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The Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English

A History of the Dissenting Academies in the British Isles, 1660-1860

This major multi-authored volume is currently in preparation for publication by Cambridge University Press. It is edited by Isabel Rivers, with Mark Burden as assistant editor, and with an international team of contributors from universities in the UK, the US, France, and Australia. It is divided into four parts:

1 The Development of the Dissenting Academies
This part will provide a narrative account of the history of the dissenting academies, their origins, developments, objectives, and differences, and their contribution to Protestant dissent and British society. Each chapter will cover both the main religious and political developments in dissent for the relevant period, and the corresponding history of the dissenting academies.

The chapters are:

  • Restoration to the Glorious Revolution: 1660-1688
  • Revolution to the end of Queen Anne’s reign: 1688-1714
  • George I to the French Revolution: 1714-1789
  • French Revolution to political reform: 1790-1832
  • Political reform to reform of the universities: 1832-1860

The contributors are David Bebbington, Mark Burden, Grayson Ditchfield, David Steers, Eryn White, and David Wykes.

2 The Academies and the Protestant World
This part is concerned with the engagement of the academies with Protestantism and Protestant educational institutions beyond the British Isles. It also covers the relationships that developed between the academies and Scottish universities, and between the academies and sister institutions established in different parts of the British Empire.

The chapters are:

  • The academies and the Scottish universities
  • The academies and international Protestantism before the French Revolution
  • The academies across the British Empire 1: North America
  • The academies across the British Empire 2: Asia, the West Indies, and West Africa
  • The academies and European thought after the French Revolution

The contributors are Chris Daily, Rachel Hammersley, Deborah Madden, Simon Mills, David Steers, Norman Vance, and Richard Whatmore.

3 The Curricula in the Academies
This part is concerned with teaching, and will combine intellectual history with a history of the institutional setting of ideas. It will cover the structure and development of the curriculum in different academies over time. It will also weigh the published works that issued from the academies in relation to the subjects taught.

The chapters are:

  • The academic context for the academies
  • Theology
  • Biblical studies
  • History
  • Preaching and practical divinity
  • Logic
  • Metaphysics, pneumatology, and philosophy of mind
  • Moral philosophy
  • Government and law
  • Natural philosophy
  • Natural history and chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Classical languages and literature
  • Rhetoric and belles lettres
  • Modern languages

The contributors are David Bellhouse, Mark Burden, Françoise Deconinck-Brossard, John Gascoigne, Scott Mandelbrote, Jon Mee, Simon Mills, Isabel Rivers, John Seed, David Thompson, Keith Tribe, Tessa Whitehouse, and Penelope Wilson.

4 Structures and Patterns of Dissenting Education
This part deals with the institutional, social, and economic arrangements of the academies.

The chapters are:

  • The financing of the academies
  • The role of the tutor
  • Students and the student experience
  • Libraries
  • Buildings, colleges and architecture
  • Domestic life

The contributors are Clyde Binfield, Michael Brealey, Rosemary Dixon, Simon Dixon, Rachel Eckersley, Stephen Orchard, Isabel Rivers, Kyle Roberts, Anne Stott, and David Wykes.


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