The Ideas and Beliefs strand focuses on interpreting and understanding the political and religious values, attitudes and convictions of peoples in past societies.
The Ideas and Beliefs Research Strand draws together researchers from across the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, and has strong links with other schools from within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and beyond. The strand is dedicated to the understanding of ideas and beliefs across historical periods and geographical boundaries, and does so by making use of perspectives to studying the past which span History, Classics and Archaeology. We have a wide range of research interests, including Republicanism, Protestant and Catholic belief and practice, revolutionary ideologies, the reception of classical culture in later periods, pagan-Christian relations, ancient divination and providence, and musical theory. These interests span a vast chronological scope – from the Neolithic and the Bronze Age to the twentieth century – an expansive geographical range – including Britain, Europe, Russia and Japan – and a variety of methodological approaches – including material culture, the study of landscape, and a consideration of rituals and texts.
The strand's research focusses on the following areas:
- Civil Religion (we run a reading group on this theme and are organizing a range of workshops and conferences)
- the ways in which belief manifests itself in the landscape, space and in rituals (a range of scholars attached to the McCord Centre For Landscape work in this area)
- the study of intolerance, how it forms and is sustained and the role it plays in animating historical action; and how peoples of different belief systems interact (we have hosted several conferences on this theme and published widely on intolerance in a range of historical context)
- the role of ideas and beliefs in provoking, as well as resolving, historical action (such as conflict, revolution, state formations).
These research strengths are also reflected in the teaching on offer in the School. The themes of Ideas and Beliefs are an integral part of many of the School’s Team Taught modules at Stage 1 – such as Aspects of British History and Themes in European History – and are the focus of a number of Second and Third Year Modules – such as Religion and Politics in Tudor England and The European Enlightenment. The study of Ideas is an important part of the MA in British History, where two thematic modules like Ideas and Influences in British History and Pathways in British History involve a focussed study of the ideas and beliefs of peoples in the past, as do a range of modules in Classics and Archaeology, including Roman Egypt and The Archaeology of Byzantium and Its Neighbours.
There are synergies between the work of this strand and other areas of research strength within the School, in particular the Conflict and Revolution and the Empires and After research strands. Researchers active in Ideas and Beliefs are also heavily involved in the Medieval and Early Modern Study Group (MEMS) at Newcastle, and work collaboratively with scholars in English Literature, Music and French. The strand fosters a supportive research environment for developing research projects in these fields and is highly keen to offer Research Supervision in these areas, and to provide a home for Post-doctoral projects, and visiting scholars. We have a proven track record in these areas.
Dale R. 'Being a Real Man': Masculinities in Soviet Russia during and after the Great Patriotic War. In: Peniston-Bird C; Vickers E, ed. Gender and the Second World War: The Lessons of War. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp.116-134.
Manolopoulou V. Sensing Heaven on Earth: landscape, religious movement and sacred identity. In: Morris, C. and Papantoniou, G, ed. Unlocking Sacred Landscapes. Aström Editions, 2017.
Dale R. "No longer normal": Traumatized Red Army Veterans in Post-war Leningrad. In: Leese, P; Crouthamel, J, ed. Traumatic Memories of the Second World War and After. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp.119-141.
East K.A. Apocryphal Cicero: John Toland’s Cicero Illustratus and Notions of Authority in the Early Enlightenment. International Journal of the Classical Tradition 2016, 23(2), 108-126.
East K.A. Cicero the Pantheist: A Radical Reading of Ciceronian Scepticism in John Toland's Pantheisticon (1720). Intellectual History Review 2016, 26(2), 245-261.
Morton A. Popery, Politics and Play: visual culture in Succession Crisis England. The Seventeenth Century 2016, (ePub ahead of Print), 1-39.
Turner S., ÓCarragáin T. ed. Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe. Conversion and consolidation in the early Middle Ages. Cork: Cork University Press, 2016.
2015 and earlier2015 and earlier
Allen J. 'Uneasy transitions: Irish nationalism, the rise of Labour and the Catholic Herald, 1888-1918'. In: Laurence Marley, ed. The British Labour Party and Twentieth Century Ireland. The cause of Ireland, the cause of Labour. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2015, pp.35-54.
Allen J. “The Ink Of The Wise”: Mazzini, British Radicalism And Print Culture, 1848–1855. In: Carter, N, ed. Britain, Ireland and the Risorgimento. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Fowler C. Change and continuity in Early Bronze Age mortuary rites: a case study from Northumberland. In: Brandt, R., Ingvaldsen, H., Prusac, M, ed. Death and Changing Rituals: Function and meaning in ancient funerary practices. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2015, pp.45-91.
