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  • Academic staff

  • Professor David Nash

    Professor in History

    School of History, Philosophy and Culture

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


    Phone number: +44 (0)1865 483584`

    Email: dsnash@brookes.ac.uk


    David Nash was previously at the Universities of Leicester and York where he taught primarily 19th and twentieth century British History. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an officer of the Social History Society of Great Britain.

    David is a Director of the SOLON project which links a number of University Departments in studying the interdisciplinary dimensions of crime and bad behaviour from both contemporary and historical perspectives. He is also a Director of the Center for Inquiry (London).

    Modules taught


    • U67505 Disunited Kingdoms
    • U67531 Crime and Punishment in 19th Century Britain
    • U67532 Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Underworld
    • U67527 Witchcraft and Magic in Early Modern Europe
    • U67560 Murder, Mayhem, Modernity - Crime in 20th century Britain and America
    • U67580 Primary Sources


    • Religion, Doubt and Secularism in Victorian England
    • Crime and Punishment

    Radicalism in Britain, blasphemy, the history of religion and the cultural history of law and crime.

    Research interests

    Blasphemy, history of shame, blame and culpability, links between religion and crime, history of secularisation, history of radicalism and the affinities all these have with cultural history.

    Research projects

    Immediate research projects

    Completing monograph (with Anne-Marie Kilday) 'Shame and Modernity' for Palgrave Publishing

    Forthcoming projects

    Also researching for a project on the relationship between Religion and Law since 1600 and an extension of the 'Stories of Belief' project to now include secular stories of unbelief.


    • Kilday A-M, Nash DS, Shame and Modernity in Britain: 1890 to the present, Palgrave (2017)
      ISBN: 9780230359338
      Abstract Website
    • Kilday A-M, Nash DS, Ed., Law, Crime and Deviance since 1700: Micro-Studies in the History of Crime, Bloomsbury (2017)
      ISBN: 9781472585271
      Abstract Website
    • Nash DS, Christian ideals in British culture: stories of belief in the twentieth century, Palgrave Macmillan (2013)
      ISBN: 9780230572652
      Abstract Website
    • Kilday A-M, Nash DS, Ed., Histories of Crime: Britain 1600-2000, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers (2010)
      ISBN: 9780230224704
    • Nash D, Kilday A-M, Cultures of shame: exploring crime and morality in Britain 1600-1900, Palgrave Macmillan (2010)
      ISBN: 9780230525702
      Abstract Website
    • Nash D, Blasphemy in Britain and America, 1800-1930 , Pickering and Chatto Publishers (2010)
      ISBN: 9781851969968
    • Kilday A-M, Nash DS, Ed., Murder and Mayhem in Twentieth Century Britain, Palgrave ()

    Journal articles

    • Nash DS, 'Believing in secularisation : Stories of decline, potential and resurgence'
      Journal of Religious History 41 (4) (2017) pp.505-531
      ISSN: 0022-4227 eISSN: 0022-4227
      Abstract Website
    • Nash D, 'A Radical Approach to Anachronisms'
      History Today (2015)
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753
    • Nash D, 'The Propaganda of the Defeated'
      History Today (2015)
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753
    • Nash D, 'John Bull Spirit'
      History Today 65 (1) (2015)
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753
    • Nash D, 'Reassessing the "crisis of faith" in the victorian age: eclecticism and the spirit of moral inquiry'
      Journal of Victorian Culture 16 (1) (2011) pp.65-82
      ISSN: 1355-5502 eISSN: 1355-5502
      Abstract Website
    • Nash D, 'To prostitute morality, libel religion, and undermine government: blasphemy and the strange persistence of providence in Britain since the seventeenth century'
      Journal of Religious History 32 (2008) pp.439-456
      ISSN: 0022-4227 eISSN: 0022-4227
    • Nash D, Bakalis C, 'Incitement to Religious Hatred and the 'Symbolic': How Will the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 Work?'
      Liverpool Law Review 28 (3) (2007) pp.349-375
      ISSN: 0144-932X eISSN: 0144-932X
      Abstract Website
    • Nash D, 'Analyzing the History of Religious Crime. Models of Passive and Active Blasphemy Since the Medieval Period'
      Journal of Social History 41 (2007) pp.5-+
      ISSN: 0022-4529 eISSN: 0022-4529
    • Nash D, 'Beyond the Bible (parallels Between Robert Goulds Popular Turn-of-the-century Moral Instruction League and Todays Emphasis on Good Citizenship)'
      History Today 49 (1999) pp.26-27
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753
    • Nash D, 'The Boer War and Its Humanitarian Critics'
      History Today 49 (1999) pp.42-49
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753
    • Nash D, 'Arguing By Design + Science and Religion'
      History Today 47 (1997) pp.5-8
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753
    • Nash D, 'Blasphemy in Victorian Britain? Foote and the Freethinker'
      History Today 45 (1995) pp.13-19
      ISSN: 0018-2753 eISSN: 0018-2753

