Brian Cowan

Contact Information

Leacock, Rm 636
Department of History 855 Sherbrooke West
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2T7

514-398-4400 ext.09292
Email address: 
brian.cowan2 [at]
Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History
Leacock, Rm 636

PhD (Princeton)

Specialization by time period: 
1450 - 1800
Specialization by geographical area: 
Curriculum vitae: 

Brian Cowan holds the Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History. He studies the social and cultural history of ideas in early modern Britain and Europe. He has taught at the University of Sussex and Yale University and has been a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse, (Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2005), which was awarded the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize by the Canadian Historical Association in 2006. His latest book, The State Trial of Doctor Henry Sacheverell (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) uses book history to provide a new understanding of the most important political trial of the eighteenth century.

He is currently working on the politics of celebrity in Britain from the regicidal revolution to the American revolution. His additional publications on the history of early modern taste have ranged from studies of art auctions and connoisseurship to gastronomy and food writing.

Graduate supervision: 

Early modern British and western European history, particularly political, intellectual and cultural history.
Current Ph.D. students are working on the following topics:

  • the domestic politics of abolitionism in later eighteenth-century Britain
  • Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) and the making of a Baptist confessional identity in later Stuart England
  • Demotic neoclassicism in England, c. 1760-90