Eloise Davies

MA MPhil PhD Cantab

Departmental Lectureship in Political Theory in association with Oriel College
Political Theory Network
Oriel College
other links
Office address
Room 165, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, OX1 3UQ

I am a historian of political thought. My work explores debate over the relationship between religious and secular authority in the medieval and early modern periods, c. 1350 and 1700, with a particular focus on English and Italian contexts.

The main focus of my research is seventeenth-century England and Venice, two maritime empires which became focal points for European debate about sovereignty and Church–State relations in the wake of the Reformation. My research into seventeenth-century Anglo-Venetian relations has recently been awarded the Sir John Neale Prize for Early Modern British History (2021) and The Society for Court Studies Essay Prize (2022), and I am currently turning my PhD thesis on the topic into a monograph (provisional title: The Venetian Connection: England, Venice and Stuart Religious Politics, 1603–1714).

My postdoctoral research is focussed on unpicking the complexities of early modern ideas of religious conversion. I suggest that ‘conversion’ is a more troublesome concept than has sometimes been recognised. Conceptualising conversion caused early modern people real intellectual difficulty, particularly when the term was applied to inter-confessional transfer (a largely new phenomenon in the wake of the Reformation).

I am also interested in medieval political thought, especially the political thought of the fourteenth-century saint and mystic Catherine of Siena and her milieu.

Previous Posts

College Lecturer and Organising Tutor in History, Pembroke College, University of Oxford (2021–22)


  • Political Thought: Plato to Rousseau (convenor and lecturer)

  • Introduction to the Theory of Politics

  • Theory of Politics

  • Theories of State

  • MPhil in Political Theory




  • 'Sarpi, Micanzio and Bedell: a new source for the Anglo-Venetian encounter at Santa Maria dei Servi, 1607-1611', in La chiesa e il convento di Santa Maria dei Servi a Venezia, eds. Eveline Baseggio, Tiziana Franco and Luca Molà (Rome, Viella; forthcoming)



  • The Venetian Connection: England, Venice and Stuart Religious Politics, 1603–1714 [in progress]