Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Animals and British religion; the English-speaking settler empire; colonial political and religious culture; colonial environmental history; colonial Anglicanism; religious responses to crisis in empire.

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Personal profile


Joe’s research interests and teaching specialisms lie primarily in modern British imperial, environmental, animal and religious history, with a particular focus on the political and religious culture of British settler communities. His first book - see the research pages for further information - considered the Church of England's relationship with the British empire, while the second, published 2021, tells the story of the long-running history of 'special worship' or 'national prayer' in settler colonies from the mid-eighteenth century to the First World War. Research for these books was made possible by fellowships with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and a 2019 visiting fellowship at the Australian National University in Canberra. His current work considers the place of nature in cultures of prayer and worship in modern Britain, with a primary focus on the Church of England's engagement with animal, natural world, and ecological issues.

Research interests

Joe’s current research considers the varied ways that churches in modern Britain, and the Church of England especially, have engaged with the natural world and ecological issues. A forthcoming journal article explores how far the intermixing of human life with the lives of a great variety of non-human animals, both wild and domesticated, has been reflected in everyday worship in the Church of England since 1900.

Past research has focused on the overseas development of the Church of England, and more recently, the culture of community-wide worship that was a long-running feature of British settler societies at moments of acute crisis (droughts and wars) and celebration (the coming of peace, the birth of royals). Joe has also written on the history of religious responses to extreme weather and climate change.

His 2014 Manchester University Press book, An Anglican British World, considered how the Church of England dealt with migration and how an institution that enjoyed a privileged status in parts of the British Isles tried to maintain a new kind of establishment overseas, most notably by projecting new forms of cultural and ethnic authority across the empire of British settlement.

His second book - Providence, Prayer and Empire: Special Worship in the British World, 1783-1919 (Manchester University Press, 2021) - considers those moments when colonial populations of many faiths and ethnicities came together to pray for common causes and objects in times of crisis and celebration, and, in so doing, expressed a powerful, and often inclusive, sense of religious community.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

History, PhD

1 Oct 20041 Jun 2008

Award Date: 9 Jan 2009


Dive into the research topics where Joseph Hardwick is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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