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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Dr Mark Hutchinson

(email at

I am an historian of early modern religion and politics and my research explores the relationship between reformation thought and changing ideas of 'state', 'commonwealth' and 'liberty'. In particular, I am interested in the way in which ideas developed in the English periphery, where the challenges posed by disorder and failure pulled apart received and static norms. Here I focus on Ireland, alongside the New England colonies and English links with the Palatinate in Germany, from 1550 to 1650.

Before coming to Durham, I was a Lecturer in Early Modern History at Lancaster University (2015-16). Prior to this, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the University of Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study (2014 -15), and a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship at University College Cork (2011-13).

My first project examined the way in which the failure to further religious reformation in Elizabethan Ireland related to a subsequent need to theorize 'the state', where, in the absence of the internal bonds of conscience, political relationships were recast as involving external institutional structures. The study addressed these developments in comparative perspective with England. 

My new project re-examines the way in which the problem of a sinful humanity reshaped early modern political vocabulary. The question of original sin, I would suggest, tends to be sidestepped in scholarly discussions, because it sits far from our own presuppositions about the dignity of humanity. Nevertheless, assumptions about humanity’s sinful condition would appear to have driven the need to speak of liberty, more in terms of diversity of behaviour, as opposed to freedom from sin and so conformity of action. With this in mind I am investigating the shifting vocabularies of 'liberty', 'allegiance' and 'the will' in Ireland and England, alongside English links with the Palatinate in Germany and developments in the New England colonies from 1600 to 1650. 

Teaching Areas

  • Early Modern Intellectual History

  • Ideas of the State

  • The Reformation and Its Historians

  • The Reformation in Europe


Authored book

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