School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Simon Mills

Teaching Fellow in British and European History, 1500-1800


I was awarded my Ph.D. at Queen Mary, University of London in 2009, and then held a series of research fellowships at the Council for British Research in the Levant, Amman; the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge; and the Dahlem Humanities Centre, Freie Universität Berlin. Between 2014 and 2017, I was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Kent. I joined the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology as a Teaching Fellow in British and European History in September 2017.




Current Research

I am interested broadly in the cultural, religious, and intellectual history of Europe between around 1450 and 1800. My research examines the relationship between Europe and the Ottoman Empire; the histories of biblical and oriental studies; the history of philosophy; and 'intellectual geography' - that is, the attempt to understand how men and women in the past knew what they knew by tracing the circulation of books, manuscripts, or letters around the early modern world.

My first book A Commerce of Knowledge: Trade, Religion, and Scholarship between England and the Ottoman Empire, 1620-1760 (under contract with Oxford University Press) tells the story of three generations of Church of England chaplains who served the English Levant Company in Aleppo, Syria, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Reconstructing the careers of its protagonists in the cosmopolitan city of early modern Aleppo, the book investigates the links between English commercial and diplomatic expansion and the emergence of new fields of English scholarship: the study of Middle-Eastern languages; the exploration of biblical and Graeco-Roman antiquities; and the early dissemination of Protestant literature in Arabic.

Recent grants from the Liselotte Kirchner-Stipendienprogramm, Halle, and the DAAD have enabled me to begin a new project, provisionally entitled 'The Protestant Orient'. Here, I plan to explore how the reformed churches in England and Germany responded to the successes of the Roman Catholic missions to North Africa and the Middle East by developing rival programmes of scholarship, printing, education, and mission. With Kate Fleet and Scott Mandelbrote, I am also editing a volume of essays entitled Between Europe and the Ottoman Empire: Ideas, Knowledge, Practice (1453-1718).

Other interests include: 'sacred geography' in the eighteenth century; the study of Arabic in the early modern world; the intersections between commercial and intellectual life; and the teaching of philosophy in the eighteenth-century dissenting academies.    



Undergraduate Teaching

For 2018/19, I am module leader for:

HIS 2050 The European Enlightenment, 1700-1789;

HIS 3335 Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1798.

I also teach on: HIS 1030 Evidence and Argument; HIS 1027 Introduction to European History; HIS 1044 Aspects of British History; POL1000 Introduction to Politics and History; and supervise dissertations for HIS 3020 Writing History.

Postgraduate Teaching

HIS 8052 Conflict in European History 

My office hours for Semester 1 are: Thursdays 12-2; Fridays 3-4 in ARMB 1.23


  • Mills Simon. Embassies, Trading Posts, Travellers, and Missionaries. In: Sonja Brentjes, ed. Routledge Handbook on Science in the Islamicate World. London: Routledge, 2019. Submitted.
  • Mills Simon. Reading Henry Maundrell’s Sacred Geography in Eighteenth-Century England and Germany. In: N. H. Keeble and Tessa Whitehouse, ed. Textual Transitions: Books and their Meanings from Richard Baxter to William Hazlitt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. Submitted.
  • Mills Simon. Scholarship. In: William A. Pettigrew and David Veevers, ed. The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History, c. 1550-1750. Leiden: Brill, 2018, pp.255-276.
  • Mills S. Learning Arabic in the Overseas Factories: The Case of the English. In: Jan Loop, Alastair Hamilton, Charles Burnett, ed. The Teaching and Learning of Arabic in Early Modern Europe. Leiden: Brill, 2017, pp.272–93.
  • Mills Simon. Scripture and Heresy in the Biblical Studies of Nathaniel Lardner, Joseph Priestley, and Thomas Belsham. In: Michael Ledger-Lomas and Scott Mandelbrote, ed. Dissent and the Bible in Britain, 1650–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp.85–112.
  • Mills Simon. The English Chaplains at Aleppo: Exploration and Scholarship between England and the Ottoman Empire, 1620–1760. Bulletin for the Council for British Research in the Levant 2013, 60(1), 13–20.
  • Mills Simon. The Chaplains to the English Levant Company: Exploration and Biblical Scholarship in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century England. In: Judith Becker and Bettina Braun, ed. Die Begegnung mit Fremden und das Geschichtsbewusstsein. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012, pp.243–66.
  • Mills Simon, Burden Mark. Metaphysics, Pneumatology, and Philosophy of Mind. In: Isabel Rivers, ed. A History of the Dissenting Academies in the British Isles, 1660–1860. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. In Preparation.
  • Mills Simon, Steers David. The Dissenting Academies and the Scottish Universities. In: Isabel Rivers, ed. A History of the Dissenting Academies in the British Isles, 1660–1860. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. In Preparation.