Harris, Tim 1958- (Timothy Harris)
Harris, Tim 1958- (Timothy Harris)
Home—Providence, RI. E-mail—[email protected]
(Editor, with Paul Seaward and Mark Goldie) The Politics of Religion in Restoration England, Basil Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1990.
Politics under the Later Stuarts: Party Conflict in a Divided Society, 1660-1715, Longman (New York, NY), 1993.
(Editor) Popular Culture in England, c. 1500-1850, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
(Editor) The Politics of the Excluded, c. 1500-1850, Palgrave (New York, NY), 2001.
Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685-1720, Allen Lane (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of articles to professional journals.
Tim Harris is a history professor whose research interests cover a broad spectrum, including Restoration Ireland, British political thought, early modern English popular culture, and the reign of Charles II of England. He has lectured and written extensively on the subjects, and has edited several volumes, as well. Harris's first book, London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II: Propaganda and Politics from the Restoration until the Exclusion Crisis, developed from his doctoral dissertation. In it, Harris looks at religion from a political viewpoint, addressing the crowds shouting propaganda and religious sentiments as part of a political upheaval. Church History critic Marcella Biro-Barton remarked that "the best part of this book is the way he shows the growth and development of the London crowd as well as the way crowds could be creative and challenging."
Politics under the Later Stuarts: Party Conflict in a Divided Society, 1660-1715 addresses party politics during the period in question, which was characterized by a major conflict between the Whigs and the Tories. Harris points out that during the reign of Charles II, in particular, the party lines between Whigs and Tories did not necessarily match those drawn between those residing at court and those residing in the country, despite the disparate views between the groups. John Miller, writing for the English Historical Review, called Harris's effort "a more original and important book than its comparatively modest appearance would suggest." He also praised the work, finding it to be "based on extensive research in primary sources, particularly newspapers and pamphlets, as well as the extant secondary literature." In History Today, W.A. Speck concluded: "Whether or not one agrees with the overall thesis, however, this clearly written and provocative book will be a boon to students and teachers alike."
In Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685-1720, Harris addresses the removal of James II, a Catholic king, from the throne of England, in favor of William of Orange, who was a Protestant. He looks not just at James's reign and dethronement but also at the effect William's crowning had on both England and the rest of the kingdom. Frank McLynn, writing for the London Independent, took issue with Harris's basic thesis, remarking: "He cannot get round the fact that in political terms the events of 1688-89 represented conflict within the regime not about the regime and therefore do not merit the epithet ‘revolutionary.’" McLynn added: "The sober conclusion about Harris's scholarly book is that he tries to push his evidence beyond credibility point and in the process goes several bridges too far." Robert Beddard noted in History Today, however, that "the careful and sympathetic treatment of the outlying realms provides the most valuable chapters in the book. He not only acknowledges, but clearly demonstrates, the sufferings entailed upon the Scots and the Irish, which in the instance of Ireland explains much of the tragic legacy of division that is still with us today."
Harris has also served as editor of several volumes. Popular Culture in England, c. 1500-1850, for example, is a collection of essays on different areas of popular culture in England over the selected period, including religion, medicine, gender roles, the relationship between servants and employers, literacy and education, workplace traditions, and sports. The year 1500 appeared to be a point in time when the upper classes began to ignore the cultural norms they previously shared with the lower classes, making for a class distinction that covered not just the areas of wealth, property, and employment, but leisure time as well. Rachel Weil concluded in the Journal of Modern History: "One might well emerge from this volume unsure about whether ‘popular culture’ constitutes a coherent subject of study or useful category of analysis. But thanks to Tim Harris's excellent introduction, which confronts the methodological difficulties head-on, this is perhaps the volume's greatest virtue."
The Politics of the Excluded, c. 1500-1850, which Harris also edited, collects a number of essays on the role of popular politics in early modern England. Of this work, Humanities and Social Sciences Online contributor Steven King remarked: "I learned something from this book, not least of which is that, when faced with accessible but complex arguments, my students can be enlivened to undertake their own independent research. It is a credit to Harris that he has managed to bring together essays that achieve this effect as well as making an original contribution to scholarship."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, winter, 2002, K.J. Kesselring, review of The Politics of the Excluded, c. 1500-1850, p. 649.
Church History, March, 1989, Marcella Biro-Barton, review of London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II: Propaganda and Politics from the Restoration until the Exclusion Crisis, pp. 110-111.
Economist, February 4, 2006, "Regime Change: Britain's Glorious Revolution," p. 77.
English Historical Review, April, 1994, Ronald Hutton, review of The Politics of Religion in Restoration England, p. 449; February, 1996, John Miller, review of Politics under the Later Stuarts: Party Conflict in a Divided Society, 1660-1715, p. 193; June, 1997, Vivienne Larminie, review of Popular Culture in England, c. 1500-1850, p. 759; April, 2002, Ronald Hutton, review of The Politics of the Excluded, c. 1500-1850, p. 470.
History Today, September, 1993, W.A. Speck, review of Politics under the Later Stuarts, p. 56; June, 2006, Robert Beddard, review of Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685-1720, p. 62.
Independent (London, England), January 29, 2006, Frank McLynn, review of Revolution.
Journal of Modern History, September, 1999, Rachel Weil, review of Popular Culture in England, c. 1500-1850, p. 674.
Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.hnet.org/ (November 26, 2006), Steven King, review of The Politics of the Excluded, c. 1500-1850.