Professor Michael Brown

Professor Michael Brown

Dean for Research & Knowledge Exchange

Professor Michael Brown
Professor Michael Brown

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273685
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fax +44 (0)1224 272203
The University of Aberdeen School of Divinity, History and Philosophy,
Room: 110 (History) or HMA4 (Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies)
Meston Walk,
King's College,
University of Aberdeen,
Old Aberdeen,
AB24 3FX
Tel: +44 (0)1224 272472 (History) or +44 (0)1224 273685 (RIISS)


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 has been the Dean for Cultural Strategy and Research Governance (previously called the Dean of Research for the Arts and Social Sciences) since October 2014. 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. 


Research Interests

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.

Current Research

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 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, 7 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 Routledge: London, 2016) and The Cultures of Radicalism in Britian and Ireland (London; Pickering & Chatto, 2013; Paperback: Routledge, 2016), are edited with John Kirk and Andrew Noble as part of this sequence. 

Research Grants

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.


Teaching Responsibilities

Professor Brown supervises PhD students with an interest in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and Irish history, with a particular interest in Enlightenment ideas and political identities.

Undergraduate courses to which he contributes include:

  • HI2020: The Birth of Modernity: Politics, Culture and Science in Europe, 1700-1870
  • HI3593: The Making of Modern Ireland, 1800-2000
  • HI4015: Between the Unions: Political Culture in Ireland and Scotland, 1707-1801
Further Info

External Responsibilities

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 Eighteenth-Century Studies and Studies in Burke and his Time and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the International Review of Scottish Studies

Admin Responsibilities

Since October 2014 Professor Brown has been the Dean of Cultural Strategy and Research Goverance (previously called the Director of Research for Arts and Social Sciences). He is also the Acting Director of the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish StudiesAs 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. 



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  • Brown, MP 2019, Politics in the Classroom: Ferguson in the Classroom in the Age of Revolution. in M Brown & JA Hill (eds), Adam Ferguson Unfurled: Re-Imagining the Moral Imperium. Aberdeen University Press, Aberdeen, pp. 1-23.
  • Brown, MP & NĂ­ Mhunghaile, L 2018, Futures Past: Enlightenment and Antiquarianism in the Eighteenth Century. in T Bartlett & J Kelly (eds), The Cambridge History of Ireland: Volume III: 1730-1880. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 380-405.
  • Brown, MP 2016, 'The Aesthetics of Political Economy: The Case of Francis Hutcheson', Journal of Scottish Thought, vol. 7, pp. 136-147.
  • Brown, M 2016, The Irish Enlightenment. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
  • Brown, M 2015, 'Swift, Satire and the Problem of Whig Regeneration', Restoration Studies in English Literary Culture 1660-1700, vol. 39, no. 1-2, pp. 83-99. [Online] DOI:
  • Brown, MP 2014, 'The English Identity of Edmund Burke', Studies in Burke and his Time, vol. 24, pp. 38-61. <> [Online] DOI:
  • Brown, MP 2014, Ultramontane Ultras: The Intellectual Character of Irish Students at the University of Paris. in AI MacInnes, K German & L Graham (eds), Living with Jacobitism, 1690-1788: The Three Kingdoms and Beyond. Political and Popular Culture in the Early Modern Period, vol. 9, Pickering & Chatto, London, pp. 111-123 and 235-238.
  • Kirk, J, Brown, MP & Noble, A (eds) 2013, Cultures of Radicalism in Britain and Ireland. Poetry and Song in the Age of Revolution, Pickering & Chatto, London.
  • Brown, MP 2013, Enlightenment and Revolution: A British Problematic. in J Kirk, M Brown & A Noble (eds), Cultures of Radicalism in Britain and Ireland. Poetry and Song in the Age of Revolution, vol. 3, Pickering & Chatto, London, pp. 1-24.
  • Brown, MP 2012, 'The Biter Bitten: Ireland and the Rude Enlightenment', Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 393-407. [Online] DOI:
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