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Supervisors: Dr Maximilian Sternberg (Architecture) and Dr Tim Chesters (French)


Research overview:

The Wars of Religion were a series of eight civil wars fought between Protestants and Catholics in the wake of religious reform that tore apart the kingdom of France in the late sixteenth century. Perhaps contrary to expectations, their darkest moments took place not on battlefields, but in cities. The built environment was deeply intertwined with the brutal acts of popular violence that defined the Wars’ early years: ‘cleansing’ a terrain was high on the agenda of radicals on either side of the confessional divide. Looking to contemporaries’ accounts of conflicts in Paris, Lyon, Troyes, and other French cities, this project seeks to uncover the ways in which violence shaped perceptions and navigations of urban space. It does so with an eye to current theoretical writing on conflict in cities, seeking comparisons between early modernity and post-modernity. 



Tom’s doctoral research is funded by the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship Programme. He completed both his BA in French and German (First Class with Distinction) and his MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies (Distinction) at Cambridge, for which he received the German department’s 2021 Kurt Hahn and D.H. Green prizes and the Architecture department’s 2023 Dalibor Vesely prize. He is a 2024-2025 Frank Knox Fellow, through which he will take up a year’s visiting fellowship at Harvard University.