Educated at Wellington College, Belfast, Jonathan studied History and Politics at Durham University, and completed an MLitt in Irish and Scottish Studies at the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen, in 2005.
Jonathan is currently completing a thesis entitled ‘‘The natural leaders’: the Tennent family and the political and intellectual life of Presbyterian Belfast, c. 1801-1832’, in which he uses the Tennents, a politically liberal Presbyterian family, prominent in the cultural and philanthropic life of early nineteenth-century Belfast, as a prism through which to examine the political and intellectual developments that occurred in the town at that time. In so doing, he hopes to contextualise the town’s Presbyterian liberals within a British perspective, and illustrate the extent to which broader political and intellectual trends impacted upon them. This entails the examination of a number of themes and areas, including the Belfast liberals’ participation in ‘British’ cause célèbres such as the Queen Caroline affair, the impact of the European revolutions of the early 1820s and the influence of religious and intellectual trends such as evangelicalism, romanticism, classicism and the Enlightenment.
More generally, Jonathan is interested in the political, intellectual and religious history of nineteenth-century Britain and Ireland, and, in particular, in the development of Irish Presbyterian heterodoxy. In addition, having completed an MLitt thesis entitled ‘Ulster exceptionalism: the Famine, the First World War and the Unionist historical narrative’, he retains an interest in the effect of memory and forgetting on the formation of historical narratives, and in the cultural and political history of twentieth-century Ireland, particularly as it pertains to the post-partition north.
‘History, hunger strike and republican collective memory’, in Shane Alcobia Murphy, Johanna Archbold, John Gibney and Carole Jones (eds.), Beyond the anchoring grounds: more cross-currents in Irish and Scottish studies (Belfast, 2005), pp. 347-55.
‘‘Steadfast supporters of the British connection’? Belfast Presbyterians and the Act of Union, c. 1798-1840’, forthcoming in Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, vol. 1, issue 2 (2008)
Prof. Sean Connolly and Prof. Peter Gray