I research and teach the global history of empires. I am interested in the political and legal history of colonisation; the imperial experiences of colonised peoples; and the dynamics of cross-cultural encounters -- these are all issues that have an impact upon contemporary problems.
My current research reassesses how we think about international law. In my British Academy-funded project on 'Legal Encounters at the Origins of International Law', I want to shift the focus away from European theorists of international law, who are still the main object of scholarly study today, to the legal negotiations conducted by non-Europeans and Europeans in the Americas, Africa and the Pacific from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. I am interested in investigating whether the legal world in which non-European and European societies interacted was far more flexible and inclusive than what past jurists, and scholars studying them, have asserted.
Global history of European empires
History of dispossession and Indigenous rights
The significance of diplomatic negotiations for European and non-European empires