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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I am an historian of atheism, unbelief and 'heathenism' in the religious culture of the Atlantic world between 1500 and 1800. Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, my doctoral thesis is entitled '"Heathenism" in the Protestant Atlantic World, c. 1558 - c. 1700'. Under the supervision of Professor Alexandra Walsham, I explore the relationship between theology, language and culture in shaping Protestant attitudes towards non-believers in Elizabethan and Stuart England as well as colonial Virginia and New England. The thesis is in the final stages of revision and is due to be submitted in June 2019. Set in a global context, my current postdoctoral research takes these themes in a new direction by investigating the wide-ranging intellectual trajectories of Atlantic attitudes towards atheism and unbelief within communities of Christian believers in North America from the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 to the American Revolution and its aftermath.  

Other academic interests

Besides my thesis, I study the history of science, religion and atheism in Romanticism and the Enlightenment, as well as magic, witchcraft and the supernatural in early modern Europe and the Americas. I am also interested in the theory and practice of History, particularly as these relate to postmodernism and language. I enjoy English and American literature and poetry, as well as political writing. 


Key publications: 

[Peer-Reviewed Journal Article] Patrick S. McGhee, 'Unbelief, the Senses and the Body in Nicholas Bownde's The vnbeleefe of S. Thomas (1608)', Studies in Church History, 2016. 

[Book Review] Patrick McGhee, 'Crawford Gribben and Scott Spurlock, Puritans and Catholics in the trans-Atlantic world; Brandon Marriott, Transnational networks and cross-religious exchange; Antoinette Sutto, Loyal Protestants and dangerous Papists', Seventeenth Century, 32 (2017), pp. 224-227.

Department: History
Supervisor: Professor Alexandra Walsham
College: Corpus Christi
AHRC Subject Area: History
Title of Thesis: "Heathenism" in the Protestant Atlantic World, c. 1558 - c. 1700
 Patrick Seamus McGhee