George Southcombe

Fellow by Special Election in History and Director of the Sarah Lawrence Programme


Dr Southcombe’s research focuses on two broad, overlapping areas: the history of seventeenth-century dissent, and the relationship between early modern literature and history.

In his work George has been engaged in uncovering evidence for different modes of popular political engagement, and, in particular, the importance of nonconformist print culture. His three-volume edition of nonconformist verse was published by Pickering and Chatto in 2012.

He has also produced, alongside his friend and colleague Dr Grant Tapsell, a broader study of the late seventeenth century, which uses visual and literary materials alongside the more conventional sources of political history.

He has recently published an essay on scepticism towards witchcraft in Cromwellian England in a collection of essays, of which he is one of the editors, written in honour of his retired doctoral supervisor Dr Clive Holmes. Clive taught many Wadham students during his time in Oxford. 

George continues to work on interdisciplinary themes, and he has just completed a monograph on the culture of dissent in Restoration England.

Courses taught

George, as well as being Director of the Sarah Lawrence Programme, is a College Lecturer in History. He teaches early modern British and European history. He has supervised, or is supervising, graduate students working on various aspects of English witchcraft, Quakerism, and Anglo-Japanese relations.

George grew up on Dartmoor in Devon and attended his local comprehensive school. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Keble College. From 2008 to 2011 he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Somerville College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In his spare time George writes occasional poetry, goes to the theatre, cooks and runs. He used to act, and he now fulfils his dramatic inclinations by reading to his young son.

Selected Publications

The Culture of Dissent in Restoration England: ‘The Wonders of the Lord’ (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2019).

‘The Satire of Dissent’, in The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 56-73.

‘The Quakers and Politics, 1660-1689’, in Richard C. Allen and Rosemary Moore with specialist contributors, The Quakers, 1656-1723: The Evolution of an Alternative Community (University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018), pp. 270-90.

(Co-edited with Grant Tapsell), Revolutionary England: Essays for Clive Holmes (London: Routledge, 2017).

‘Thomas Ady and the Politics of Scepticism in Cromwellian England’, in Southcombe and Tapsell (eds), Revolutionary England, pp. 163-75.

(Co-edited with Almut Suerbaum & Benjamin Thompson), Polemic: Language as Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Discourse (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015).

‘The Polemics of Moderation in Late Seventeenth-Century England’, in Suerbaum, Southcombe and Thompson (eds), Polemic, pp. 237-51.

English Nonconformist Poetry, 1660-1700, 3 vols (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012).

(With Grant Tapsell), Restoration Politics, Religion and Culture: Britain and Ireland, 1660-1714 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

‘Dissent and the Restoration Church of England’, in Grant Tapsell (ed.), The Later Stuart Church, 1660-1714 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012), pp. 195-216.

(With Anna Bayman), ‘Shrews in Pamphlets and Plays’, in David Wootton and Graham Holderness (eds), Gender and Power in Shrew-Taming Narratives, 1500-1700 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 11-28.

‘“A Prophet and a Poet Both!”: Nonconformist Culture and the Literary Afterlives of Robert Wild’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 73 (2010), 249-62.

‘Reading Early Modern Literature Historically’, Literature Compass, 7 (2010), 954-64.