    Book chapters

    • Nash D, 'Genealogies of Indifference? New Theoretical Thoughts on the History and Creation of Narratives Surrounding Christianity, Secularism and Indifference' in Quack J, Schuh C (ed.), Religious Indifference in Modern Europe, Springer (2017)
      ISBN: 9783319484747
    • Nash D, 'Blasphemy, the Fall and Rise of a Legal Non Sequitor' in Cliteur P, Herrenberg T (ed.), The Fall and Rise of Blasphemy Law, Leiden University Press (2016)
    • Nash D, 'Leicester: Metropolis of Dissent' in Rodger R, Madgin R (ed.), Leicester a Modern History, Carnegie (2016)
      ISBN: 9781859362242
    • Nash DS, 'The Uses of a Martyred Blasphemer’s Death: The Execution of Thomas Aikenhead, Scotland’s Religion, The Enlightenment and Contemporary Activism' in Kilday A-M, Nash D (ed.), Law Crime and Deviance Since 1700: Micro-Studies in the History of Crime, Bloomsbury (2016)
      ISBN: 9781472585271
      Abstract Website
    • Nash D, Kilday A-M, 'Introduction' in Kilday A-M, Nash D (ed.), Law Crime and Deviance since 1700, Bloomsbury (2016)
      ISBN: 9781472585271
    • Nash D S, 'Blasphemy and the Law: The Fall and Rise of a Legal Non Sequitor' in Paul Cliteur and Tom Herrenberg (ed.), The Fall and Rise of Blasphemy Law, Leiden University Press (2016)
      ISBN: 978 90 8728 268 4
    • Nash D, 'Blasphemy and the Control of Spirituality, Censorship and Secularisation in Britain and the West between the 16th and 20th Centuries' in Cadilhon F, Suire E, Chassaigne P (ed.), Censure et autorites publiques: De l'epoque moderne a nos jours, Peter Lang (2015)
      ISBN: 9782875742735
    • Nash D, 'From Scurrilous Periodical to the Public Platform. Policing Blasphemers and Anti-Social Behaviour: Constructing the Public Peace Then and Now' in Pickard S (ed.), Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain: Victorian and Edwardian Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan (2014)
      ISBN: 9781137399304
      Abstract Website
    • Nash D, 'Afterword: Blasphemy Beyond Modernism' in Grenda S, Beneke C, Nash D (ed.), Profane: Sacrilegious Expression in a Multicultural Age, University of California Press (2014)
      ISBN: 9780520277229
    • Nash D, 'Towards an Agenda for the Wider Study of Shame: Theorising from nineteenth-century British Evidence' in Rowbotham J, Muravyeva M, Nash D (ed.), Shame, Blame and Culpability: Crime Violence and the Modern State, Routledge (2013)
      ISBN: 9780415537223
    • Rowbotham J, Muravyeva M, Nash D, 'Introduction' in Rowbotham J, Muravyeva M, Nash D (ed.), Shame, Blame and Culpability: Crime Violence and the Modern State, Routledge (2012)
      ISBN: 9780415537223
    • Kilday A-M, Nash D, 'Desperate Measures or Cruel Intentions: Infanticide in Britain since 1600' in Kilday A, Nash DS (ed.), Histories of Crime: Britain 1600-2000, Palgrave (2010)

