Concordia University

Ted McCormick, PhD, FRHS

Associate Professor, History
Fellow, School of Irish Studies

Office: S-LB 1001-01 
J.W. McConnell Building,
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5903
Memorious: researching, writing, and repeating history
Availability: Office Hours (Fall 2019): Tuesday 10-12 or by appointment


BA (1999) University of Maryland, College Park
MA (2001), MPhil. (2003), and PhD (2005) Columbia University

Biography and research interests

I earned my PhD from Columbia University in 2005 and came to Concordia in 2008, after a two-year fellowship at the National University of Ireland Galway. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK) and have held research fellowships in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, and Australia.

My research examines how people thought about and used science and policy to change nature and society in the early modern period. Most of my work so far has focused on Britain, Ireland, and the British Atlantic between 1600 and 1800. My current book-in-progress explores changing ideas about how populations were governed, and how they could be transformed, from c.1500 to c.1800 -- or from Thomas More's Utopia to T.R. Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population. I am interested in the history of scientific, economic, social and political projects for changing the world; in the relationship between alchemy and social ideas; in the role of science in "colonial" Ireland and "revolutionary" England; and in the relationship between Ireland and English colonies in the early modern Atlantic world.

My first book, William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic (Oxford, 2009), won the 2010 John Ben Snow Prize, awarded by the North American Conference on British Studies. I have published research in History of Science, Irish Historical Studies, the Journal of British Studies, The William and Mary Quarterly, and other journals, and contributed chapters to several edited volumes on the history of political and economic thought, early social science, and Ireland -- including The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History and The Cambridge History of Ireland. I have also written for History Compass, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Conversation, and my work has been featured in Pour la Science and the London Review of Books. I am an associate editor of the Journal of British Studies.

Student supervision and placement

Former honours and MA students of mine have gone on to further study at McGill and Dalhousie in Canada as well as Columbia, the CUNY Graduate Center, NUI Galway, Oxford, and Trinity College Dublin. A list of current and past students, including thesis topics/titles with dates of completion, is below.

If you are interested in early modern British, Irish, or Atlantic history, or the history of science, feel free to email me or drop by my office to ask about thesis supervision.

Social media

I am on Twitter (@mccormick_ted), and I blog about my research, academia, and the historical profession at

I also help administer the 
M:Early Modernists Facebook page, an interdisciplinary forum for Montreal-area scholars with early modern interests (associated Twitter account @MtlEarlyModern).

William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic (2009)

Grants, fellowships, and awards

2015-2017: Seed Grant, Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, Concordia University

2014: Provost’s Circle of Distinction, Concordia University

2013-2015: (Co-applicant) Subvention grant for Groupe de recherche en histoire des sociabilités (GRHS), Université de Québec à Montréal

2013: Visiting Fellowship, Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, University of Sydney

2010: Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, UK (elected)

2010: John Ben Snow Foundation Book Prize, North American Conference on British Studies (for William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic)

2010-2014: Standard Research Grant, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada

2010-2011: Mellon Fellowship (long-term), Huntington Library

2009-2010: Seed Grant, Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, Concordia University

2006-2008: Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Irish Research Council for Social Sciences and Humanities



William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) [book here; reviewed in the London Review of Books here]

Journal special issues

Co-edited with Vera Keller, "Towards a History of Projects", special issue, Early Science and Medicine 21:5 (2016) [special issue here]

Articles and book sections

"Projecting the Experiment: Science and the Restoration", in Janet E. Clare (ed.), From Republic to Restoration: Legacies and Departures (Manchester University Press, 2018), 185-205 [book here]

"Restoration Politics, 1661-1691", in Jane H. Ohlmeyer (ed.), 
The Cambridge History of Ireland, vol. 2: Early Modern Ireland 1550-1730, 96-119 (Cambridge University Press, 2018) [chapter here]

"Moral Geometry in Restoration Ireland: Samuel Foley's Computatio Universalis (1684) and the Science of Colonisation", Irish Historical Studies 40:158 (2016): 192-207 [article here; pre-publication version here]

"Who Were the Pre-Malthusians?", in Robert Mayhew (ed.), 
New Perspectives on Malthus: 250th Anniversary Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) [book here; pre-publication version here]

"Alchemy into Economy: Material Transmutation and the Conceptualization of Utility in Gabriel Plattes (c.1600-1644) and William Petty (1623-1687)", in Guillaume Garner and Sandra Richter (eds.), „Eigennutz“ und „gute Ordnung“: Ökonomisierungen im 17. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016), 339-52 [book here; pre-publication version here]

"Statistics in the Hands of an Angry God? John Graunt's Observations in Cotton Mather's New England", William and Mary Quarterly 72:4 (2015): 563-86 [article here; pre-publication version here]

"Restoration Ireland, 1660-1688”, in Alvin Jackson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) [book here]

