Commenter – Panel: Politics, Political Theory and Toleration – Friday, January 22 (9am – 11am PST // 12pm – 2pm EST)
Simon Brown is a PhD candidate in history at UC Berkeley, specializing in religion in early modern Europe. His research focuses on the relationship between religion and political economy in Britain between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. His dissertation, “Useful Subjects: Theology, Education and Practical Knowledge in Seventeenth-Century Britain” explores the aspiration to “practical divinity,” which became a more and more important and capacious category in English Protestantism. It traces how the effort to make Christian doctrine practical became closely intertwined with new institutions that taught “useful knowledge” that could prepare children for the arts and trades that might enrich the nation. He has also presented work from another project on the incorporation of the clergy as a category of “unproductive labor” in early theories of political economy. His research has been supported by a New Directions in Theology grant from the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion.