Research

My book manuscript, The Afterlife of Christian England, 1944 to the Present, explores one of the enduring questions of modern British history: what explains the survival of so many seemingly archaic institutions -- such as the monarchy and the established church -- in a country so often seen as a crucible of modernity.  Focusing on the institutional persistence and shifting cultural meanings of Christianity after the Second World War, I show how the Church of England retained its privileged position as the established church, even in the face of apparent secularization of British society.  Critical to this transformation was the reimagining of Christianity, especially in its Anglican form, as an element of England's cultural heritage, deemed worthy of preservation by believers and non-believers alike.  The increasing presence of non-Christian minorities that resulted from immigration from the Commonwealth, which some had predicted would spell the end of Christian Britain, ended up reinforcing the establishment of the Church of England as religious minorities came to see the Church as a bulwark of religion in the public sphere.  An article drawn from this project, "The Institutional Afterlife of Christian England", is forthcoming in the Journal of Modern History in spring 2017.

I have also begun research for my next project, a transnational history of railroads across Great Britain, the British empire, and the territories (such as Latin America) that constituted Britains informal empire.  Spanning the period between the nineteenth-century railway boom and the programs of rationalization and closure of the 1960s, this project will examine the relationship between private capital and state regulation in the construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure.  By comparing these developments in imperial settings as well as domestic ones, I will investigate the distinctive ways in which the forces of capitalism were entwined with the imperial project.