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Robin Briggs

Emeritus Fellow since 2009
I am working on a book covering the history of North-Western Europe from c. 400 A.D. to 1914. Recent publications include a chapter on ‘The Rhine-Moselle Borderlands’ in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft (ed B. Levack), an article on ‘From Devilry to Sainthood: Mère Jeanne des Anges and the Catholic Reform’ in Women and Religion in the Atlantic Age, 1550-1900 (ed. M. Laven and E. Clark), and an article on ‘The Gallican Context for Pascal's Writings on Grace’ in Seventeenth Century French Studies. Other pieces in the press are contributions on social problems and policies in the later years of Louis XIV, and on emotions and witchcraft as they appear in Lorraine trial records. My current research interests are necessarily very wide, because I am writing a general book covering an immense span of European history. However I do also maintain a particular interest in seventeenth-century French history, with a more precise focus on the half-century of troubles from 1610-61. My next project is likely to be a book attempting to rethink aspects of this crucial period, where much recent work has added to our detailed knowledge, but there has been little in the way of changes to broader interpretations that now look dated and inadequate.
Contact: robin.briggs at
Robin Briggs
  • Background

    • Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College (from 2009)
    • Senior Research Fellow and University Lecturer in Modern History, University of Oxford (from 1978 to 2009)
    • Junior Research Fellow, All Souls College (from 1971 to 1978)
    • Prize Fellow, All Souls College (from 1964 to 1971)
    • Undergraduate, Balliol College, Oxford (from 1961 to 1964)
  • Research interests

    • History of religion, popular belief and witchcraft in Europe, c. 1500-1800
    • French history (social, political and economic) 1500-1800
    • French and British naval history, 1600-1815
  • Selected publications

    • The Witches of Lorraine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
    • Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (London: Harper Collins, 1996; 2nd edn., Oxford: Blackwell, 2002). Also translated into German, Dutch and Chinese.
    • ‘The Académie Royale des Sciences and the pursuit of utility’, Past and Present, 131 (1991), 38-88.
    • Early Modern France, 1560-1715 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977; 2nd edn., 1998).
    • Communities of Belief: Social and Cultural Tensions in Early Modern France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).
  • Teaching and supervision

    • History of witchcraft
    • Postgraduate courses on early modern French history and on navies and economies 1660-1815
    • Supervision on early modern European topics