Early Modern History

About us

Extraordinary developments in religion and politics, discoveries in the natural world and unprecedented urban growth characterised the 15th to 18th centuries. These changes in turn gave rise to dramatic innovations in architecture and the visual arts.

Within this rich field, our expertise particularly lies in the histories of religion and beliefs with their social and cultural impacts, in the histories of crime, terrorism, magic and witch-hunts, and in the histories of science, art, architecture and the urban environment. Current research topics include the impact of the Reformation on church architecture and migration, blasphemy, magical treasure-hunting, cleanliness in early modern Italian ports and the construction of status in early modern portraiture.

For research students, this range of staff specialisms offers exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary research in early modern history, for example into religious art or architecture or into cultural, social or artistic aspects of early modern cities.

‘Air’ by Jan Breughel the younger (1601-1678) and Hendrik van Balen the elder (1575-1632)

Related courses


Jane Stevens Crawshaw

Dr Jane Stevens Crawshaw

Deputy Head for Strategy and Development

View profile



Name Role Email
Professor Johannes Dillinger Professor of Early Modern History dillinger@brookes.ac.uk
Professor William Gibson Professor of Ecclesiastical History wgibson@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Harry Mount Programme Lead for History and History of Art htmount@brookes.ac.uk
Professor David Nash Emeritus Professor of History dsnash@brookes.ac.uk


Completed projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Cleaning Up Renaissance Italy

This project explored environmental management, public health and social control in the Renaissance ports of Genoa and Venice, demonstrating how governments sought to use the regulation of the built and natural environments in order to bring about moral and behavioural change amongst their cosmopolitan communities.

Dr Jane Stevens Crawshaw Leverhulme Trust From: January 2012
Until: December 2017

Images Credit:

Banner image: "Frankfurt (Alemania) Planos de población 1572" by Biblioteca Nacional de España is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"About us" image: Jan Breughel the younger (1601-1678) and Hendrik van Balen the elder (1575-1632), ‘Air’ by Dorset Photographic is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0