Dr John Gallagher

Dr John Gallagher


I studied History and French at Trinity College Dublin, before moving to Cambridge for an MPhil in Early Modern History. I wrote my PhD at Cambridge on ‘Vernacular Language-Learning in Early Modern England’. Both my MPhil and PhD research were supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Robert Gardiner Studentship, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 2013, I travelled to Italy as a Mellon Foundation-funded Fellow of the Academy for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance. In 2014, I was elected as a Research Fellow in History at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. In 2017 I came to Leeds as a Lecturer in Early Modern History.


  • Deputy Director of Admissions
  • Study Abroad Coordinator

Research interests

I work on the histories of early modern Britain and Europe, with a particular interest in language, multilingualism, education, migration, travel, and identity. My research crosses boundaries between British and European history and stretches from the sixteenth to the early eighteenth century.

My first book, Learning Languages in Early Modern England, will appear with Oxford University Press in 2019. In 1578, the Anglo-Italian writer and teacher John Florio wrote that English was “a language that wyl do you good in England, but passe Dover, it is woorth nothing”. Using sources ranging from early printed phrasebooks to travellers’ letters and diaries, my work asks how English-speakers made themselves understood at a time when English was practically unknown on the continent, and explores what it meant to be competent in another language in this period.

I teach and research in the history of education, and am currently co-editing a volume of essays with Dr Jennifer Bishop (Cambridge) titled Teaching and Learning in Early Modern England. At the same time, I am working on an article about the ‘educational economy’ of seventeenth-century London, with a particular interest in the educational labour performed by early modern women.

I am in the early stages of a new project on urban multilingualism in early modern England. Working with the rich and multilingual records of immigrant communities in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England, this project will explore urban multilingualism and polyglot lives, offering new perspectives on identity, language, urban life, and migration in early modern England and Europe.


Research projects

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Professional memberships

  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Society for Renaissance Studies

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="//ahc.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.