Accessibility statement

Emilie Murphy
Lecturer in Early Modern History



BA, MA, and PhD (York)

Emilie is a Lecturer in Early Modern History and a member of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. Her research interests lie in the cultural and religious history of England, and English-speaking people, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She is co-director of the international research network ‘Soundscapes in the Early Modern World’.



Emilie has wide interests in the cultural, religious and sensory history of England, and English-speaking people abroad, from 1500-1700. She has previous and ongoing projects that consider sounds, voice, language and multilingualism, and various aspects of performance culture.


Emilie’s research to date has focused on the experiences of post-Reformation English Catholics. Her earliest work considered the multifaceted ways English Catholics used music – defined to include vocal and instrumental sounds, performance, composition, and material culture – to foster confessional identity in the face of persecution. This resulted in several articles on ballad culture, martyrdom and memorialisation. 

Developing this work, Emilie is currently working on her first monograph, The Reformation of the Soundscape? Sonic Agency in Early Modern England, which focuses on acts of acoustic resistance to the English Reformation. By focusing on moments of defiance, and exploring the symbiotic relationship between minority and majority cultures, the book argues that sound gave people agency that were otherwise denied it. Attending to sonic agency allows us to question some prevailing assumptions about early modern England (ie that Catholic culture was somehow marginal or irrelevant). 

Emilie’s other main interests surround travel and mobility. She has previous and forthcoming publications on multilingualism, transnationalism, linguistic encounter, power and identity which all focus on evidence from English nuns in enclosed convents in Catholic Europe. This stemmed from her time on the European Research Council funded project ‘The Reception and Circulation of Women’s Writing, 1550-1700’ at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where she remains a Research Associate.

Emilie is co-director of the international research network ‘Soundscapes in the Early Modern World’.


Emilie welcomes enquiries from anyone considering postgraduate research on any aspect of the religious and/or cultural history of early modern England (and English-speaking people abroad).

She would be particularly interested in enquiries from individuals with projects that consider music and/or the broader soundscape; post-Reformation Catholicism; the senses; women’s writing; travel, mobility and/or exile; linguistic and cross-cultural encounter; martyrdom, and popular culture.



An example of modules taught:

  • HIS00085C Knowledge and Belief in World History
  • HIS00158I Persecution and Toleration in Early Modern Britain

Contact details

Dr Emilie Murphy
Vanbrugh V/N/114
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD


Student hours

Semester 2 2023/4