I joined the University of Dundee in August 2017, having previously worked as Research Associate in British/Scottish History at the University of Manchester. Before that, I was a distance-learning tutor for Dundee, in association with the Open University, and a teaching assistant at the University of Stirling, this latter institution being the one from where I gained my PhD in 2012.
My research focuses on the political and social history of early modern Scotland, particularly the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. My initial work was on the Highlands, and analysed the relationship between Highlanders and the Scottish state. This produced many of my early publications, including my prize-winning first book, Governing Gaeldom: The Scottish Highlands and the Restoration State, 1660-1688 (Leiden, 2014). Having become interested in the experience of the ‘other’ or ‘outsider’ more generally, later research directions led me to explore Scottish migration to early modern England, as well as the history of criminality in Scotland. Currently, however, I am working on a political study of the reign of Charles II in Scotland, as part of which I am especially interested in analysing the ‘pre-history’ of the Anglo-Scottish Union and the extent to which the Restoration period influenced the eventual shape of ‘Great Britain’.
I am also Reviews Editor of the popular magazine History Scotland.
My research focuses on the social and political history of early modern Scotland, with a particular focus on the later seventeenth century. My initial interests, informing my doctoral thesis, were in the linkages between Highland and Lowland Scotland during the reigns of Charles II and James VII, a problem I approached within the broader paradigms of centre/periphery interaction and ‘state formation’ in early modern Europe. My research, and resulting publications, has tended to downplay the distinctiveness of the Highland experience, attempting instead to demonstrate the deep linkages (political, social, economic, religious and cultural) between Highlanders and the Scottish state
Although I retain a strong interest in Highland history, my research subsequently broadened out to incorporate the treatment of outsiders or ‘others’ in the early modern world. In particular, I have explored the experiences of Scots living in early modern England, assessing what this particular migratory movement can tell us about the emergence and nature of ‘Great Britain’ in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I have also looked into Scottish criminal justice, particularly in terms of asking how criminals were treated and what this can reveal about the ordering structures and assumptions of Scottish society.
Much of my work has focused on the period known as the ‘Restoration’ – the three decades between the return of Charles II to the British thrones in 1660, and the overthrown of his brother and successor, James VII & II, in 1688-9. Growing out of this focus, my current project is a political study of Charles II’s government in Scotland. Here, I am particularly interested in assessing the king’s personal influence over the development of Scottish policy, developing from this a deeper understanding of Scottish politics and political culture. I am also keen to assess the role of the Restoration period in the coming of parliamentary union in the eighteenth century – did Charles II’s era play a meaningful role in ‘preparing the ground’ for 1707, or was this a period of divergence, rather than convergence?
Charles II, King of Scots, under contract with Birlinn publishing
Governing Gaeldom: The Scottish Highlands and the Restoration State, 1660-1688 (Leiden, 2014)
Articles and Essays
“Their Maxim is Vestigia nulla restrorsum: Scottish Return Migration from England, 1603-c.1760’ (with Keith Brown), Journal of Social History, forthcoming 2018
‘Managing the Early-Modern Periphery: Highland Policy and the Highland Judicial Commission, c.1692-c.1705’, Scottish Historical Review, 96:1, (2017), 32-60
‘Feasting and Fighting? Projecting Authority amongst the Later Seventeenth Century Highland Elite’, in K Buchanan, L. Dean and M. Penman (eds.), Medieval and Early Modern Representations of Authority in Scotland and Great Britain (Abingdon, 2016), 177-93
‘Secular Crime and Punishment in Early-Modern Scotland: The Courts of Restoration Argyllshire, 1660-1688’, International Review of Scottish Studies, 41 (2016), 1-36
‘Rebellion, Government and the Scottish Response to Argyll’s Rising of 1685’, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 36:1( 2016), 40-59
‘Representing the Periphery: Highland Commissioners in the Seventeenth-Century Scottish Parliament’, Parliaments, Estates and Representation, 39:1 (2016), 14-34.
‘The Urban Community in Restoration Scotland: Government, Society and Economy in Inverness, 1660-c.1688’, Northern Scotland, 5 (2014), 26-49
‘The Condition of the Restoration Church of Scotland in the Highlands’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 65:2 (2014), 309-326
‘Reducing that Barbarous Country: Center, Periphery and Highland Policy in Restoration Britain’, Journal of British Studies, 52:3 (2013), pp.597-614
“A heavy yock upon their necks’: Covenanting Government in the Northern Highlands, 1638-51’, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 30:2 (2010), pp.93-122