CMRS Career Development Fellow
My research interests cover early modern politics, religion, print culture, and intellectual culture and the interactions between them. At present, I am researching the cultural history of Tudor diplomacy, considering how English diplomatic practice, personnel and theory adapted to three major sixteenth century developments: the introduction of resident ambassadors, the English Reformation and female rule. I am also interested in the role of diplomacy as a site of cultural exchange, diplomatic gifts, the circulation of ideas and texts through diplomatic channels, ambassadors’ intellectual and religious networks, the effectiveness and uniformity of royal iconography, the equipping of diplomats and the impact of ambassadorial service on politicians’ notions of the English state. Diplomatic activity was a crucial form of political culture where even seemingly small actions has the potential to influence the relations between princes. Only by understanding the ways in which diplomacy was conducted can we truly understand how and why England interacted with its neighbours in this period in the manner it did.
I am also PI on an interdisciplinary international research network 'Textual Ambassadors' which is funded by the AHRC. This brings together experts in literature, history and cultural studies to investigate the relationship between literature and diplomacy in the early modern world. For more information see http://www.textualambassadors.org/
As well as working on diplomacy, I retain an interest in Tudor politics, humanism and the English Reformation. These were major themes in my first book, which examined the activities of Henry VIII’s most prolific propagandist, Richard Morison (c.1513-56). Active as a polemicist during the crucial years of the 1530s, Morison wrote many of the tracts that justified Henry’s religious policies and political manoeuvres. He also played a role in the English Reformation, was a noted humanist and active politician, who represented Edward VI at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V before ending his life as a religious exile. I have also written several articles and essays on diplomacy, propaganda, print culture, and religion in the sixteenth century.