Dean for Research & Knowledge Exchange
Michael Brown is a historian of Ireland, Scotland and Britain more widely, with particular interest in the Enlightenment and the political culture of the eighteenth century.
He is the Director of Research in the College of Arts and Social Sciences from October 2014 to September 2017.
He is also the Acting Director of the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.
Awarded a Personal Chair in Irish, Scottish and Enlightenment History in 2014, Professor Brown was appointed to a lectureship at Aberdeen in 2006 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where he studied history for his BA (Mod) and PhD, he has worked at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies and the Department of Modern History at Trinity and in the Combined Departments of History at University College Dublin. He lectures regularly in Britain, Ireland, and North America.
Professor Brown's work concerns the Irish and Scottish Enlightenments. He is interested in the interaction between religious, political and ethical ideas in the eighteenth century. This work is enhanced by the study of the political cultures of Britain and Ireland.
Alongside contributions to intellectual history, Professor Brown has edited collections on religious, legal and literary history. His approach is often comparative and interdisciplinary, with a focus on imaginative and philosophical writings.
He is also interested in current and historical debates concerning the place and value of the Humanities in the University and wider society.
Professor Brown's study of The Irish Enlightenment was published in April 2016 by Harvard University Press. He is now writing a textbook for Routledge entitled A Cultural History of Europe, 1688-1914: The Birth of Modernity. He is also working on a collection of essays provisionally entitled Making Up Britain in the Eighteenth Century.
He is the author of two other monographs: A Political Biography of John Toland (London; Pickering & Chatto, 2012; paperback Routledge: London, 2016) and Francis Hutcheson in Dublin, 1719-1730 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002). He has a long track record in collaborative work, which includes The Law and Other Legalities of Ireland, 1689-1850 (Farnham; Ashgate Press, 2011), edited with Seán Patrick Donlan and Converts and Conversion in Ireland, 1650-1850 (Dublin; Four Courts Press, 2005) with Charles Ivar MacGrath and Thomas Power.
He also has experience in editing scholarly journals. He spent five years as the general editor of the interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal, Eighteenth-Century Ireland (2001-2005) and is currently an editor of the biannual interdisciplinary peer-reviewed Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies (2006 to the present).
Professor Brown is a commissioning editor of the series Poetry and Song in the Age of Revolution (2011 ongoing, 6 volumes to date) which was first published by Pickering & Chatto Press and is now with Routledge. Both United Islands? The Languages of Resistance (London; Pickering & Chatto, 2012; Paperback Routldge: London, 2016) and The Cultures of Radicalism in Britian and Ireland (London; Pickering & Chatto, 2013), are edited with John Kirk and Andrew Noble as part of this sequence.
A co-founder (with Dr Jackson Armstrong) of the Aberdeen Humanities Fund, Professor Brown serves on its academic board. It was created in 2012 to seek philanthropic support for research conducted on the university collections.
In 2008 he was a successful co-applicant to the AHRC for a Network Grant entitled 'United Islands? Multi-Lingual Radical Poetry and Folksong in Britain and Ireland, 1770-1820'.
He was the principal investigator in the AHRC sponsored project 'Irish and Scottish Diasporas since 1600' from 2006 to 2010. This resulted in the publication of four collections of essays, which he edited as special issues of the Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies: After the Homecoming, 5.2 (2012), 213pp; Migrating Minds (with Paul Shanks), 5.1 (2011), 180pp; Frontiers of the Irish and Scottish Diasporas (with Rosalyn Trigger), 2.2 (2009), 241pp; and Gallic Connections: Irish and Scottish Encounters with France (with Rosalyn Trigger), 2.1 (2008), 192pp.
Professor Brown supervises PhD students with an interest in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Irleand and/or Scotland. He also teaches on the M.Litt in Irish and Scottish History.
Undergraduate courses to which he contributes include:
HI 2020: The Birth of Modernity: Politics, Culture and Science in Europe, 1700-1870
HI 3593: The Making of Modern Ireland, 1800-2000
HI4015: Between the Unions: Political Culture in Ireland and Scotland, 1707-1800
A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Professor Brown serves on the committee of the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society; is on the editorial board of Studies in Burke and his Time and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the International Review of Scottish Studies.
From October 2014 Professor Brown is the Director of Research for the College of Arts and Social Sciences. He is also the Acting Director of the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies. As Discipline Research Leader for History and History of Art (2012-14), he played a central role in organising the REF 2014 submission for those disciplines.