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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



After achieving a first class BA (Hons) in History at Cardiff University, with a central focus on medieval and early modern British history, I completed a History MSc (distinction) at the University of Edinburgh. My final dissertation on the relationship between Scotland, Scottish identity and the Royal Navy during the 1793-1815 French Wars was selected by the department to represent it at the Royal Historical Society's 2016 Rees Davies Prize. During my undergraduate studies, I was awarded the Cardiff University A. G. Little Prize for best performance in History at level 1, the Clive Knowles Prize for best single honours performance in modern history (year two), and the A. G. Little Prize for best overall performance in my cohort (year three), next to the First Year Politics Prize, for best performance in Politics modules. One of my essays on the Scottish Covenanters was shortlisted among the finalists for the Dublin 2013 Undergraduate Awards, and in 2015 I won the University of Edinburgh Jeremiah Dalziel Prize with a paper on Tom Paine's cosmopolitanism. I am currently a recipient of the Robinson College Lewis-AHRC Scholarship for the Humanities, and a honorary Vice-Chancellor's Scholar at the University of Cambridge. In parallel with my historical studies, I have been striving to acquire at least a reading knowledge of as many languages as possible. In the past, I have won first, second and third places in national and international Latin and Ancient Greek translation competitions (including the Certamen Classicum Florentinum, Certamen Grande Taciteum, and Certamen Latinum Syracusanum), and I am currently focusing on North European languages.

I am curious about how 'nationalities', intended both as labels and as barriers, have been asserted, reinforced and, most of all, transcended, in different historical contexts. My research topic derives from a combination between this and my interest in naval and maritime history: multinational shipboard environments offer a very good model for these mechanisms, particularly in an emphatically national Navy, and in a period of strong popular patriotism like that of the French Wars. The study of foreigners in the Royal Navy remains a virtually unexplored historiographical field, which I hope to start covering with my thesis, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Other academic interests

Closely connected to my current work are interests in the history of transnational contacts in communities other than the maritime, and in econometric methodologies applied to social history. Further afield, and rather broadly, I am fascinated by languages (especially Latin) and their historical evolution, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century political thought, and the history of medicine.


Key publications: 

'Alien Seamen in the British Navy, British Law, and the British State, c.1793 - c.1815', The Historical Journal (FirstView, forthcoming in print 2019).

'Vers une histoire transnationale de la marine britannique au XVIIIème siècle / Towards a Transnational History of the Eighteenth-Century British Navy’, Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française, 397 – Perspectives Transnationales, 1780s-1820 (forthcoming, September 2019) [in French and English].

‘Scotland, Scottishness, British Integration and the Royal Navy, 1793-1815’, The Scottish Historical Review 97:1 (2018), pp. 85-118.


Department: History
Supervisor: Dr Renaud Morieux
College: Robinson
AHRC Subject Area: History
Title of Thesis: Foreign Seamen and the British Navy, 1793-1815
 Sara  Caputo