“Political Arithmetic’s Eighteenth-Century Histories: Quantification in Politics, Religion, and the Public Sphere”, History Compass 12:3 (2014): 239-51 [article here]

“Population: Modes of Seventeenth-Century Demographic Thought”, in Carl Wennerlind and Philip J. Stern (eds.), Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and Its Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 25-45 [book here]

“Political Arithmetic and Sacred History: Population Thought in the English Enlightenment, 1660-1750”, Journal of British Studies 52:4 (2013): 829-57 [article here]

“Governing Model Populations: Queries, Quantification, and William Petty's ‘Scale of Salubrity’”, History of Science 51:2 (2013): 179-98 [article here; pre-publication version here]

“‘A Proportionable Mixture’: Sir William Petty, Political Arithmetic, and the Transmutation of the Irish,” in Restoration Ireland: Always Settling and Never Settled, edited by Coleman Dennehy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 123-39 [book here]

“Transmutation, Inclusion, and Exclusion: Political Arithmetic from Charles II to William III,” Journal of Historical Sociology, 20:3 (2007): 259-78 [article here]

“Alchemy in the Political Arithmetic of Sir William Petty (1623-1687),” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 37:2 (2006): 290-307 [article here]

Papers and presentations

Conference, workshop, and seminar presentations (last two years)

"English Colonial Projects and the Construction of Interest, c.1640-1690”, “Knowledge(s) of Self-Interest” workshop, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, Essen, 8 February 2019

(Co-convening with Prof. Rachel Weil, History, Cornell University) “Populations: Counting, Classifying, Moving and Managing Groups of People in the Early Modern Period”, Early Modern Workshop, North American Conference on British Studies Annual Meeting, Providence, 25-28 October 2018

"Population before Quantification in Early Modern England", History Department Seminar, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 8 October 2018

"Rethinking William Petty", Spring Symposium: The London Bills of Mortality, Folger Institute, Folger Shakespeare Library, W
ashington, 20 April 2018

"Rethinking Political Arithmetic: Two Transformations in Population Thought, c.1530-1830", Montreal British History Seminar, McGill University, Montreal, 16 November 2017

Participant, "Doing British Studies in the Age of Trump (and Brexit)" Roundtable, North American Conference on British Studies Annual Meeting, Denver, 4 November 2017

"Nature, the State, and the Governance of Populations, 1660-1830", Law and Governance in Britain Conference, University of Western Ontario, London ON, 21 October 2017

"Perils and Promises of Mobility and Mutation: The Government of Vagrants and the Irish, c.1560-1620", Department of History Seminar Series, Queen's University, Kingston ON, 19 October 2017

Teaching and supervision

Courses 2019-2020

Fall 2019:

HIST328: The Scientific Revolution
HIST437AA/610AA: Knowledge and Power in Early Modern Europe

Winter 2020

HIST207: Early Modern Europe
HIST340: Early Modern Britain and Ireland

Courses taught


HIST/HISW 207: Early Modern Europe
HIST 326: Reformation and Counter-Reformation
HIST 328: The Scientific Revolution
HIST 340: Early Modern Britain and Ireland
HIST 382: The Enlightenment
HIST 398: Intolerance and Toleration in Early Modern Europe
HIST 403: Methodology and History (Honours)

Subject seminars
(offered as HIST 437/610)

Early Modern Utopias
History and Progress in the Enlightenment
Knowledge and Power in Early Modern Europe
Revolutions in Three Kingdoms: England, Scotland, and Ireland 1640-1660
Science and Early Modern Culture

Graduate and Honours students (current and graduated)


Rana Fahmy, MA thesis, "Re-Settling Woes and Rebellions: The Role of Irelands Natvrall History in the Cromwellian Era" (2019)

James Leduc, MA thesis, "Between Sovereignty and Conscience in the Early Modern World: Archbishop Richard Creagh and the Problem of Government in Tudor Ireland" (2017; winner of the Edward Eastman McCullough Award for best MA thesis in History)

Tyson Lowrie, MA essay, "Broadcasting Peace: UN Peacekeeping Radio Operations, 1989-Present" (2015)

Vanessa Hulewicz, MA essay, "Breeding Behaviour: Etiquette and Companionate Marriage among the British Elite, 1870-1920" (2015)

Thomas Reubens, MA essay, "Barebones of the Financial Revolution" (2013)


Cynthia Panneton, "The Struggle of Friends: Toleration and Persecution of Quakers in Seventeenth-Century England and New England" (2016)

Patrick Reed, "'Seized by Terror and Great Fear': Emotions as Ideology in Early Medieval Ireland" (2016)

Christopher Schütze, "Sir William Osler's View: Medical Science, Institutionalization and Community in the Nineteenth Century" (2009)

Pierre-Etienne Stockland, "'Nature Doth Everywhere Geometrize': The Ontology of the Beehive in Seventeenth-Century English Natural Philosophy" (2009; winner of the David Fox Memorial Prize for best History Honours thesis)

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