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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Ultán Gillen studied for his BA at Queen’s University Belfast, before moving to the University of Oxford where he completed his doctorate on ‘Monarchy, Republic and Empire: Irish Public Opinion and France, c.1787-1804’. Since then I have been a Past and Present Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, a temporary lecturer at Merton College, Oxford, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, and a Teaching Fellow at the University of Liverpool. I have also taught at Queen’s University, Belfast. I joined Teesside University in January 2011 as a Senior Lecturer in European (French) History.

At Teesside, I am now the Principal Lecturer (Staffing & Resources) for the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and acting PL (S&R) for the Department of Law, Policing, and Investigation. My teaching at Teesside has focused on modern European history, especially the French Revolution and the history of political thought, as well as introductory modules on modern Europe and modern Irish history, and more advanced modules on WW1, the Russian Revolution, and the American Revolution, and a postgradute module on revolution, c.1789-1917. I have also taught on the BA Politics, on topics such as political ideologies and gender and politics.

Summary of Research Interests

Ultán’s research interests centre on the French Revolution and its international impact as part of the broader age of revolution in Europe and the Atlantic world. His current research project is a study of the political life and political thought of one of Irish history's most famous figures, and one emblematic of the age of revolution, Theobald Wolfe Tone. It is entitled 'Theobald Wolfe Tone: Revolutionary Democrat'. I continue to research counter-revolution in comparative context in the age of the French Revolution and Napoleon, with a particular focus on counter-revolutionaries in France, Britain and Ireland.

Other research interests include the Enlightenment, public opinion and political culture in eighteenth-century Ireland, and the history of political thought. I have published on aspects of political and intellectual life during the age of revolution, including on French and Irish republicanism in the 1790s, the use of Wolfe Tone in 1960s Ireland, the Enlightenment and political culture, on Blackstone and Ireland, and on public opinion, on political clubs, and on counter-revolutionary conceptions of history.

PhD Supervision

I currently am Director of Studies for two PhD students:

David Malcolm, A Question of Virtue: A re-examination of the use and reception of Classical ideas by the Founding Fathers in the American Constitution

Catherine Ryan, Gender, status and place: exploring the role of women in Yorkshire property transfers, 1736-1783

I have formed part of the supervision team for two completed PhDs (Judith Philips and Seán Donnelly). I would be happy to hear from students interested in undertaking a PhD in the eighteenth century and especially the age of the French Revolution and Napoleon, in the history of political thought, and in modern Irish history.


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