    Conference papers


    • Nash D, review of God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide., in American Historical Review 117 (2013) pp.1189-1190
      ISSN: 0002-8762 eISSN: 0002-8762
    • Nash D, review of Crisis of Doubt: Honest Faith in Nineteenth-century England, in English Historical Review 123 (2008) pp.233-235
      ISSN: 0013-8266 eISSN: 0013-8266
    • Nash D, review of Blasphemy. Impious Speech in the West From the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History 54 (2004) pp.589-590
      ISSN: 0022-0469 eISSN: 0022-0469
    • Nash D, review of Religion and Society in England, 1850-1914, in Journal of Religious History 22 (1998) pp.238-240
      ISSN: 0022-4227 eISSN: 0022-4227
    • Nash D, review of Workers Worlds - Cultures and Communities in Manchester and Salford, 1880-1939, in Economic History Review 48 (1995) pp.191-193
      ISSN: 0013-0117 eISSN: 0013-0117

    Other publications

    • Nash D, 'Blasphemy Introduction'
      Journal of Religious History 32 (2008) pp.393-397
      ISSN: 0022-4227 eISSN: 0022-4227

    Membership of professional bodies

    Fellow of the Royal Historical Society



    Consultancy to the National Secular Society regarding repeal of the blasphemy laws in Britain. Also consultancy with the National Secualr Society regarding the administration of religious oaths in parliamentary democracies. In 2003 gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences.



    Conference papers given since 2003

    • ‘Blasphemy: legislating then, legislating now’ to Centre for the Study of Hate Crime/SOLON Conference. Hate Crime in Perspective, February 2003.
    • Featured Round Table participant in ‘Future of Hate Crime Studies’ panel at this same conference.
    • ‘Republicanism in England: A middle class cultural triumph?. To Midlands Victorian Studies Seminar, Birmingham University, May 2003.
    • ‘Religious Citizenship or Religious Identity? Historical Perspectives on a Conundrum’. To Law Seminar Oxford Brookes University, June 2003.
    • 'Secular geographies of London'. To Conference London Politics 1815-1914. Institute of Historical Research, June 2003.
    • ‘Blasphemy and Golobalisation’ to Conference. Citoyennete, empires, mondialisation, Universite Blaise Pascal, Clermont Ferrand, September 2003.
    • ‘Punishing the Profaners. The place of Order and Retribution in Punishing blasphemous Crimes. Social History Society Conference, Rouen, France, January 2004.
    • ‘Profane paradigms; Blasphemy in early modern Europe. To ESSH conference, Berlin, March 2004.
    • ‘Blasphemous evils and evil Blasphemies’ To Conference The nature of evil, Mansfield College, Oxford, July 2004.
    • ‘Blasphemy, violence and the anti-Civilising process. Social History Society Conference, Dublin, Ireland, January 2005.
    • March 2005 ‘Blasphemy the helpmate of evil’ to conference ‘Religion and Evil’ Freij University Amsterdam/TroppenMuseum.
    • November 2005 Opening Featured Keynote Speech (funded) at ‘Blasphemy and the Sacrilegous’ Centre for Humanities Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
    • April 2006 ‘Blasphemy and the emergence of the modern State’ Social History Society Annual Conference, Reading.
    • March 2007 ‘Models of ‘passive’ and ‘active’ blasphemy’. Social History Society Annual Conference, Exeter
    • July 2007 ‘The ‘children of the brain’ face the ‘Herod of authority’ Blasphemy’s past and its shadow over our present and our future. Featured Keynote speech to ‘Theory, Faith, Culture – an interdisciplinary international conference, University of Cardiff
    • September 2007 Opening Featured Keynote Speech Law Religion and Culture Conference, University of Lancaster
    • Seminar Series ‘Law and Crime: Past into Present’ in conjunction with the Centre for Legal Research and Policy Studies (Oxford Brookes) 2003 onwards.
    • Keynote lecture as Inaugral event of the Religion and Philosophy Conference at the Catholic Institute of Sydney (October 2008).
    • Keynote Lecturer to the Conference of Sweden's National Church in Stockholm (december 2009).
    • Other international papers given since 2007 in Oxford, Utrecht, St Petersburg, Lyon, Amsterdam, Warwick, Lison, Trinity College Dublin, London, Keele, Helsinki, Tampere and Bordeaux.
    • Addressed atheist Congress Dublin (June 2011)
    • Invited to Brief Member of the Irish Parliament on the issue of blasphemy (February 2012).
    • Addressed the Irish Constitutional Convention about blasphemy law repeal (November 2013).