My research explores connections, relationships and interactions between Britain and China from 1600 until the First Opium War (1839–1842). My new book project focuses on Britain's involvement in slavery and human trafficking in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea between 1600 and 1850. Methodologically, I am interested in playing with scale in history and experimenting with the intersection between global and local, macro and microhistory.
Early Modern Britain; Economic History; Great Divergence; Drugs in History; China and the West; Qing China; Slavery; British Empire; Microhistory; Global History
Mr. Smith Goes to China: Three Scots in the Making of Britain’s Global Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, July 2019)
Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals
“From Cross-Cultural Credit to Colonial Debt: British Expansion in Madras and Canton, 1750–1800,” American Historical Review, Volume 124, Issue 1, 1 February 2019, Pages 87–107.
“Two Botanists, a Financial Crisis and Britain’s First Embassy to China,” Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, Vol. 34, Issue 4, pp. 314–322 (2018)
“Teatime in the North Country: Consumption of Chinese Exports in North-East England,” Northern History, Vol. XLIX, pp. 51-74 (March 2012)
“British Private Traders between India and China” in The Private Side of the Canton Trade, 1700–1840: Beyond the Companies, Paul Van Dyke and Susan Schopp (eds.) pp. 7-20, (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2018)
“Scots Running Amok: How Smugglers, Speculators, and Thieves Left Their Mark on the British Empire and China” Aeon Magazine, June 11, 2019.