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 Ashley Walsh

Ashley Walsh

Lecturer

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Email
walsha6@cardiff.ac.uk
Campuses
5.16, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

I joined the History Department at Cardiff University in October 2019 as Lecturer in Early Modern History. My research and teaching focus on the intellectual, religious, and political history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Britain and Europe as well as the history of political thought. I am especially interested in the history of civil religion in the 'long Reformation' and the Enlightenment, showing how lay and clerical intellectuals drew on the political and religious ideas of the classical world, Renaissance, and Protestant Reformation in their analyses of the church-state relationship and defences of religious toleration. I explore these themes in my recent monograph, Civil Religion and the Enlightenment in England, 1707-1800 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020). I have also published articles on the intellectual history of republicanism and ancient constitutionalism in early modern Britain.

I took my MA, MPhil, and PhD degrees at Downing College, Cambridge, after which I taught at the University of Cambridge and Durham University before coming to Cardiff University as Lecturer in Early Modern History.

2013-17: PhD, History, Downing College, University of Cambridge
2012-13: MPhil, Political Thought and Intellectual History, Downing College, University of Cambridge
2009-12: MA (Cantab.), Historical Tripos, Downing College, University of Cambridge

Honours and awards

Scholarships and Prizes

  • Sir John Plumb Charitable Trust (2013, 2014, 2016)
  • Foundation Scholar, Downing College (2012)
  • Gamlingay Scholar, Downing College (2010, 2011)
  • R J White Prize for an Essay in History, Downing College (2010, 2012)
  • Richmond Prize, Downing College (2010, 2012)
  • Buchanan Prize, Downing College (2011)
  • Graduate Travel Fund, Downing College (2014)
  • Buchanan Grant, Downing College (2013, 2014)
  • Access to Learning Fund, Cambridge University (2013)
  • Downing Association Grant (2015)
  • Alwyn Heong Fund Grant, Downing College (2016, 2017)

Teaching Awards

  • Supervisor of the Year 2018-19, Department for Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge (£100 honorarium)

Professional memberships

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Academic positions

  • 2019-present: Lecturer in Early Modern History, Cardiff University
  • 2014-2019: Supervisor, University of Cambridge
  • 2017-2018: Teaching Fellow in Early Modern History, Durham University

Speaking engagements

  • [Invited] 'England and Switzerland in the European Enlightenment', to be presented at Durham Early Modern Conference, 8-10 July 2020.
  • [Invited] ‘Civil Religion in the British Enlightenments’, presented at Civil Religion from Antiquity to the Enlightenment, Newcastle University, 24 October 2019.
  • [Invited] ‘The Saxon Republic in Seventeenth-Century England’, presented at Britain in the 17th Century Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London, 15 November 2018.
  • [Invited] ‘Ciceronianism and the Multitude in the Civil Religion of the Third Earl of Shaftesbury’, presented at Locating the Ancient World in Early Modern Subversive Thought, Newcastle University, 12 April 2018.
  • [Invited] Panellist on ‘Sites of Possibility or Repression? Walking the Memories of the City’, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, 23 October 2016.
  • [Invited] ‘Priestcraft, Kingship, and the Godly Commonwealth in Eighteenth-Century England’, presented at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, 2 September 2016.
  • [Invited] Respondent to Professor John Shepherd, ‘Into Government: Labour 1924-1935’, at Labour’s Shifting Sands, Anglia Ruskin University, 9 June 2016.
  • [Invited] ‘Town, Gown, and Farm: The Early Labour Party in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire’, presented at Rural Radicalism, Labour History Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, 4 June 2016.
  • [Invited] ‘“Radical Toryism” in the History of the Labour Movement’, presented at the Cambridge Literary Festival, 9 April 2016.
  • ‘The Third Earl of Shaftesbury in the Context of the Long Reformation’, presented at Shaping Enlightenment Politics: The Social and Political Impact of the First and Third Earls of Shaftesbury, 24 July 2015.
  • ‘Private Conscience, Public Worship, and the Church-State Relationship in Viscount Bolingbroke’, presented at the London Graduate Conference in the History of Political Thought, 5 June 2015.
  • ‘“Public Walks as well as Private Gardens”: The Third Earl of Shaftesbury between the Long Reformation and the Enlightenment’, presented at the Graduate Workshop in Intellectual History, University of Cambridge, 22 October 2014.
  • ‘Whiggism and England’s “Long Reformation” after the “Glorious Revolution”’, presented at Godly Governance: Religion and Political Culture in the Early Modern World, c. 1500-1750, University of York, 27 June 2014.

2020

2019

2018

Year 1
Renaissance, Reformation, and Revolution
Modern Britain: Ideas, Politics, Society and Culture

Year 2
Reformation and Revolution: Stuart Britain, 1603-1714 (convenor)
Exploring Historical Debate (convenor)

Year 3
Ridicule, Republics, Revolutions: The (Awkward) Enlightenment in England (convenor)

I am an intellectual, religious, and political historian of early modern Europe with a particular interest in the relationship between religion and the Enlightenment and the history of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century political thought. My current focus is the idea of civil religion in the Enlightenment: how lay and clerical intellectuals drew on the religious and political ideas of the classical world, Renaissance, and 'long Reformation' to devise a state-regulated religion that at once reinforced the development of religious toleration while expressing citizenship through public rituals, symbols, ceremonies, and sacred sites.

In my recent monograph, Civil Religion and the Enlightenment in England, 1707-1800 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020), I show how Enlightened thinkers in England proclaimed public support for Christianity by transforming it into a civil religion, despite the famous claim of Jean-Jacques Rousseau that Christians professed an uncivil faith. In the aftermath of the seventeenth-century European wars of religion, civil religionists such as David Hume, Edward Gibbon, the third earl of Shaftesbury, and William Warburton sought to reconcile Christian ecclesiology with the civil state and Christian practice with civilised society. They built their arguments in the context of England's long Reformation, syncretising 'primitive' gospel Christianity with ancient paganism as they attempted to render Christianity a modern version of Roman republican civil religion. They believed that outward observance of the reformed Protestant faith was vital for belonging to the Christian commonwealth of Hanoverian England.

At present, I am researching a series of articles further examining the interaction between religion, politics, and political thought in Britain during the 'long eighteenth century'. In particular, I am unearthing arguments for 'comprehension' in the Church of England - a radical alternative to toleration that sought to encompass as many Protestants as possible by reducing the doctrinal requirements of the established church - despite the passage of the Toleration Act and the failure of the Comprehension Bill in 1689 in the aftermath of the 'Glorious Revolution'. I am also exploring the interaction between Enlightened Englishmen and Swiss church reformers throughout the eighteenth century as both groups of intellectuals attempted to argue for a Christian civil religion in England and Geneva. Finally, I am researching the contribution of Presbyterians to the Enlightenment in England.

Areas of expertise

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