Catherine S. Arnold

Assistant Professor

(901) 678-3380
(901) 678-2720
MI 127
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 Ph.D., History, Yale University, 2017

Fields of Interest

I am a historian of early modern Britain and Europe with research and teaching interests in the history of humanitarianism and human rights, early modern religion, early modern migration, and early modern international politics.

My current book project explores why and how the practice of humanitarian intervention developed in early eighteenth-century Britain and Europe. Using manuscript and print sources from Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Austria, I trace how refugees and prisoners from across Europe—including Protestants, Jews and Catholics—mobilized networks of their co-religionists to lobby British officials for intervention. Members of these networks argued that when a state uses its power to coerce men and women into changing their religious beliefs, humanity requires other states to intervene and come to the aid of the sufferers. Thanks to this advocacy, during the first half of the eighteenth century, Britain intervened on behalf of Protestant prisoners in France and Savoy, Jewish fugitives in Portugal, Catholic prisoners in France, and Jewish refugees in the Habsburg monarchy. In each case, British officials argued that humanity required them to intervene and aid the victims of state abuse.

This research has been supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from Past & Present, as well as by numerous fellowships and awards, including a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, a Chateaubriand Fellowship from the Embassy of France in the United States, and a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship from the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. In 2017 my dissertation was awarded the Hans Gatzke Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in European History by Yale University.

Courses taught

World History 1500 to the Present
Early Modern Britain, 1485-1815
Early Modern Europe, 1485-1815
The Enlightenment, 1650-1815
Human Rights in Europe and the World, 1500 to the Present
Readings in Modern European History

Representative Publications

"Affairs of Humanity: Arguments for Humanitarian Intervention in England and Europe, 1698-1715," English Historical Review, August 2018.

Representative Presentations

"Transnational Lobbying and the Shaping of International Opinion, 1712-14," British History in the 17th Century Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London. 31 May 2018.

"Affairs of Humanity: Human Rights before the Nation State," Histories of Human Rights Summer School, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, IT. 18-22 Jun. 2018

"Affairs of Humanity: Arguing for Humanitarian Intervention, 1698-1713," Cambridge Seminar in Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge. Scheduled for 25 February 2019.

Please see my CV for a full list of publications, presentations, awards, and teaching.