Professor Thomas Munck
- Honorary Professorial Research Fellow (School of Humanities)
My research interests focus on comparative European social, cultural and political history during the two centuries leading up to (and including) the French Revolution. I am currently completing a book on public opinion, political culture and print 1635-1795, with particular reference to France, Britain, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and the German-speaking parts of central Europe. It is a primarily about how print enhances political awareness in early modern Europe, and uses a comparative framework to look at dissemination, transmission and translation (or creative adaptation) across different language-communities. I am trying to throw new light on the early origins and dissemination of the Enlightenment in different cultural contexts within Europe, while raising questions about the many ways freedom of expression might be curtailed everywhere.
Both the book and my other current research projects use a large sample of texts published over a wide chronological span, including everything from substantive academic works through to pamphlets, journals and newspapers. I am particularly interested in the translation and adaptation of texts/ideas across several languages and through various printed media, up to and including the French Revolution. Visual material (including cartoons and engravings) also offers new insights.
In addition, I have a long-standing research interest in the musical culture of the early modern period, including musical performance practice, the design and making of musical instruments, and of course the transmission of musical manuscripts and publications. I participate in the performance of early music, as a member of the Squair Mile Consort of Viols.
I have held research grants awarded by the Carnegie Trust and by the British Academy. I was visiting Senior Fellow at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel (Germany) during the summer of 2014, and am pursuing further collaborations within two networks of historians of print in Germany and Norway.
In recent years I have supervised a number of students to successful completion of PhD theses. Past and current subjects include:
- Migrant identities in revolutionary Paris;
- reading, print and communication in the European Enlightenment across national boundaries, including the late Enlightenment in Scotland and the German lands;
- political culture, censorship, translation and the dissemination of print in Europe before 1800.
I am now also co-supervising more inter-disciplinary research on the history of early printing and the use of books in Europe, in collaboration with GU Library Special Collections staff.
Various team-taught courses at levels 1-2
At Honours, I am responsible for 'Print, Propaganda and Subversion in Europe 1630-1800', 'Rich and Poor in the Age of Enlightenment', and have in the past taught a History Special Subject on 'The French Revolution 1787-95'.
I co-teach a PGT course on ‘Tom Paine as an enlightenment Revolutionary’, and run the Early Modern Work-in-Progress research seminar for PhD students and staff.