Fowler C., Scarre C. Mortuary practices and bodily representations in north-west Europe. In: Fowler, C; Harding, J; Hofmann, D, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe. Oxford University Press, 2015, pp.1023-1047.
Garrett P. Crime on the Estates: Justice and Politics in the Kōyasan Domain. Journal of Japanese Studies 2015, 41(1), 79-112.
Hammersley R., ed. Revolutionary Moments: Reading Revolutionary Texts. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.
Hammersley R. Concepts of Citizenship in France During the Long Eighteenth Century. European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire 2015, 22(3), 468-485.
Morton A. Images and the Senses in post-Reformation England. Reformation 2015, 20(1), 1-24.
Redgate, A. E, ‘Seeking Promotion in the Challenging 640s: The Amatuni Church at Ptghni, Ideas of Political Authority, and Paulician Challenge – a Background to the Teaching of Anania Shirakatsi’, Aramazd: Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies IX/1 (2015), pp. 163-176.
Racaut L. une juste moitié de vos livres«: le rôle de la propagande religieuse dans la production pamphlétaire. In: Médialité et intépretation contemporaine des premières guerres de Religion. 2014, Paris: De Gruyter.
Redgate, A. E. ‘Faces from the Past: Aghtamar, the Anglo-Saxon Alfred Jewel, and the Sasanian Chosroes Dish – Ideas and Influences in Portraiture’, Banber Matenadarani 21 (2014), pp. 331-340 (= Hrachya Tamrazyan (ed.), Proceedings of the 13th General Conference of AIEA (Yerevan: Nairi, 2014) (electronic version http://www.matenadaran.am/ftp/data/Banber-21.pdf free access).
Clarke N. ‘They are the most treacherous of people’: religious difference in Arabic accounts of three early medieval Berber revolts. eHumanista 2013, 24, 510-525.
Garrett P. Holy Vows and Realpolitik: Preliminary Notes on Kōyasan's Early Medieval Kishōmon. e-Journal of East and Central Asian Religions 2013, 1, 94-107.
Manolopoulou V. Processing emotion: litanies in Byzantine Constantinople. In: Nesbitt, C. and Jackson, M, ed. Experiencing Byzantium. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013, pp.153-172
Santangelo F. Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Clarke N. The Muslim Conquest of Iberia: Medieval Arabic Narratives. Abingdon: Routledge, 2012.
Find out which members of staff and research students are involved in this research theme.
Dr Joan Allen
Senior Lecturer in Modern British History BA PhD FRHS
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6701
Dr Jonathan Andrews
Reader in the History of Psychiatry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5756
Dr Scott Ashley
Lecturer in Medieval History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5075
Dr Claudia Baldoli
Senior Lecturer in European History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5755
Professor Jeremy Boulton
Professor of Urban History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6492
Dr Fergus Campbell
Reader in Social & Cultural History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6694
Dr Nicola Clarke
Lecturer in the History of the Islamic World; Degree Programme Director (DPD) for V100 and VL12
Dr David Creese
Lecturer in Classics; Head of Classics & Ancient History
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 6473
Dr Robert Dale
Lecturer in Russian History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7853
Dr James Gerrard
Senior Lecturer in Roman Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5502
Dr Rachel Hammersley
Senior Lecturer in Intellectual History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6698
Dr Matthew Haysom
Lecturer Ancient History & Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 2224
Dr John Holton
Lecturer in Ancient History
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 3132
Dr Sophie Hueglin
Dr Mark Jackson
Senior Lecturer in Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5240
Professor Tim Kirk
Professor of European History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5078
Dr Adam Morton
Lecturer in the History of Britain
Dr Thomas Rütten
Reader in the History of Medicine
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3547
Dr Federico Santangelo
Senior Lecturer in Ancient History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7978
Dr Joseph Skinner
Lecturer in Ancient Greek History
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 8996
Dr Rowland Smith
Lecturer in Ancient History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5057
Professor Sam Turner
Professor of Archaeology / Head of School / Director, McCord Centre
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8110
Dr Sally Waite
Teaching Fellow in Classics
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5330
Dr Jane Webster
Senior Lecturer in Historical Archaeology and Head of Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7575
Professor Jakob Wisse
Professor of Latin Language & Literature
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7974
Lauren Emslie – 'The Gods and the Intellectuals: Theological discussions of the late Roman Republic in Cicero’s De Natura Deorum'
Victoria Hughes – 'The culture and political world of the fourth century AD: Julian, paideia and education'
Meg Kobza - 'Ulterior Identities: Anonymity in the London and Transatlantic Public Spheres'
Emily Mitchelson – 'Agrarian Land Law and the Commonwealth Tradition'
Chris Mowat – 'Engendering the Future: Divination and the Construction of Gender in the Late Roman Republic'
Sam Petty - 'That Colonies have their Warrant from God'- English Protestant thought and theories of colonisation in the seventeenth-century'
Jen Scammell – 'Comparative Responses to Royal Deaths in the Atlantic World, 1751-1817'
Amy Shields - 'Republicanism in a European Context: The Influence of the Dutch and Venetian Republics on Seventeenth-Century English Thought'
Tom Whitfield - 'An Historical Archaeology of Later Eighteenth-Century Popular Protest in England'
Andrew Newton - 'The location of early medieval churches in Northumbria: conversion to a Christian landscape in northern England'
Workshop: Trajectories of Anti-Catholicism in Britain 1520-1900
Research Beehive, Newcastle University 21-22 March 2018
This two-day workshop will assess the various traditions of anti-Catholicism in British history. It will compare and contrast traditions in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, and trace continuities and change in anti-Catholic ideology across the centuries. Speakers will consider the role of stereotypes in the sustaining of anti-Catholicism, and discussion will focus on how prejudice and intolerance can be approached historically. The event will be interdisciplinary and will features presentations from historians, literary scholars and social psychologists.
