Dr Elaine Fulton MA, MLitt, PhD, FRHistS, FHEA


Senior Lecturer in Early Modern European History

School of History and Cultures

Photograph of Dr Elaine Fulton

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


I have been part of the Department of History since 2003, where I have taken a particular interest in the development of the undergraduate history syllabus and enhancement of teaching. My historical research has focussed on the complex interplay between politics, society and religion in early-modern German-speaking Europe.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Birmingham, 2010
  • PhD in History, University of St Andrews, 2003
  • MLitt (with Distinction) in Reformation Studies, University of St Andrews, 1998
  • MA (First Class) in Modern History, University of St Andrews, 199


I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and left there at 18 to read Modern History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where I first discovered a love of Reformation History. Thanks to the expertise and encouragement of the early-modernists at St Andrews, in particular Andrew Pettegree and Bruce Gordon, I stayed to pursue postgraduate study at St Andrews and was funded by the award of two scholarships: a one-year studentship from the Humanities Research Board of the British Academy to support the M.Litt. degree, and a Caledonian Research Foundation Scholarship to fund the PhD. Between 1999 and 2003 I also taught on a broad range of Modern History courses at the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh. I was appointed to my current post at the University of Birmingham in 2003.

I am currently Head of Education for the School of History and Cultures and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of History. I am a founder-member of the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies and former convenor the Centre's MA degree in Reformation and Early Modern Studies. I have also been a member of the History Advisory Panel for the History, Classics and Archaeology Subject Centre of the Higher Education Academy, and between 2005 and 2010 acted as Treasurer of the European Reformation Research Group. I helped found the Catholic Reformation Research Network, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2008 and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2010. I have been an elected member of University Senate since 2011.



First year

  • Reformation for Renaissance, Reformation, Revolution: The Making of the Modern World, 1500-1800
  • History of Christianity
  • Seminar tutor on Liberal Arts and Science degree core course: The Modern World in the Making: From Big-Bang to Generation Y 

Second year

  • Optional Unit: seminar tutor and course designer of ‘Doing Battle with Antichrist: Martin Luther and the German Reformation’
  • Group Research: seminar tutor and course designer of ‘Martyrs and Heretics of the Reformation Era’
  • Dissertation Preparation: usually on subjects in early-modern history or the history of religion

Third year

  • Special Subject: seminar tutor and course designer of ‘Histories of Hate: Fear and Loathing in Early Modern Europe’
  • Advanced option: seminar tutor and course designer of ‘Hidden from History: Homosexuality through History, from Ancient Greece to the present day’
  • Dissertation Supervision: usually on subjects in early-modern history or the history of religion


  • Group facilitator for Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice Action Learning Sets
  • Seminar tutor on MA in Renaissance, Reformation and Early Modern Studies core course: Religious Reformations in Early Modern Britain and Europe
  • Seminar tutor on MA History of Christianity core course: Writing the History of Christianity
  • MA dissertation supervision

Postgraduate supervision

My research interests have given me experience of and enthusiasm for a number of broader themes which I would be keen to supervise. These include aspects of early-modern Catholic reform, early-modern politics, and the interaction between man and environment in early-modern Europe. Doctoral and MPhil students who I currently supervise or  have supervised work on a range of topics:


  • Adrian Roberts: Truth is Unkillable: Non-Resistance and ‘The Sword’ in the Theology of Balthasar Hubmaier, 1523-1528 (passed in 2012)
  • Lesley Smith (co-supervision in History of Medicine): John Ince’s Leech Book (in progress)


  • Ruth Atherton (co-supervision): Pedagogy and Persuasion: The Power of the Catechism in Germany, 1529-1597 (in progress)
  • Charles Byrd II (co-supervision in Theology): Pentecostalism’s Anabaptist Heritage? (in progress)
  • George Doukas: The World of Pierre Boaistuau: Man, Sin and Nature in Early Modern Europe (successfully defended in 2011)
  • Sharon Janot (co-supervision in Theology): Martin Luther and Contemporary Queer Theology (in progress)
  • Lisa Kranzer (co-supervision in English): Sixteenth Century Protestant Pamphleteering Cultures in England and Austria (in progress)


My first monograph, entitled Catholic Belief and Survival in Late-Sixteenth Century Vienna, was published by Ashgate in May 2007. Focused on the career of one of the most prominent Catholic figures of late sixteenth-century Vienna, Georg Eder (1523-1587), this work highlighted the role of the Catholic laity in instigating, enacting and supporting Catholic reform in the early-modern period.

