Deborah Madden is a cultural and intellectual historian with research interests in religion, medicine, education, politics and culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She has published widely on the cultural significance of Protestant dissent and millenarianism across Britain's Empire and extra-imperial sites. She has taught a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Universities of Sussex and Oxford, as well as the Open University. She is now based in the School of Humanities and is Deputy Director for the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories (CMNH).
Dr Deborah Madden is a principal lecturer, based in the School of Humanities. Her research background is in intellectual and cultural history. Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Higher Education Academy, she has published academic monographs, chapters and articles on the relationship between dissenting religion, medicine, education, politics and culture in the eighteenth century. In addition to this, she has written extensively on Protestant prophetic narratives between 1780 and 1950, showing the ways in which radical millenarian groups have reinterpreted the bible's narrative structure, archetypes and language to envision and literally rebuild 'sacred spaces', 'moral geographies' and 'elect' communities across Britain's Empire and extra-imperial sites.
Drawing on these existing areas of expertise, work on her latest book, Victorian Cultures of Life Writing: Perspectives on Gender, Temporality and Empire, examines nineteenth-century theological, millenarian, missionary and medical texts in the wider context of Empire. The book also provides a critical reflection on issues surrounding the so-called 'affective turn' and contemporary methodological use of personal sources, life writings, autobiographies and biographies as historical evidence.
A separate strand of teaching and research is concerned with memory studies and the cultural politics of heritage.
She teaches on the Cultural History, Memory and Identity MA and is Deputy Director for the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories, based at the University of Brighton.
Areas for PhD supervision include:
Forthcoming publications commissioned and under contract with Cambridge University Press:
‘The Dissenting Academies Across the British Empire 1: North America’
‘The Dissenting Academies Across the British Empire 2: Missions and Missionary Work in India, Africa and Asia’.
Further selected publications:
Review for The History of a Modern Millennial Movement: The Southcottians, (ed.) Jane Shaw and Philip Lockley (London: IB Tauris, 2017).
"This highly original book vividly charts the history of that charismatic millenarian prophetess Joanna Southcott and her ardent far-flung followers from their roots in 18th-century heterodox Protestantism to the Jezreelites in mid-Victorian Kent, the Panaceans in early 20th-century Bedford, the Christian Israelites in Australia and the Israelite House of David in Michigan. Combining mastery of complex theological thickets with unforgettable portraits of individual leaders and deft historical analysis, the authors reveal just how modern these Southcottians were in their pursuit of heaven – here and now - on earth."
Seth Koven, G E Lessing Distinguished Professor of History and Poetics, Rutgers University, 2017
Review for Companion to Intellectual History, (eds.), Richard Whatmore and Brian Young (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
"This is an exceptionally stimulating book. Each chapter discusses complex matters with lucidity with no loss in rigor, and each raises questions with great intrinsic interest...... An outstanding work."
Choice Connect, 2016
Reviews for Madden’s ‘A Cheap, Safe and Natural Medicine’: Religion, Medicine and Culture in John Wesley’s Primitive Physic (New York and Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007)
"In an impressive monograph, notable for the thoroughness with which most of the recent secondary literature has been assimilated, Deborah Madden offers a systematic study of Wesley’s motivation and its grounding in his primitive Christianity… one of the real strengths of Madden’s analysis is her identification of the several levels at which Wesley’s eclectic theology did shape his medical priorities… she is surely correct, in principle, to say that […] Wesley’s eyes were focused on the natural, not the supernatural."
John Hedley Brooke, Medical History, October 2009
"Deborah Madden's ‘A Cheap, Safe and Natural Medicine’ is a valuable addition to The Wellcome Series in the History of Medicine, as it is the first book-length, scholarly study devoted to providing a range of detailed biographical and cultural contexts for comprehending the significance of Wesley's medical manual. [A] useful study that will be of interest to anyone concerned with the inter-relationship between religion and medicine in the period."
David E. Shuttleton, Social History of Medicine, June 2009
"‘A Cheap, Safe and Natural Medicine’ does a nice job in capturing the whole of Wesley’s thought—not only the theological but the medicinal…. I am reminded of just how closely Wesley and the early Methodists viewed the relationship between spiritual and physical well being. I am grateful to Deborah Madden’s engaging work for helping me see this connection more clearly."
K.Z. Laxson, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, October 2008
Reviews for Madden (ed.), Inward and Outward Health: John Wesley’s Holistic Concept of Medical Science, the Environment and Holy Living (London: Epworth, 2008)
"Inward and Outward Health succeeds in debunking old myths and also in making a somewhat specialised (or, rather, neglected) subject accessible to the general reader…[Madden’s] own contribution on Wesley’s treatment of consumption – 'the dreaded disease' – combines eloquence with erudition."
B. Tabraham, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, March 2010
"This collection, under the expert eye of Deborah Madden, makes a major contribution to a growing field of historical inquiry that rightfully attracts contemporary attention."
Richard P. Heitzenrater, William Kellon Quick Professor of Church History, Duke University, Durham, NC
Madden, Deborah (2017) A Southcottian Methodist: the prophetic odyssey of George Turner In: Shaw, Jane and Lockley, Philip, eds. The history of a modern millennial movement: The Southcottians. I.B. Tauris, London, pp. 61-77. ISBN 9781784538460
Madden, Deborah (2017) The emergence of Southcottian Israelite theology, 1815-63 In: Shaw, Jane and Lockley, Philip, eds. The history of a modern millennial movement: The Southcottians. I.B. Tauris, London, pp. 78-94. ISBN 9781784538460
Madden, Deborah (2017) The house of David and Mary's City In: Shaw, Jane and Lockley, Philip, eds. The history of a modern millennial movement: The Southcottians. I.B. Tauris, London, pp. 140-163. ISBN 9781784538460
Madden, Deborah (2016) Medicine on demand: John Wesley's enlightened treatment of the sick In: Webster, Robert, ed. Perfecting perfection: essays in honour of Henry D. Rack. James Clarke & Co Ltd, Cambridge, UK, pp. 130-146. ISBN 9780227175880
Madden, Deborah (2016) Prophecy in the age of revolution In: Crome, Andrew, ed. Prophecy and eschatology in the transatlantic world, 1550−1800. Palgrave, London, pp. 259-281. ISBN 9781137520548
Madden, Deborah (2015) Education and manners In: Whatmore, Richard and Young, Brian, eds. A companion to intellectual history. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK, pp. 262-275. ISBN 9781118294802
Madden, Deborah (2010) The Paddington Prophet: Richard Brothers's journey to Jerusalem Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 9780719082382
Madden, Deborah (2009) Wesley as adviser on health and healing In: Maddox, Randy L. and Vickers, Jason E., eds. The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 176-189. ISBN 9780521886536
Madden, Deborah (2008) Inward and Outward Health: John Wesley's Holistic Concept of Medical Science, the Environment and Holy Living Epworth Press, London. ISBN 9780716206491
Madden, Deborah (2008) The religious politics of prophecy: Or, Richard Brothers's Revealed Knowledge confuted History of European Ideas, 34 (3). pp. 270-284. ISSN 0191-6599