Olav Sigmundstad

PhD Student
I studied law at the University of Oslo, where I wrote my master thesis on the constitutional theory of the fifteenth-century lawyer John Fortescue. I then studied history and intellectual history, also at the University of Oslo. In my undergraduate theses, I focused on the use of Machiavelli in parliamentarian, and later anti-Cromwellian, argument in the English Revolution; and on the revival of impeachment in 1621 and the subsequent development of the ida in English political and legal thought. After completing two bachelor's degrees, one in History and one in Intellectual History, I went to Cambridge to undertake the MPhil course in Political Thought and Intellectual History. Here I concentrated on political thought in earlier Stuart England: on the use of historical and legal documents in parliamentary debate; on the political thought of Henry Parker; and on ideas of contract between Richard Hooker and Thomas Hobbes. My MPhil dissertation was named 'Ideas of contract and the limits of subjection in English political thought, ca. 1590-1650'. I am currently writing a PhD in History.
The theme of my PhD, broadly understood, is English constitutionalism and the English understanding of the concepts 'rule of law' and 'arbitrary power'. My primary focus is still political thought and constitutional debate in earlier Stuart England, but I have also started to turn my attention to the Medieval and Tudor antecedents to the ideas and institutions I am studying in their Stuart iteration. I am especially interested in the wider nature of English constitutionalism; in the continuity between Medieval, Tudor, and Stuart concepts and idioms; in political thought and ideological conflict in the early Stuart period; in parliamentary debate and in parliament as an arena for political discourse; and in the ideological background to, as well as the ideological component of, the English civil war.


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