In my research I am interested in the history of Europe from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. The religious, social and political face of Europe changed dramatically during these centuries, making this a very dynamic period in history. The Reformation, colonization and the Enlightenment were movements originating in Europe that shape the world until this day -- for better or for worse.
My scholarship has been devoted to early modern German, British, and Irish history. My book on the process of dual confessionalization in Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (2000) is concerned with confessional conflict and coexistence in a politically diverse and multi-ethnic environment. It poses the question of why England's attempt to introduce the Protestant Reformation in Ireland ended in warfare, colonization projects, and fierce confessional resistance.
I am currently working on two projects in German history. The first is concerned with holy wells as popular worship sites in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Lutheranism and Catholicism. The second is a study of eighteenth-century German spas as meeting places of the nobility and the bourgeoisie.
I have co-authored an introduction to the historiography of the Reformation for advanced students. This book focuses on historiographical controversies in the last fifty years with chapters on periodization, the urban Reformation, the radical Reformation, the concept of confessionalization, iconoclasm and the role of pamphlets, and gender and the Reformation.
My research interests encompass the success or failure of the Reformation in different European countries, church discipline in early modern Europe, conversion as an indicator of confessional conflict and coexistence, popular religion, the formation of religious and confessional identities, and space, discourse, and material culture as historiographical concepts.
I teach an array of specialized courses in early modern European history with a particular emphasis on Germany, Britain, and Ireland. For example, I teach courses on early modern and modern Irish history, the confessional churches in early modern Europe, British history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the history of early modern Germany, the political and social makeup of the Holy Roman Empire, and aspects of the Enlightenment in central Europe as well as historiographical and methodological courses.