I am a lecturer in modern European history at Bristol University. My research focuses on folk culture in the nineteenth century, including cultures of body and place, and witchcraft. I am particularly interested in creative history writing.
My first book is about the Landes de Gascogne, the moorlands of southwestern France, which were dramatically transformed by a government forestation initiative in 1857. Drawing on the extensive ethnographic archive assembled by Félix Arnaudin (1844-1921) in the final years of the nineteenth and the start of the twentieth century, I explore who the inhabitants of the moors and forest were, and how they lived the changes to the landscape and their culture.
At the moment, most of my research is on cases of witchcraft in modern France (1789-1940).
What do these tragic dramas, which seem to be temporally displaced, hangovers from the early-modern period, tell historians about the lives of ordinary people at the time? Surprising things, I think, about medicine, technologies, mobility, and social change.
I have never had ebola.