School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Ideas and Beliefs


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.



Find out which members of staff and research students are involved in this research theme.

Dr Joan Allen
Visiting Fellow

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

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


Dr David Creese
Lecturer in Classics

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 6473

Dr Robert Dale
Lecturer in Russian History


Dr Katie East
Lecturer in History


Dr Philip Garrett
Lecturer in Japanese History


Dr James Gerrard
Senior Lecturer in Roman Archaeology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5502

Professor Rachel Hammersley
Professor of 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
Visiting Fellow

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 Vicky Manolopoulou
Guest Member of Staff


Dr Adam Morton
Lecturer in the History of Britain


Dr Caron Newman
Teacher 19/20

Telephone: c/o 0191 208 7846

Dr Luc Racaut
Lecturer in History

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8614

Anne Redgate
Lecturer in History

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6697

Dr Thomas Rütten
Reader in the History of Medicine

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3547

Professor Federico Santangelo
Professor of 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
Head of Classics & Ancient History & Lecturer in Ancient History

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5057

Professor Sam Turner
Professor of Archaeology / Director, McCord Centre for Landscape

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8110

Dr Sally Waite
Senior Lecturer in Greek Art and Archaeology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5330

Dr Jane Webster
Senior Lecturer in Historical Archaeology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7575

Professor Jakob Wisse
Professor of Latin Language & Literature

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7974

PhD students

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'

Recent graduates

Andrew Newton - 'The location of early medieval churches in Northumbria: conversion to a Christian landscape in northern England'