Personal profile


I am a specialist in the literature and culture of the Atlantic world in the period 1650-1850. I have published extensively on the cultures of slavery and abolition, colonial America, and discourses of science and exploration in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially natural history and the early life sciences. I am currently in receipt of a British Academy/Wolfson Foundation Professorship to work on ‘The Parish Revolution: Parochial Origins of Global Conservationism’. This project explores to the contribution of the clergy to the development of natural history, and their lasting influence on the nature of the conservation movement. You can find out more about the project here.

I came to Northumbria in 2016, before which I had taught at Kingston University London for 15 years. I studied English and History at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, and then took my MA and PhD in English at Queen Mary, University of London. To help develop my scientific understanding, I took a BSc in Natural Sciences with the Open University, which concluded with an ecological study of seaweed species on the Northumberland coast.

I am active within the scholarly community and have been Conference Organiser, Treasurer, International Officer, and, most recently, President of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. I have also been President of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (UK and Ireland) and President of the Literary London Society. I am a fellow and currently a council member of the Linnean Society of London. You can find more information about my research and career, as well as many free resources for studying literature, slavery, empire, and natural history on my website.

Education/Academic qualification

Environmental Studies/Science, BSc (Hons), BSc Natural Sciences, specialising in environment, evolution, and ecology. , Open University Milton Keynes

1 Sept 200931 Aug 2014

Award Date: 1 Sept 2014

English Literature, PhD, The Rhetoric of Sensibility: Argument, Sentiment, and Slavery in the Late Eighteenth Century, Queen Mary University of London

1 Sept 199631 Aug 2000

Award Date: 31 Aug 2000

English Literature, MA, The Poetry of Anti-Slavery; 1787-94, Queen Mary University of London

1 Sept 199531 Aug 1996

Award Date: 1 Sept 1996

English, BA (Hons) English and History, Goldsmiths, University of London

1 Sept 199231 Aug 1995

Award Date: 1 Sept 1995


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