Mr Hector Roddan
MA History: Distinction, Cardiff Uni (2008-10)
BScEcon (Modern) History and Politics: 1st class, Cardiff Uni (2005-2008)
Working Title: Representations of Belief: Early Modern English Constructions of Indigenous Religious Culture and Ritual Practice in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, c.1550-c.1800
My research focuses on the description of non-European religious cultures and ritual practices, across a variety of case studies from specific locations around the world over the period 1550-1800. In examining a broad range of encounters from both published materials and private manuscripts and correspondence, the thesis goes beyond traditional oppositions between west and east and the assumptions of both Saidian and Orientalist historiography.
To achieve this, I draw together contrasting attitudes towards the religion, as well as beliefs in magic, witchcraft and the supernatural, all filtered through close examination of contemporary descriptions of indigenous ritual practice. Whilst these topics crop up across my thesis, they are central to those case studies on the first English traders in Russia (1550-1650), early English colonies in the New World (1600-1650) and missionaries in Tahiti (c. 1800).
However, there are also important continuities concerning issues of theology, and related questions concerning the just functioning of religious institutions and governance. These themes are developed most explicitly in case studies concerning Russia, Ottoman Turkey (1550-1700) and Safavid Persia (1550-1650).
A further case study, emphasising the centrality of theological issues across seventeenth century Canaries and encounters with Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist cultures in India and China will focus explicitly on the manner in which English travellers integrated diverse religious traditions into their own Christian histories.
Start Date: October 2012
First Supervisor: Dr Garthine Walker
HS1106: Early Modern England and Wales, Seminar Tutor
“Tangible Gods, Intangible Beliefs: The Process of Mutual Interrogation in London Missionary Society Accounts of Tahitian Religion, 1796-1810 @ Histories of Failure Conference (University of Nottingham Postgraduate Forum, 14 June 2012)
“Enemies of our Holy Christian Faith": : Orientalism and Difference in English Accounts of Travel and Trade in Islamic Lands, c.1560-1700 (Social History Society Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 25-27 March 2013)
General areas of interest: Travel writing, historiography, gender/sexuality, witchcraft