Professor in History

University of Warwick, Department of History.

Research expertise

Political culture of early modern Britain and its empire c.1550 - c.1850, with particular interests in the history of corruption in Britain and its empire; the integration of political and social history; the nature of public discourse; the role of print; and the interaction of politics, literature and ideas.


Practices Objects Concepts

Gifts and Gift-giving

Gift-giving was an ubiquitous practice that fostered sociability by reflecting and strengthening the ties between individuals (and even nations) but was also potentially fraught and could provoke tensions and anxieties. The practice was thus culturally ambiguous, creating doubts about the motives and expectations of the giver and about the obligations of the receiver.

Electoral sociability

Parliamentary elections were the sites of both polite sociability and impolite, divisive, abusive and highly unsociable behaviour.


Richard Steele

Richard Steele was one of the most important and controversial figures of early eighteenth-century sociability and politeness. Perhaps best known for his contributions to periodical literature, Steele achieved fame for the style and content of his writing, which had a long legacy during the eighteenth century.