DAY 1 (12.45-13.00) Welcome (Adam Morton)
13.00-15.45 Trajectories and National Perspectives
Commentator: Anthony Milton (University of Sheffield)
- Alan Ford (University of Nottingham): Ireland
- Clotilde Prunier (Paris): Scotland
- Paul O’Leary (Aberystwyth University): Wales
- John Wolffe (Open University): England
16.15-1800 Roundtable: Analysing Anti-Catholicism
Chair: Andrew Holmes (Queens University Belfast)
- John Craig (Simon Fraser University), Emma Turnbull (University of Oxford), Donald McRaild (University of Roehampton), Aishlinn Muller (University of Cambridge), Joan Allen (Newcastle).
DAY 2 (9-10.30) Approaching Prejudice and Intolerance
Chair: Adam Morton (Newcastle University)
- Cristian Tileaga (Loughborough University)
- Jovan Byford (Open University)
11.00-13.00: Roundtable: Anti-Catholic Stereotypes
Chair: Rachel Hammersley (Newcastle University)
- Carys Brown (University of Cambridge), Colin Haydon (Winchester University), Thomas Freeman (University of Essex), Adam Morton (Newcastle University), Naiyla Shamgunova (University of Cambridge)
14.00-15.00: Roundtable – Going Forward: Analysing Anti-Catholicism
Chair: Adam Morton (Newcastle University)
To register, please contact email@example.com
Workshop: Anti-Catholicism in Europe and America, 1520-1900
11-13 September 2018
A three-day workshop on anti-Catholicism in Europe and America will be held at Newcastle University between 11-13 September 2018. The aims of the workshop are to compare and contrast the anti-Catholic traditions of a range of countries and regions across Europe and America from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century; to see how definitions of ‘popery’ changed according to the political/religious context in which they were situated; and to assess how, why and to what extent anti-Catholicism might be seen to have contributed to wider historical processes such as the Reformation, Enlightenment, empire, state building and the formation of national identities.
The workshop will not be run via a series of formal papers, but will encourage discussion, exchange and interdisciplinary debate. We would like to encourage historians, art historians, theologians and literature scholars, and those from other disciplines and at all stages of their careers to participate in this workshop. If you are interested in contributing, please submit a 300 word abstract of your research interests and how they relate to one or more of the following themes to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30th 2018:
- Anti-Catholicism and National Identities
- Anti-Catholicism and the Atlantic World
- Anti-Catholicism in America
- Anti-Catholicism and the Reformation
- Anti-Catholicism and the Enlightenment
- Anti-Catholic readings of the past
- Conspiracy Theories
- Representations of ‘papists’
- Anti-Catholicism and politics/political thought
- Anti-Catholic violence, unrest, and riot
- Change and continuity in concepts of anti-Catholicism
- Catholic reactions to anti-Catholicism
It is expected that proceedings from the workshop will be published at a later date.
The workshop is being organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded network, Anti-Catholicism in British History: c. 1520-1900. The aim of this network is to outline the history of anti-Catholicism in Britain by focussing on how it contributed to political, cultural and religious movements during moments of crisis, by tracing the roles which stereotypes and conspiracy theories played in maintaining anti-Catholic ideology, and by assessing the ways in which anti-Catholicism changed across the centuries and how vital this change was to ensuring that it remained a significant part of ‘British’ and ‘Protestant’ identities. This workshop on Europe and America is intended to draw comparisons between nations: anti-Catholicism is often cited as being crucial to national identity, but was it, perhaps, a supra-national ideology? Given that so many countries and groups claimed it as a hallmark of their identity, can it be seen as a ‘national’ phenomenon in any meaningful sense?
