Research

My research examines the ‘Intellectual History of War’, taking the example of the Prussian King Frederick II (reigned 1740 – 1786). I fundamentally re-interpret the much-studied Prussian king by examining not so much Frederick’s military actions or his military writings but rather the intellectual influences inspiring his military thinking. Whereas Frederick has been depicted as a classic example of ‘German militarism’, I show that his military ideas were primarily French, reflecting the towering influence of King Louis XIV of France. Examining military history from the perspective of the history of science, I stress the subjective nature of eighteenth-century military thought, challenging long-held claims that it sought to reduce warfare to mathematical calculation. I also examine how military ideas are created, showing that Prussian strategy and tactics during Frederick’s campaigns were produced collectively by several individuals within the Prussian military hierarchy, so that ‘Frederick’s military ideas’ were not necessarily his own.

My PhD dissertation was awarded the André Corvisier Prize 2019.

Key Publications

‘The Opportunistic Great Power: Hohenzollern Strategy under Frederick II, 1740-86’, in Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Beatrice Heuser (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Practice of Strategy(Cambridge University Press) (Forthcoming)

‘Subjective Practices of War: The Prussian Army and the Zorndorf Campaign, 1758’, History of Science(OnlineFirst, October 2020) (https://doi.org/10.1177/0073275320958950)

‘‘The Age of Louis XIV’: Frederick the Great and French Ways of War’, German History 38 (2020), pp. 24-46 (https://doi.org/10.1093/gerhis/ghz069)

My PhD dissertation, ‘Frederick the Great and the Meanings of War, 1730-1755’, is available to read here: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/277782

Biography

I completed my BA (2004), MPhil (2007) and PhD (2018) at St. John’s College, Cambridge. My PhD supervisor was Professor Sir Christopher Clark. My research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte, the Bühler-Bolstorff-Stiftung Berlin, the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, and the Stiftung Preußischer Schlösser und Gärten.

I previously worked in the British government, including at the Department of Health and Department for Education. I also worked for LEPRA, a charity based in Hyderabad, India, which helps people affected by leprosy and other diseases of poverty.