Dr. Andrew Wells


Localising Liberty: Freedom in the British World, c.1660-c.1760

This project examines the range of ideas encapsulated by "liberty" and "freedom" in five cities across the early modern British world. Local differences have tended to be obscured in scholarship on these ideas during the period, and the project will recapture their meanings within (and shared/disputed between) Bristol, Glasgow, Cork, New York, and Hannover. It does so by analysing four key types of liberty: political, individual, religious, and economic. It highlights the importance of localities in shaping discourses of freedom, especially by showing that contributions to wider debates on liberty were moulded by local cultures, concerns, politics, people, and spaces.

Research Interests

I work on the intersection between culture, society, and ideas in the British world of the long eighteenth century (c.1660-c.1840). My doctoral research and forthcoming book explore the development of ideas about difference and the body that produced and/or influenced categories of identity that are enormously important in the modern world: race and sex. My postdoctoral research deals with another big idea - freedom - and how contested and multiple were its meanings in the early modern British Atlantic world.

Key Publications

  • Andrew Wells, Generating Identity in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Race, Sex, and the Body in Enlightened Culture (Forthcoming).
  • Andrew Wells and Sarah Cockram (eds.), Interspecies Interactions: Animals and Humans between the Middle Ages and Modernity (Routledge, under contract).
  • Andrew Wells, "Blurred Lines: Bestiality and the Human Ape in Enlightenment Scotland", in Wells and Cockram (eds.), Interspecies Interactions (Routledge, under contract).
  • Andrew Wells, "Race and Racism in the Global European World before 1800", History Compass (2015).
  • Andrew Wells, "Sinking Feelings: Representing and Resisting the Titanic Disaster in Britain, 1914-c.1960", Journal of British Studies, 51, 2 (2013), 464-490.
  • Andrew Wells, "Race and Racism", in Trevor Burnard (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in "Atlantic History" (New York: Oxford University Press, online 12 Dec. 2012).[doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199730414-0163]
  • Andrew Wells, "Confusion Embodied: Epistemologies of Sex and Race in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748-9) and the Histoire naturelle (1749-1804)", in Kate Fisher and Sarah Toulalan (eds.), Bodies, Sex and Desire from the Renaissance to the Present (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011), 49-69.
  • Andrew Wells, "Race Fixing: Improvement and Race in Eighteenth-Century Britain", History of European Ideas, 36 (2010), 134-138.

  • Key Appointments

    Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
    Graduiertenschule für Geisteswissenschaften Göttingen

  • Postdoctoral Researcher

  • 2010-2013
    University of Edinburgh
    School of History, Classics, and Archaeology

  • Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2011-13)
  • Teaching Fellow in the History of Ideas (2010-11)

  • 2009-2010
    University of Edinburgh
    Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)

  • Newby Trust Postdoctoral Fellow

  • 2005-2009
    University of Oxford
    Faculty of History and Merton College

  • PhD Researcher, 'Sex and Racial Theory in Britain, 1690-1833'