I have also published work pertaining to Disaster History, East Central European History, and Reformation History more broadly (please see Publications section). I am currently planning an undergraduate-level textbook on the Habsburgs and sixteenth century Europe, as well as engaging in pieces of pedagogical research.

Other activities


I act as co-ordinator of Postgraduate Teaching Assistants in the School of History and Cultures, and the College of Arts and Law Misconduct Committee. I have also participated in several Quality Audits and appointment committees.


  • I have served as external examiner for the History programme at Nottingham Trent University and the MPhil in Reformation and Enlightenment Studies at Trinity College, Dublin.
  • I am a member of the Ecclesiastical History Society and European Reformation Research Group.
  • I have spoken at after-school History clubs and A level study events at Bolton Girls School and Leicester Grammar School.


I was co-organiser of a Higher Education Academy workshop on Commemoration and Conflict: Challenges for HE practitioners in History, Area Studies, and Philosophical and Religious Studies’ in 2014, and also a workshop on ‘New Directions in Catholic Reformation Research’ in 2012, both held at the University of Birmingham.

I have also presented papers at the University of Oxford (2009); Renaissance Studies Society annual conference (Dublin, 2008); the Ecclesiastical History Society annual conference (Galway, 2008); American Historical association annual conference (Washington DC, 2008); a conference of the politics of disaster (Berne, 2007); a conference on Religion and Authority in Central Europe at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, 2006); at Grant MacEwan College (Edmonton, 2006), Reformation Studies Colloquium (Oxford, 2006); the Institute of Historical research (London, 2002); the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference (Denver, Colorado, 2001) and at Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2001)


  • Rebecca O’Loughlin and Elaine Fulton, ‘Enquiry into Learning and Teaching in the Humanities’, in Elizabeth Cleaver, Maxine Lintern and Mike McLinden (eds), Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Sage, London, 2014), pp. 178-194 (Sage, London, 2014), pp. 178-194
  • Elaine Fulton, ‘Touching theology with unwashed hands: the preservation of authority in post-Tridentine Catholicism’, in Helen Parish, Elaine Fulton and Peter Webster (eds), The Search for Authority in Reformation Europe (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2014), pp. 89-106
  • Elaine Fulton, ‘Acts of God. The Confessionalisation of Disaster in Reformation Europe’, in Andrea Janku, Gerrit J. Schenk, Franz Mauelshagen (eds), Historical Disasters in Context: Science, Religion, and Politics (Routledge Studies in Cultural History, London, 2012), pp. 54-74
  • Elaine Fulton, ‘Mutual aid: the Jesuits and the courtier in sixteenth-century Vienna’, in Maria Craciun and Elaine Fulton (eds), Communities of Devotion. Religious Orders and Society in East Central Europe, 1450-1800 (Catholic Christendom, 1300-1700, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2011), pp.171-196
  • Elaine Fulton and Penny Roberts, ‘The Hand of God: Reactions to Crisis and Natural Disasters in Pre-Modern Europe’ in Mark Levene et al (eds), History at the end of the World? History, Climate Change and the Possibility of Closure (Troubadour/Humanities e-books, 2010), pp. 67-79
  • Elaine Fulton, Catholic Belief and Survival in Late Sixteenth-Century Vienna: the Case of Georg Eder, 1523-87 (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007)
  •  Elaine Fulton, ‘”Wolves and Weathervanes”: Confessional Moderation at the Habsburg Court of Vienna’, in Luc Racaut and Alec Ryrie (eds.), Moderate Voices in the European Reformation (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2005), pp. 145-161

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