Workshop: Anti-Catholicism in 19th Century Britain
Wednesday 31st January 2018
This half-day workshop will consider the various and contrasting roles which anti-Catholic ideology played in nineteenth century British society. Topics covered will include religion, patriotism, immigration, sexual politics and memory of the Reformation. The event is being chaired by Professor Hugh Macleod, FBA, and speakers include Dr Harry Cocks (Nottingham), Dr Andrew Atherstone (Oxford), Dr Sarah Roddy (Manchester) and Dr Jonathan Bush (Ushaw College, Durham). The event is being organised by the Ideas and Beliefs research strand in conjunction with the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies at Durham. To register, please contact email@example.com
Workshop: Re-assessing R. I. Moore's Formation of a Persecuting Society (1987)
Friday 15 September 2017
This event intends to celebrate and assess the contemporary relevance of R. I. Moore’s ‘Formation of a Persecuting Society’, first publishes in 1987, for the current historiography of mediaeval and early-modern Europe. The workshop will be divided into four sessions: firstly on the relevance of the concept of a persecuting society in contemporary mediaeval studies; second its impact on the scholarship of early-modern Europe; third on the use of the concept beyond the chronology and geography of the original work; and finally on the legacy of R. I. Moore’s scholarship on the historiography of exclusion, orthodoxy / heterodoxy and identity politics in general. The event celebrates Newcastle's contribution to these fields of scholarship, and the continued importance of a retired member of the School, his contribution to scholarship worldwide, and the impact of his work through translation and adaptation in other contexts than mediaeval history.
Speakers include: Professor R. I. Moore (Newcastle, Emeritus), Professor Mark Pegg (Washington, St Louis), Professor Robin Briggs (Oxford, Emeritus), Professor Mark Greengrass (Sheffield, Emeritus), Dr Julien Théry-Astruc (Lyon II), and Dr Simon Yarrow (Birmingham).
For more information please email Dr Luc Racaut.
Workshop: Early Modern Civil Religion
Thursday 14 September 2017
Recent scholarship has reintegrated the religious perspective into how the intellectual culture of the early modern period, particularly in the political sphere, can be understood. This has opened up new avenues of enquiry for those working on the role of scholarship (biblical, patristic, and classical) in intellectual engagement, scholars of philosophy and theology, as well as historians of culture, books, and political thought, consequently providing a much more varied understanding of how ideas were formed and justified. Yet in the midst of these developments, the reality of how the Church-State relationship was envisaged by those writing on politics and religion in this period remains under-explored. The notion of a ‘civil religion’ was a prominent feature of the discourse, but its ambiguity and the contradictions and difficulties involved in its practical realisation has left it as something of a by-stander in the intellectual history of the period. The arguments that were made for civil religion have been used by scholars as evidence for established interpretations of the period, whether that be for the existence of a ‘Radical Enlightenment’, or for the Christian Reformist tendencies of these so-called radicals, or as proof of continuity with existing traditions in republican, patristic, or classical ideologies.
This one-day workshop proposes to examine civil religion in early modernity on its own terms, rather than as a subsect of existing scholarly narratives. It seeks to bring together scholars from different disciplinary spheres in order to encourage reflection on this notion of ‘civil religion,’ and to construct an understanding of its specific contribution to its intellectual and cultural context. Possible points of discussion include:
What is ‘early modern civil religion’? Can a clear and unified understanding be established?
What intellectual arguments were used to justify a ‘civil religion’? How were the counter-arguments constructed?
How were ancient precedents utilised to create a tangible vision of a ‘civil religion’? How was the historical development of episcopal authority represented in the debate?
How developed were ideas for how such a religion might work in practice? For example, the selection of priests, their role in the community, and the conduct of religious practice?
What relationship did the notion of civil religion have with republican ideology as it developed from antiquity to the early modern world?
Did civil religion have an impact beyond political and religious discourse? How was it represented and used in editorial practices, literature, art, rhetoric, or biographical writing?
For further details please contact Dr Katie East (Katherine.East@newcastle.ac.uk).
Workshop: Intellectual Biographies
Tuesday 4 July 2017
The genre of the intellectual biography has recently come back into vogue. It has been reinvigorated by two recent developments. First, the construction of large digitised data sets that allow published pamphlets, newspapers and government documents to be searched by name, date, and theme, making it possible to uncover new information even about the lives of very well known figures. Secondly, the growing receptiveness of intellectual historians and literary critics to utilise methods drawn from political, social and even economic history, which has encouraged and facilitated the combination of archival research on an individual’s life with textual analysis of their works. Substantial volumes have recently appeared on the life and work of Edmund Burke, David Hume and Karl Marx. Richard Bourke’s Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke (2015), in particular, has revolutionised the way in which that complex political thinker and actor has been viewed. With great skill Bourke integrates Burke’s life with his writings, demonstrating the intimate connection between the two and enriching our understanding of both late eighteenth-century politics and the political thought of the period in the process. The trend for intellectual biography is now moving back into the seventeenth century, with major studies of John Milton, James Harrington, John Lilburne and John Locke currently in preparation. It is, therefore, an ideal moment to consider the benefits of this approach to intellectual history and other related disciplines, as well as the opportunities and challenges that writing an intellectual biography presents.
This one-day workshop will combine presentations by scholars who are currently producing intellectual biographies on leading early-modern figures with a round table facilitating wider discussion on the genre. The approach will be explicitly interdisciplinary and although the workshop will be grounded in the early modern period, the discussion will also explore the relevance of the genre to both earlier and later periods. The workshop will explore themes such as:
- What are the best ways of integrating biographical detail with analysis of the subject’s thought and writings?
- How can an author do justice to both the archival and textual aspects of the project?
- Does an intellectual biography have to adopt a chronological structure?
- In what ways can an individual life illuminate a period more generally?
- What are the particular opportunities and challenges associated with writing intellectual biographies of early-modern figures?
- How does the construction of an intellectual biography fit within the broader field of Life-Writing?
Speakers will include Professor Mike Braddick (Sheffield); Professor Mark Goldie (Cambridge); Professor Sarah Hutton (York); Professor Nick McDowell (Exeter); Dr Gaby Mahlberg (Journalist and Independent Scholar, Berlin).
For more information please contact Dr Rachel Hammersley.
Early Modern Civil Religion. This Reading Group is a community of scholars and postgraduates from Newcastle University and institutions across the North-East which meets fortnightly to investigate and discuss the notion of civil religion in the early modern period. Taking as our general chronological remit the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and using both primary and secondary readings, we aim to encourage discussion of the development of the concept of 'civil religion', how it was understood, and its role in progressing the burgeoning Enlightenment discourse. We encourage an interdisciplinary approach, engaging with the influence of ancient religion and classical writers, and welcoming contributions from philosophical, literary, political cultural and social perspectives. Our first meeting will take place on Thursday 10th November at 10am in Room 1.23 in the Armstrong Building. We will be discussing Mark Goldie’s seminal article ‘The Civil Religion of James Harrington’, in The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe edited by Anthony Pagden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 197-222. If you have any queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Reformation Colloquium. Over 80 delegates from 10 countries attending the Reformation Colloquium 2016 in the Research Beehive at Newcastle University. This is the largest Reformation conference in the UK and was preceded in Newcastle by the European Reformation Research Group on the 13th September. The plenary speakers were Prof Marc Forster (Connecticut College), Prof Susan Karant-Nunn (Arizona) and Dr Lucy Wooding (Oxford). Further details and the programme can be viewed here https://reformation2016.wordpress.com/, 14-16 September 2016.
Historicising Belief. The School of History, Classics and Archaeology hosted a one day workshop dedicated to discussing the challenges and opportunities faced by scholars researching belief in the past. This was an interdisciplinary workshop featuring Historians, Classicists, Archaeologists, Literature Scholars and Japanologists, and included papers spanning an expansive chronological range (from Classical Rome to 20th Century Russia). Discussing focussed on presenters responding to the challenges posed to scholars by Brad Gregory, whose work has challenged the extent to which methodologies borrowed from sociology and anthropology (which have dominated approaches to religious history in the past two generations) are useful in the study of belief. List of participants: Adam Morton (Newcastle), Lucy Sackville (York), Susan Karant-Nunn (Arizona), Nicholas Terpstra (Toronto), Rob Dale (Newcastle), Philip Garret (Newcastle), Esther Eidinow (Nottingham), Ceri Houlbrooke (Hertfordshire), Alexandra Anokhina (Catholic University of Leuven), Vicky Monolopoulou (Newcastle), Chris Fowler (Newcastle), Ria Snowdon (Auckland Castle Trust), Federico Santangelo (Newcastle), Luc Racaut (Newcastle), Scott Ashley (Newcastle), Nicola Clarke (Newcastle), 12 September 2016.