5 May 2017
Associate Professor Glen O’Brien will be engaged in residential research at the Dalton McCaughey Library in May. He will spend a month staying at Maclean House, Victoria, with easy access to the Dalton McCaughey Library and the State Library in order to focus on completing a monograph on John Wesley’s Political World. The work of writing a full length monograph on John Wesley’s political writings arose from Glen’s postgraduate research undertaken at the Duke Divinity School, Asbury Theological Seminary, Oxford Brookes University, and the Manchester Wesley Research Centre where he served as a Visiting Fellow in 2015.
The proposal has passed successfully through peer review with a major international publisher and Glen has undertaken to complete the work and deliver the complete manuscript by mid-2017. Publication of a monograph with a leading publisher that breaks new ground on an important religious figure and a significant period in the history of Christianity will contribute well to research output. There has been little direct interpretive work on the political tracts and no full length monograph on Wesley's political world. The work that has appeared has been from a theological and social angle but Glen’s work will differ in taking a more strictly historical approach. He will use the methodology of ‘global history’ to place Wesley’s numerous political and social tracts into the context of the British Atlantic world of the eighteenth century. Wesley’s writings can make a valuable contribution as an historical precedent for addressing (for example) the way a nations’ political decisions surrounding trade, industry, taxes, and war have a direct impact upon the poor.
The residential research will help Glen to do further work on the secondary sources in order to place his research squarely in the current literature on the period and the topic. His work will especially engage with those writers, whose work focuses on the intersection of religion and politics, including David Hempton, J.C.D. Clark, and Reginald Ward.
“Participation in this period will enable me to continue my research into eighteenth century Methodism and its political context,” shares Glen. “It will deepen my understanding of Wesleyan history, inform my teaching at Booth College, and strengthen the College’s growing reputation for research in Wesleyan thought and practice.”