My research is on nineteenth century British political and intellectual history, in international perspective. It also deals more broadly with the histories of modern imperial, international, and legal thought.
I teach papers across British, European, and world history, as well as intellectual history options. I supervise dissertations on modern Britain, its empire, and aspects of modern political thought.
My research centres on British politics and political ideas in the nineteenth century. Its main aim is to understand better how political change in the globe's dominant power related to its international contexts. My work asks questions about the ideological divisions created by British imperial and foreign policy; about interactions with other European, Atlantic, and colonial polities; and about political, legal, and economic thought on connected themes. Much of my writing focuses on British Liberalism, but it casts a distinctively wide geographical net. I am more generally interested in the interfaces between politics, geopolitics, and intellectual history, and in forging links with other national-imperial historiographies.
I am finishing a book called Rethinking Empire: English Liberalism and Imperial Government, 1820-1860, which argues that debates about Britain's machinery of imperial rule underpinned the formation of British Liberalism and the Liberal Party. It makes the case that imperial political thought, and the problem of 'liberalism and empire', can be better understood when connected with party politics and schemes of inter-imperial comparison. My next monograph will examine the impact of Latin America, and projects of 'informal empire' there, on nineteenth century British politics and ideas. It will argue that competing visions of the region developed between Atlantic public spheres, building new connections between the Iberian, Latin, and English-speaking worlds. But the book will show that these visions depended just as fundamentally on European geopolitical imperatives, interventions, and strategies, in the lengthening shadow of an imperially ambitious United States. There is an overview of some of the issues involved here. After that, I plan to produce a broader study of British Liberalism in relation to liberalisms and legal regimes overseas.
I also enjoy writing on the historiographies of politics, ideas, and empire. There is a list of my reviews and review essays on my college webpage.