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Dr Brodie Waddell

BA and MA (Victoria), PhD (Warwick)
Lecturer in Early Modern History

Contact Details

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
Room 3.10
28 Russell Square



  • I joined the department in 2012, after completing post-doctoral research fellowships at York and Cambridge. My research focuses on English history from c.1550 to c.1750, especially social and economic life. I teach, supervise and research with my colleagues in early modern history at Birkbeck and beyond.

Research and teaching

  • Introduction
  • The ‘political’, ‘cultural’ and ‘economic’ realms are too often considered in isolation from each other. My work focuses on the relationships between these different spheres of history: How does radical political change transform the economic climate? What is the impact of shifting policies or ideologies on the daily lives of ordinary people? Why does religious zeal or moral commitment sometimes overcome self-interest? By investigating these sorts of questions in the context of early modern England, I try to show how powerful ideas or crucial events can ripple through an entire society, shaping the way people see and experience their world. Moreover, the shock of a sudden change or an acute crisis often spurred intense reactions from those affected. Investigating these aspects of early modern society can reveal unexpected connections that can reach well beyond the seventeenth century.

  • Research interests
  • My research interests span a variety of aspects of England, c.1550-1750, including:

    • petitions and supplications
    • writing practices among middling and labouring people
    • the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1688
    • charity, welfare and the poor law
    • religious attitudes to economic issues
    • craft guilds and local government
    • land management and common resources
    • protest, riot and rebellion
    • ballads, pamphlets and other printed ‘popular culture’

    Research project

    I am the Primary Investigator on 'The Power of Petitioning in Seventeenth-Century England' (2019-20), with Jason Peacey of UCL (Co-I) and a Sharon Howard of Birkbeck (Postdoctoral Research Associate). This project is funded by an AHRC Research Grant, AH/S0001654/1.


  • My main teaching includes:

    MA and PhD supervision

    I am happy to supervise research on most aspects of British history, c.1500-1800, especially the social, economic and cultural history of early modern England. I have supervised MA dissertations on English workhouses and pauper apprenticeship, 1598-1723; female artists in 17th-century London; regulating the marketplaces of London and Exeter, c.1600-1650; the role of customs officers in 18th-century England; and many others.

    I currently supervise four doctoral students:


Professional membership

    • Royal Historical Society
    • Economic History Society
    • Social History Society
    • History & Policy Network
    • Warwick Network for Parish Research
    • Victoria County History Project

Current activities

    In addition to my on-going research, I am a co-founder and contributor to ‘The Many-Headed Monster’, a collaborative early modern history blog at