Dr Gareth Atkins

Bye Fellow, Queens' College
Director of Studies, Newnham College
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History
Dr Gareth Atkins
I am a historian of religion, politics and culture in modern Britain. The main strand of my research to date is concerned with religious networks: how they operated at the interface between an ‘early modern’ world of patronage and connection while adapting to the more open religious marketplace of plural modernity, voluntary fundraising and unfettered print culture. My first monograph, Converting Britannia: Evangelicals and British Public Life, 1770-1840, was published by Boydell and Brewer in 2019, and reconstructs both the networks through which evangelicals and moralists exerted influence within politics and public life and how those groups used the platforms thus created to reshape ideas about nationhood and individual identity.

I have also written widely on the thought-worlds of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Protestantism. During my British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2009-12) I focused on ideas about and uses of iconic figures in the present and from the past, producing articles on naval heroes, celebrity and the invocation of the past for present purposes, as well as an edited book, Making and Remaking Saints in Nineteenth-Century Britain, which was published by Manchester University Press in 2016. A growing interest in cultural media as well as their messages is reflected in my co-editorship of a forthcoming journal issue on stained glass as a site of surprising debate and discussion.

Another forthcoming co-edited collection, Chosen Peoples: the Bible, Race and Empire in the Long Nineteenth Century (Manchester Studies in Imperialism, 2020), points towards his next project, which aims to use the copious archives of missionary and Bible institutions to tell a new story about religious experience, encounters and exchanges ‘on the ground’ in a variety of British colonial contexts.
Belief and unbelief in modern Britain; politics and political institutions; material culture; masculinities; heroes and their construction.
Currently I lecture and supervise for Papers 5 and 10 (British Political and Economic Social History, c. 1688-1880s), as well as offering Historical Projects questions for the History and Politics joint tripos. I also teach Historical Argument and Practice.
Hon. Secretary, Ecclesiastical History Society
I am happy to supervise in any area broadly relevant to my research.


Tags & Themes


Queens' College, Silver Street, Cambridge. CB3 9ET


Key publications

Chosen Peoples, Promised Lands: the Bible, Race and Empire in the Nineteenth Century, edited with Brian Murray and Shinjini Das (Manchester University Press, 2020)

Converting Britannia: Evangelicals and British Public Life, 1770-1840 (Boydell & Brewer, 2019)

Making and Remaking Saints in Nineteenth-Century Britain, solely edited (Manchester University Press, 2016)

Reframing Stained Glass in Nineteenth-Century Britain: a special issue of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in Nineteenth-Century Culture, edited with Jasmine Allen (forthcoming, 2020).

‘Anglican Evangelicalism’, in Jeremy Gregory (ed.), Establishment and empire: the development of Anglicanism, 1662-1829: Oxford History of Anglicanism, vol ii (forthcoming, 2017)

'Christian heroes, providence and patriotism in wartime Britain, 1793-1815', Historical Journal, 58 (2015), 393-414.

‘Religion, politics and patronage in the late-Hanoverian navy, c. 1780-c. 1820', Historical Research, 88 (2015), 272-90.

‘Truth at stake: the nineteenth-century reputation of Thomas Cranmer’, in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 90, 1 (2014), 257-86.

‘Anglican Evangelical Theology, c.1830-1850: the case of Edward Bickersteth’, Journal of Religious History, 38 (2014), 1-19.

Other publications