I have recently started work on a new project exploring the formation of disciplinary boundaries and distinct bodies of knowledge in the first half of the nineteenth century.
I am particularly interested in the ways in which pre-existing scholarly knowledge, especially classical scholarship, helped to shape, define and legitimise emerging disciplines including the natural and physical sciences. I am thinking about these questions in relation to a range of different sites including universities, mechanics institutes, learned societies, religious societies, clubs etc. I am also interested in drawing comparisons between processes of discipline formation and hierarchies of knowledge in the past and present, particularly the ways in which the relationship between the arts and humanities, on the one hand, and STEM subjects, on the other, has been constructed in the immediate past and present.
More broadly, this reflects my interest in exploring ways in which university history can be used as a critical lens through which to view, critique and ultimately reform contemporary higher education policy and practice.