Professor Michael Brown
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy,
Room: 110 (History) or HMA4 (Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies)
University of Aberdeen,
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 is the Co-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.
Memberships and Affiliations
- Internal Memberships
I am the Chair of the Academic Board of Aberdeen University Press.
- External Memberships
From 2022-2024 I am the President of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society.
Professor Brown's work primarily concerns the Irish and Scottish Enlightenments. He is also 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, he has edited collections on religious, legal and literary history. His method is often comparative and interdisciplinary, with a focus on imaginative and philosophical writings.
I am currently accepting PhDs in History.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
- British History
- Irish History
- English Literature 1700 -1900
Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
Professor Brown 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 editing, with Jack Hill, a collection of essays on Adam Ferguson for Aberdeen University Press, and, with Karin Freidrich, The Routledge History of the Enlightenment.
Professor Brown's study of The Irish Enlightenment was published in April 2016 by Harvard University Press. Writing in The Irish Times (18 June 2016), Richard Kearney wrote ‘Over the course of 600 pages of sumptuous scholarship … the author demonstrates the existence of a significant Enlightenment project in Ireland in the 18th century.’ In Standpoint (July/August 2016), David Womersley stated ‘this is exemplary history. It both reformulates an important problem, and draws swathes of new material into the scholarly conversation.’ Jonathan Israel in the American Historical Review described the book as ‘detailed, thoughtful and important’. Colin Kidd, writing in Eighteenth-Century Ireland (2017) declared the work a ‘landmark volume’ and described it as ‘stunningly plotted and exquisitely patterned’. Lee Ward concluded his assessment in The Review of Politics, by stating ‘the portrait of an intellectually vibrant colonial Ireland that Brown offers is an early illustration of one of the central political phenomena of the twentieth 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.
Professor Brown has been the supervisor of fourteen PhDs to date, and is currently supervising eleven more.
2015- William Paton, ‘A Scottish Dealer in the Eighteenth-Century Roman Art Market’ (second supervisor with Jane Geddes) (Part Time)
2018- Marcus Brabban, ‘Gustave Le Bon and the Emergence of Crowd Psychology’ (second supervisor with Thomas Weber)
2020- Jordan Prothro, 'Common Sense Realism and Post-Kantian Idealism: The Struggle for Reality in Nineteenth-Century American Philosophy' (joint supervisor with Bradford Bow)
2020- Julia Pohlmann, ‘Facing the Other Within – Sephardic and German Ashkenazi relations in London in the Eighteenth Century and their Struggle for Toleration’ (joint supervisor with Thomas Weber)
2020- Aurelin Mir, ‘Both Left and Right: Foundations of European Fascism and the Influence of Maurice Barrés (1862-1923) and Georges Sorel (1888-1925) (second supervisor with Thomas Weber)
2020- Elizabeth Carter, The Origins of the Irish Workhouse’ (lead supervisor with Ben Marsden)
2021- Kenneth Possner, The Liberal Party in Post-Famine Ireland’ (lead supervisor with Bradford Bow)
2021- Ionannis Choantis, ‘The Influence of Classicism on Edmund Burke’ (first supervisor with Karin Freidrich)
2021- Paul Hauser, ‘Thomas Gordon, Radical Whig’ (joint supervisor with Bradford Bow)
2022- Euan Gorrie, ‘Utopianism in the Scottish Enlightenment’ (joint supervisor with Bradford Bow)
2022- Molly Lentz-Meyer, ‘The Legal History of Northern Ireland during Devolution, 1921 – 1972’ (first supervisor with Andrew Dilley) (Part Time)
2007-2010 Daniel MacCannell, ‘Cultures of Proclamation: The Decline and Fall of the Anglophone News Process, 1460 – 1642’ (second supervisor with Peter Davidson).
2008-2011 Glen Doris, ‘The Scottish Enlightenment and the Abolition of Slavery’ (first supervisor with Cairns Craig) (AHRC funded)
2008-2011: John Hutton, ‘Émigré Networks: The Campbells in Eighteenth-Century Scotland and America’(first supervisor with Cairns Craig) (AHRC funded)
2008-2013: Anne Crerar, ‘Commerce and Constitutionalism: The English East India Company and Political Culture in Scotland and Ireland’ (joint supervisor with Andrew Mackillop)
2012-2014: Chloe Ross, ‘James Connolly and the Scottish and Irish Labour Movements’(took over supervision from Andrew Newby)
2009-2014: Sheena Hogan, ‘A Posthumous Publication: Francis Hutcheson’s System of Moral Philosophy (1755)’ (first supervisor with Karin Friedrich)
2009-2014: Raymond Whelan, William King, Bishop of Dublin in Philosophical Context (first supervisor with William G Naphy)
2011-2016: Daliah Bond, ‘The History of Scottish Chapbooks’(second supervisor with William G Naphy)
2012-2017: Xandra Bello, ‘Genre and Form in Adam Ferguson’s History of the Roman Republic’(first supervisor with Ralph O’Connor)
2012-2018: Theresa Antoff, ‘The Crimes of Katherine Nairn and Patrick Ogilvie’ (first supervisor with Elizabeth Macknight)
2014-2019: Rose Luminiello, ‘Irish and Polish Catholic Nationalism, 1870-1900: A Comparative Study’ (joint supervisor with Robert Frost)
2019-2022: Andrew Popple, ‘A Time of Challenges and Opportunities – An Examination of the Influences on the Development of Drawing and Painting in Glasgow in the Second World War Period’ (second supervisor with Mary Pryor)
2017-2022: Dikaia Gavala, ‘“Rise Before the Majesty of the People”: Popular Republicanism in Restoration Literature and Drama’ (second supervisor with Helen Lynch)
2018-2022: Aren Lerner Craig, ‘“Every Revolution was a First Thought”: The Political Philosophy of American Transcendentalism in Transatlantic Context, 1820-1865’ (first supervisor with Beth Lord)
Non-course 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.
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Ethnic Jokes and Polite Language: Soft Othering and Macklin's British ComediesCharles Macklin and the Theatres of London. Newman, I., O’Shaughnessy, D. (eds.). Liverpool University Press, pp. 191-210, 19 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
Politics in the Classroom: Ferguson in the Classroom in the Age of RevolutionAdam Ferguson Unfurled. Brown, M., Hill, J. A. (eds.). Aberdeen University Press, pp. 1-23, 23 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Futures Past: Enlightenment and Antiquarianism in the Eighteenth CenturyThe Cambridge History of Ireland. Bartlett, T., Kelly, J. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, pp. 380-405, 26 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
The Aesthetics of Political Economy: The Case of Francis HutchesonJournal of Scottish Thought, vol. 7, pp. 136-147Contributions to Journals: Articles
The Irish EnlightenmentHarvard University Press, Cambridge MA. 640 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
Swift, Satire and the Problem of Whig RegenerationRestoration Studies in English Literary Culture 1660-1700, vol. 39, no. 1-2, pp. 83-99Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/rst.2015.0011
The English Identity of Edmund BurkeStudies in Burke and his Time, vol. 24, pp. 38-61Contributions to Journals: Articles
Ultramontane Ultras: The Intellectual Character of Irish Students at the University of ParisLiving with Jacobitism, 1690-1788. MacInnes, A. I., German, K., Graham, L. (eds.). Pickering & Chatto, pp. 111-123 and 235-238, 18 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Cultures of Radicalism in Britain and IrelandPickering & Chatto, London. 256 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
Enlightenment and Revolution: A British ProblematicCultures of Radicalism in Britain and Ireland. Kirk, J., Brown, M., Noble, A. (eds.). Pickering & Chatto, pp. 1-24, 24 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters