Sarah is a historian of the early modern transatlantic world, with a particular focus on puritanism in England and New England. Sarah’s research interests lie in community, correspondence and social networks in the seventeenth century. More broadly, this has generated an interest in social history and the histories of ‘ordinary’ people and their lived experiences. She is particularly interested in digital humanities and exploring what new light can be shed on historical questions by combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. Sarah is also the Public Engagement and Events Officer.
Sarah also has practical and research interests in Public History, including visual and digital media, communities and identities, place and space, and dark heritage and tourism.
Sarah’s doctoral thesis explored the mediation of distance, dispute and disagreement in transatlantic puritan communities, 1625-1649, and was awarded in December 2019. Looking at three prominent letter collections, this research explored the mechanisms employed by puritans on both sides of the Atlantic when trying to negotiate differences of opinion, be it theological or personal, the immense strain posed by migration and separation, and their encounters with a new and unfamiliar land. The research used quantitative methods to explore the spatial distribution of letters and letterwriters, their social networks, and those who sustained and facilitated the survival of communities by carrying correspondence across the Atlantic. This has important implications for how we understand membership to puritan communities, and the practical role of network facilitators and news bearers in sustaining emotional and personal communities in the early and mid-seventeenth century.
In addition to her research into the transatlantic world in the seventeenth century, Sarah has broad interests in the digital humanities. Her research makes significant use of social network analysis and spatial analysis, and she is interested in taking these methodologies further. Sarah is also interested in public history, and the ways in which the study of the past can impact policy and practice in different spaces. She is passionate about academic outreach, and developing new and creative methods for communicating historical research to a range of audiences.