lecturer in Local and Regional History in 1989 and was promoted to the position of Professor of Modern History in 2011. I was a Visiting Professor in History and the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago in 1991-92 and I have lectured in British history and in the history of ideas at the University of Texas, Austin as well as other universities in the United States and elsewhere. I have been Chichele Lecturer in History at the University of Oxford on a number of occasions since 2001.
I have been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 1997 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London) since 2001.
My principal field of research is in the religious and intellectual history of Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I also work on the history of political thought, more generally.
Current Research Projects
I delivered the Birkbeck Lectures in Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge in 2013-14. These will be published by Cambridge University Press as The Rise and Fall of the Faithful City: Christianisation and De-Christianisation in England, c. 1850-1950 (in 2015/16). I am also working on a new, critical, edition of the diary of William Inge, Dean of St. Pauls, 1911-34. I hope to publish this in the Royal Historical Society, Camden Series. I continue to work on the multi-volume history of All Souls College, Oxford. My next book in this project will be a narrative history of the college since 1850, to be published c. 2016. Over the next few years, I plan to publish a series of articles on Alexis de Tocqueville and his relationship with the early-nineteenth century British intelligentsia.
I was a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow in 2011-12 and my work has been funded by these bodies, as well as the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Nuffield Foundation and All Souls College, Oxford. I have organized conferences at the Universities of Leeds, Oxford and elsewhere.
Religion in the Age of Decline: Organisation and Experience in Industrial Yorkshire, c. 1870-1920 (Cambridge University Press, 1996; paperback edition, 2002)
The Boundaries of the State in Modern Britain, edited with Richard Whiting (Cambridge University Press, 1996; paperback edition, 2002)
All Souls under the Ancien Regime: Politics, Learning and the Arts, c. 1600-1850, edited with Peregrine Horden (Oxford University Press, 2007)
The Philosophy, Politics and Religion of British Democracy: Maurice Cowling and Conservatism, edited with Robert Crowcroft and Richard Whiting (I.B. Tauris, 2010)
The Passing of Protestant England: Secularisation and Social Change, c. 1920-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2010; paperback and e-book editions, 2012)
All Souls and the Wider World: Statesmen, Scholars and Adventurers, c. 1850-1950, edited with Peregrine Horden (Oxford University Press, 2011)
I have also published more than 50 articles, chapters and essays on various aspects of the social history of religion, the history of political thought and the history of the universities in edited collections, learned journals and other periodicals.
I have served (with G.C.F. Forster) as co-editor of Northern History since 1997. Together with Dr. C.E. Challis, we published Essays in Northern History in Honour of Maurice W. Beresford as volume XXXVII of the journal in 2000.
I have supervised a large number of research students for M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in the field of modern British history, with particular reference to religious and intellectual history, both in the Universities of Leeds and Oxford. I welcome enquiries from potential applicants contemplating research in this area.
I am currently Director of the taught M.A. in Modern History at the University of Leeds.
Documentary Study: Walter Bagehot and The English Constitution (HIST1300)
Early-Victorian England, 1837 to 1865 (HIST2100)
Later-Victorian England, 1865 to 1901 (HIST2101)
De Tocqueville and The Democratic Régime (HIST3391)
Outreach / Wider Community
I am a Trustee of the Social Affairs Unit and serve as one of the Editorial Trustees of Standpoint magazine. I also contribute reviews and essays to this and other popular periodicals. I have addressed a number of local history societies and schools, including my alma mater, Hampton Grammar School. I was a Governor of Tonbridge School between 1998 and 2005. I was Sub-Warden of All Souls College, Oxford between 2002 and 2004.