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Phil Withington was born in Yorkshire, trained as a historian in Cambridge, and has worked in Aberdeen, Leeds, and Cambridge. He joined Sheffield as Professor of Early Modern History in September 2012.
Membership of Professional Bodies
- Editor of The Historical Journal
- Editorial Board of Cultural and Social History
- International Advisory Board Member of Urban History
- Member of the Royal Historical Society
- Peer Reviewer for the Dutch Humanities Research Council
- Peer Reviewer for the European Science Foundation
- Peer Reviewer for the Economic and Social Research Council
- Co-convener of the ESRC 'Intoxication' Network
- Co-convener of the Cambridge Food and Drink Network
- Member of the International Reference Group for the Australian 'Network of Early European Research', 2006-08
Phil Withington is currently working on a number of projects related to his broad interest in the history of intoxicants and intoxication. He is also researching various aspects of early modern political culture and developing a project to produce the first properly historicized ‘early modern dictionary’. The ESRC has recently awarded him £730,000 to run a three-year research project on ‘Intoxicants and Early Modernity, starting in October 2013 (ESRC Pre-Grant K00493X/1). In the meantime, he is in the early stages of a new book on the social history of the English Renaissance.
His research centres on the social and cultural history of early modern Britain and the wider world. He has published extensively on urban society, citizenship, and popular politics; on language, texts, and society; and on early modern militarism. He also has a more general concern with inter-disciplinary approaches to the past and the relationship between language and social change. Between 2007 and 2010 a Research Fellowship from the ESRC kick-started his current research into intoxicants as both trans-historical phenomena and as drivers of cultural, social, economic and political change in early modern Britain. It also allowed him to research the relationship between early modernity and the development of theories and practices of 'society', resulting in Society in Early Modern England: the Vernacular Origins of Some Powerful Ideas (Cambridge, Polity, 2010).
Public Engagement and Wider Impact
- ‘Modernity’s Bodyguard’, London Review of Books, 35, 1, 3 January 2013, 15-16
- Talk on ‘Addictions’: an Early Modern Perspective’ on the Addiction: Myth and Reality panel as part of the British Library ‘Myth and Reality’ Series, Monday 18th March 2013
- ‘Past v Present’, London Review of Books, 34, 9, May 2012, 19-21
- Advisor to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, 2008-09 and author of 'The history of public drinking in England', Report for the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, April 2009
- 'The Elizabethan Big Society', BBC History Magazine, 12, 4, 2011
- Member of the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group and organizer of the inter-disciplinary workshop on ‘Problematic Pleasures’ in April 2011, funded by the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group and Wellcome
Research Supervision and Teaching
Phil Withington teaches a special subject on ‘Renaissance and Popular Culture’ and he contributes to the third year comparative option on ‘Consumption’. In subsequent years he will offer a second year option on ‘Intoxicants in Early Modern England’.
Phil Withington is happy to supervise postgraduate work on most aspects of early modern British and imperial history as well as research into the history of language, society, and (early) modernity.
Current PhD Students
- Jennifer Bishop (3rd Year, AHRC funded), working on practices of commonwealth and metallurgy in 16th century England
- John Gallagher, (3rd Year, AHRC funded), working on language learning and cultural exchange in early modern Europe
- Kristen Klebba, (3rd Year), working on green spaces and civic culture in 17th century London
- Kate Davison (1st Year, Wolfson funded), working on the social history of humour in the long 18th century
Administrative Roles and Responsibilities
- Department of History Research Committee.
- Co-Director of Medical Humanities Sheffield (MHS).
- Director of Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies (SCEMS).
- The Politics of Commonwealth: Citizens and Freemen in Early Modern England, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. xiv + 298 (312pp)
- Society in Early Modern England. The Vernacular Origins of Some Powerful Ideas, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2010, pp. ix + 298 (309pp)
Edited Books of Essays and Journals
- Edited with Alexandra Shepard, Communities in Early Modern England. Networks, Place, Rhetoric, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. xii + 276
- Special Edition of The Journal of Early Modern History, ‘Citizens and Soldiers in England, Scotland, Ireland and the Wider World’, 15, (2011)
- Edited with Jonathan Herring, Ciaran Regan and Darin Weinberg, Intoxication and Society: Problematic Pleasures of Drugs and Alcohol (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
Articles in Journals
- ‘Views from the Bridge: Revolution and Restoration in Seventeenth-Century York’, Past & Present, 170 (2001), pp. 121–151 (30pp)
- ‘Two Renaissances: Urban Political Culture in Post-Reformation England Reconsidered’, The Historical Journal, 44, 1 (2001), pp. 239–267 (28pp)
- ‘Public Discourse, Corporate Citizenship and State-Formation in Early Modern England’, American Historical Review, 112, 4 (2007), pp. 1016–1038 (22pp)
- ‘Company and Sociability in Early Modern England’, Social History 32, 3 (2007), pp. 291–307 (16pp)
- ‘Citizens, Soldiers and Urban Culture in Early Modern England’, English Historical Review, CXXIII, 502 (2008), pp. 587–610 (23pp)
- ‘Skill and Commonwealth in Early Modern English Cities’ in Maria Pia Paoli, ed., Saperi a Confronto nell’Europa dei Secoli XIII–XIX, Edizioni Della Normale, Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa (2009), pp. 57–83 (26pp)
- With the Early Modern Research Group, ‘Towards a Social and Cultural History of Keywords and Concepts by the Early Modern Research Group,’ History of Political Thought XXXI (Autumn, 2010), pp. 427-48 (21pp)
- ‘Citizens and Soldiers – the Renaissance Context’, Journal of Early Modern History, 15, 1–2 (2011), pp. 3–30 (27pp)
- ‘‘Tumbled into the Dirt’: Wit and Incivility in Early Modern England’, Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 12, 1:2 (2011), pp. 156-177 (21pp)
- ‘Intoxicants and Society in Early Modern England’, The Historical Journal, 54, 3 (2011), pp. 631-657 (26pp)
- With the Early Modern Research Group, ‘Commonwealth: the Social, Cultural, and Conceptual Contexts of an Early Modern Keyword’, The Historical Journal, 54, 3 (2011), pp. 659-687 (28pp)
Chapters in Books of Essays
- ‘Introduction’ in Alexandra Shepard and Phil Withington, eds., Communities in Early Modern England, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 1–18 (18pp)
- ‘Citizens, Community and Political Culture’ in Alexandra Shepard and Phil Withington, eds., Communities in Early Modern England, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 134–156 (22pp)
- ‘Agency, Custom, and the English Corporate System’ in Henry French and Jonathan Barry, eds., Identity and Agency in English Society, 1500–1800, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2004, pp. 200–223 (23pp)
- ‘‘For This is True or Els I do Lye’: Thomas Smith, William Bullein and the Mid-Tudor Dialogue’ in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature, 1485–1603, eds. Cathy Shrank and Mike Pincombe, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 455–471 (16pp)
- ‘Putting the City into Shakespeare’s City Comedy’ in David Armitage, Conal Condren and Andrew Fitzmaurice, eds., Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 197–217 (20pp)
- ‘Andrew Marvell’s Citizenship’ in The Cambridge Companion to Andrew Marvell, eds. Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 102-22 (20pp)
- ‘Plantation and Civil Society’ in Micheal O’Siochru and Eammon O’Ciardha, eds., The Plantation of Ulster: Ideology and Practice (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2012), 55-77