Emilie Murphy
Lecturer in Early Modern History

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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. Before joining the department in September 2016, Emilie held a postdoctoral research position on the RECIRC project at the National University of Ireland Galway, was a junior fellow (funded by the Royal Historical Society) at the Institute of Historical Research, and taught at King’s College London.

Her research interests lie in the cultural and religious history of England, and English-speaking people, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.



Emilie’s research focuses on processes of religious change, identity formation and cultural encounter for people living in Reformation England, and for Anglophones in Counter-Reformation Europe. In particular she studies the embodiment of religious expression through sounds, voice and language, musical performance and gestures.


Emilie’s doctoral research analysed the multifaceted ways post-Reformation English Catholics utilised music – defined to include vocal and instrumental sounds, performance, composition, and material culture – to forge individual and communal identities during the late Elizabethan and early Stuart period. This resulted in several peer-reviewed articles, and the findings were shared with the general public through features on radio, television, and in a national newspaper.

Extending this research, Emilie is currently completing her first monograph, The Reformation of the Soundscape: Music and Piety in Early Modern England, which considers the changing aural landscape during the ‘long’ sixteenth century. It compares the multifaceted ways in which English Catholics and Protestants utilised music (and sounds) to express their devotion.

Emilie is also exploring the ways in which English Catholic nuns negotiated language barriers in exile on the continent. This investigation arose during her time on the ERC funded The Reception and Circulation of Women’s Writing, 1550-1700 project at NUIG, where she remains a Research Associate.

Other side-projects include research into early modern processes of sensing, the relationship between religion and the senses, and the confessionalisation of religious gesture, 1540-1640.


Contact details

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

Tel: 3219 Internal , External (01904) 323219