I am is an historian at Ohio University, where I teach courses in early modern British and European religious, political and intellectual history. Born and brought up in Ruston, Louisiana, I did my undergraduate work at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and my graduate work at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. The founding director of the George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics and Institutions, I am a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the former president of the Southern Conference on British Studies, and a recent COFUND Senior Research Fellow at Durham University.
My research concerns religion and society in Britain during the ‘long’ eighteenth century. In addition to co-editing God in the Enlightenment (2016) and Between Sovereignty and Anarchy: The Politics of Violence in the American Revolutionary Era (2015), I have published Religion, Reform and Modernity in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Secker and the Church of England (2007).
I am currently at work on two projects which illuminate the ways that the eighteenth-century English remained traumatised by the ‘troubles’ of the previous century. The first, A Warfare upon Earth: Religion and Enlightenment from Newton to Hume, explores the relationship between theology, natural philosophy and history, c. 1714–60, by way of the intertwined careers of Conyers Middleton, William Warburton, Daniel Waterland and Zachary Grey. Research and writing for A Warfare upon Earth has been sponsored in part by a grant from the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs Program. The second book project, Enlightened Intolerance: England, Ireland and the Burden of History in the Eighteenth Century, is a book-length study which examines the place of Ireland in the English official mind, c. 1714–83, especially regarding religion.