I'm an historian specializing in the history of political thought, the history of universities, and the history of the humanities and social sciences. I was educated at St Catherine's College, Oxford (1st Class in Modern History, 1983) and at Nuffield College, Oxford (D.Phil 1988). I was a Research Fellow of Nuffield College (1986-88) and Lecturer at New College, Oxford (1988-90), before appointment at Manchester in 1990. I have remained here ever since, serving as Head of History from 2000 to 2003. I was promoted to a personal professorship in 2008.
I have a particular interest in PhD supervision and training, and currently serve as Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research in the Faculty of Humanities, overseeing programmes with around a thousand research students. From 2014-17 I was Director of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, which in 2013 was awarded around £14 million by the AHRC to provide doctoral training across seven universities and HEIs in the region.
I also chair the University's Research Group on University History, which promotes research in the history of universities. We hold biennial symposia, the most recent in September 2017 on Universities: Space, Place and Community. We also have a blog promoting university history, www.universityhistories.com.
I have published five books, including two monographs with Cambridge University Press, and my papers have appeared in the Historical Journal, the Journal of the History of Ideas, Modern Intellectual History, the European Journal of Political Theory, History of European Ideas, etc. I have held a number of research grants (AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme) and visiting appointments, including a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, where I studied the vices of endowed foundations. I have held external examiner appointments at Oxford, Cambridge, Huddersfield and Cardiff.