Dr Bradford Bow

Dr Bradford Bow


Dr Bradford Bow
Dr Bradford Bow

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 274243
The University of Aberdeen Department of History,
Crombie Annexe, Room G11, Meston Walk,
King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX
Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies,
HMA2 No.19 College Bounds (Humanity Manse),
King's College, University of Aberdeen,
Old Aberdeen, AB24 3FX
Telephone: +44 (0)1224 208650
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Dr Bradford Bow is an intellectual historian of America, Scotland and Britain during the long eighteenth century, with a broader interest in the global contexts of Enlightenment intellectual and moral culture. Dr Bow completed a PhD in the fields of Enlightenment History and Scottish Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2012. During the 2012-13 academic year, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) and an adjunct lecturing position at Edinburgh University. At that time, he also served as the Acting Director of the MSc Intellectual History programme and organised research activities for the Carnegie Trust funded project ‘Scotland’s Trans-Atlantic Relations’ (STAR). Following this, he held the inaugural Jack Miller Center-Huntington Research Fellowship at the Huntington Library. Dr Bow returned to the University of Edinburgh during the 2013-14 academic year as a Teaching Fellow in Enlightenment History and Deputy Director of the MSc Intellectual History programme. Afterwards, he was an Assistant Professor of Global Intellectual History at Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea) between 2014 and 2019. Dr Bow joined the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy in August 2019 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


Research Interests

My research interests centre on the global intellectual history of Scottish Enlightenment philosophy during the long eighteenth century. From a transnational and global perspective, I address questions concerning the conception, diffusion, and reception of the Scottish philosophical tradition of teaching metaphysics as moral philosophy. My first book is an intellectual biography of the moral philosophy professor and political economist Dugald Stewart (1753-1828), which is currently under review. I show that an original system of moral education developed from Stewart’s reaction to formidable counter-Enlightenment movements. While the global contexts of “the” Enlightenment figured into Stewart’s inductive philosophy, my book primarily focuses on his contributions to the broader Scottish pattern of philosophical thinking. In doing so, I set forth an innovative reading of Stewart’s philosophical system, one that situates a holistic account of his educational doctrine rooted in the science of the intellectual, active and moral powers of the mind during an age of revolutionary change. Offering a new portrait of Stewart, my book transcends the merely biographical by showing the contexts in which the Scottish Enlightenment science of mind thrived before meeting its end during the 1820s. Building upon this research, I organised conferences for the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies and the British Society for the History of Philosophy, which resulted in my guest editing of a special issue in History of European Ideas and my edited volume, Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment, published by Oxford University Press in 2018.

Current Research

The central strand of my current research focuses on the eastern frontiers of the Scottish Enlightenment during its supposed decline in the British Isles. My current book project defines the Imperial Enlightenment through a comparative study of Scottish metaphysics among British philosophical and literary societies at Madras, Calcutta and Bombay from c.1784 to 1833. In doing so, I show that Scottish anatomists of the mind integrated foreign philosophical systems in their published and unpublished transactions on the political economy of imperial management and universal improvement of humankind. Ultimately, this developing book project aims to shed new light on the relative meaning of Scottish Enlightenment within an interconnected British world. I am also developing another book project on the 'Wise Club' in the Aberdeen Enlightenment.


Teaching Responsibilities

Participates in or teaches the following courses:

Level 1     Making History

Level 1     Europe in the 20th Century

Level 1     American Civilisations

Level 2     Global Empires

Level 2     Scottish History

Level 3     Race in the Atlantic World

Level 5     Scotland’s Millennium (Online)

Level 5     Approaches to History (Online)

Level 5     Scottish Enlightenment Philosophy (Online)

I welcome approaches from prospective postgraduate students with an interest in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Enlightenment intellectual and moral culture.