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Adam Sutcliffe joined the department in 2005, having started his academic career in the United States, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his BA from Cambridge, his MA from Sussex, and his PhD (1998) from UCL. He has held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, and the University of Leipzig, and served as Head of the History Department from 2012 to 2016.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Early modern and modern European Jewish history
  • Intellectual and cultural history of the European Enlightenment
  • Eighteenth- and early nineteeth-century radical thought
  • Historiographical theory and the uses of history

Adam Sutcliffe’s research has focused on in the intellectual history of western Europe between approximately 1650 and 1850, and on the history of Jews, Judaism and Jewish/non-Jewish relations in Europe from 1600 to the present. He is particularly interested in the place of Judaism and Jewish themes in Western thought, on which he has published widely. He has a special interest in the Enlightenment thinkers Spinoza, Bayle, Voltaire and Lessing, and in the study of the European Enlightenment more generally. He is also interested in wider questions of religious diversity, toleration and cross-community relations in Europe since the seventeenth century. He has a broad interest in the field of History and Memory, focusing on the uses and significance of the Jewish past, and on the shifting understanding of ideas of empathy, cultural ownership, and collective purpose in historical thought and debate.

He would welcome applications from prospective research students interested in working in any of these areas.

For more details, please see his full research profile.


Adam contributes to the Department’s teaching in early modern European history, the history of political thought, and history and memory. He offers upper-level undergraduate modules on European Jewish history, the history of toleration and human rights and the Enlightenment, and contributes to MA teaching on our Early Modern and Modern History programmes, as well as our interdisciplinary Eighteenth-Century Studies MA and our intercollegiate History of Political Thought and Intellectual History MA.

Expertise and public engagement

Adam has frequently been involved in public engagement and expert media commentary, including radio and television interviews, on issues relating to Jewish history, perceptions of Jews and Judaism, minority communities and migration histories in Britain, and approaches to antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other prejudices.