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Dr Joseph Hardwick

Associate Professor

Department: Humanities

My research interests and teaching specialisms lie primarily in modern British imperial, environmental, animal and religious history, with a particular focus on the political and religious culture of British settler communities. My current research considers the ways that people in modern Britain have engaged with the natural world, non-human animals, and ecological issues through rituals and ceremonies, both in religious and secular settings. I'm also interested in how societies respond when outbreaks of disease in the animal world - such as 'cattle plague' - coincide with epidemics and other crises among humans.

My first book considered the Church of England's relationship with the British empire, and my second explored how the diverse communities in British colonies could, at moments of crisis and celebration, come together to pray communally. In addition to teaching and researching animal and religious history at Northumbria, I am also secretary of the Ecclesiastical History Society.

Joseph Hardwick

My research connects the histories of religion and ritual and environmental crisis in modern Britain and the British Empire. More specifically, I'm interested in how Christian churches in modern Britain have developed a 'green' or 'ecological' awareness, as well as a concern for non-human animals. I'm currently researching the varied ways that people in modern Britain have connected to the natural world, non-human animals, and ecological issues through religious rituals, both in and beyond the sacred space of churches and chapels.

My most recent published work explores how far the intermixing of human life with the lives of a great variety of non-human animals, both wild and domesticated, has been reflected in everyday worship and ritual in British churches since the mid-1800s. Rituals and acts of worship involving animals - both symbolic and living ones - tended to multiply at moments of animal disease, such as outbreaks of rinderpest among cattle. My future research will explore how societies in Britain and beyond responded when disruptions in the animal world, such as disease outbreaks, coincided with human epidemics and other crises.  

My first book, An Anglican British World, published in 2014 by Manchester University Press, considered how the Church of England dealt with migration and how an institution that enjoyed a privileged status in parts of the British Isles tried to maintain a new kind of establishment overseas, most notably by projecting new forms of cultural and ethnic authority across the empire of British settlement.

The second book - Providence, Prayer and Empire: Special Worship in the British World, 1783-1919 (Manchester University Press, 2021) - considered those moments when colonial populations of many faiths and ethnicities came together to pray for common causes and objects in times of crisis and celebration, and, in so doing, expressed a powerful, and often inclusive, sense of religious community.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Animals, Anglicans, and cultures of prayer and worship in England, c.1900-c.1950, Hardwick, J. 1 Apr 2024, In: Journal of Ecclesiastical History
  • Cows, Communities, and Religious Responses to the 1865–66 British Rinderpest Outbreak, Hardwick, J. 1 Jun 2024, In: Journal of Religious History
  • Prayer, providence and empire: special worship in the British World, 1783-1919, Hardwick, J. 10 Aug 2021
  • Acts of God: continuities and change in Christian responses to extreme weather events from early modernity to the present, Hardwick, J., Stephens, R. 1 Mar 2020, In: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
  • The Church of England, Print Networks and the Book of Common Prayer in Atlantic Canada, c. 1750-c. 1830, Hardwick, J. 1 May 2020, Reappraisals of British Colonisation in Atlantic Canada, 1700-1930, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press
  • Special worship in the British Empire: from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, Hardwick, J., Williamson, P. Jun 2018, In: Studies in Church History
  • Australia and New Zealand, Hardwick, J. 5 Oct 2017, The Oxford History of Anglicanism, Oxford University Press
  • Fasts, thanksgivings and senses of community in nineteenth-century Canada and the British Empire, Hardwick, J. 22 Nov 2017, In: Canadian Historical Review
  • Special days of worship and national religion in the Australian colonies, 1790-c.1914, Hardwick, J. 28 Feb 2017, In: Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
  • The Church of England and English Clergymen in the United States, 1783-1861, Hardwick, J. 2017, English Ethnicity & Culture in North America , University of South Carolina Press

  • Michael Pearce The military history of Berwick Upon Tweed from 1792 - 1908. Start Date: 01/10/2021 End Date: 10/03/2023
  • Heather Page ‘The Political Languages of the Durham Miners, 1832-1884’ Start Date: 01/03/2020 End Date: 30/03/2022
  • Heather Page Start Date: 01/03/2020 End Date: 19/02/2021
  • Shane Smith Forgotten Settlers: The Migration, Society and Legacies of British Military Veterans to Upper Canada (Ontario), 1815-1855 Start Date: 07/10/2014 End Date: 18/07/2018
  • Stan Neal Jardine Matheson and Chinese Migration in the British Empire, 1833-1853 Start Date: 02/10/2012 End Date: 05/04/2016
  • Jennifer Kain Preventing 'Unsound Minds' from Populating the British World: Australasian Immigration Control and Mental Illness 1830s - 1920s Start Date: 25/04/2012 End Date: 12/11/2015

  • History PhD January 09 2009
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2011

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