World leading historian elected fellow of the British Academy

Friday 23 July 2021
Professor Andrew Pettegree (Photo Alan Richardson)

St Andrews Professor Andrew Pettegree, of the School of History, has achieved the rare distinction of being elected Fellow of the British Academy.

Professor Pettegree is among 84 new Fellows named by the Academy in recognition of their world-leading research in the humanities and social sciences.

Professor Pettegree began his career working on aspects of the European Reformation. His first book was a study of religious refugee communities in the sixteenth century, and since then he has published on the Dutch Revolt, and on the Reformation in Germany, France and England, as well as a general survey history of the sixteenth century. In the last years the focus of his research has shifted towards an interest in the history of communication, and especially the history of the book. Professor Pettegree runs a research group that in 2011 completed a survey of all books published before 1601: the Universal Short Title Catalogue. This survey has now been extended to 1650, offering data on 750,000 works with the location of four million surviving copies.

In 2010 he published an award-winning study of The Book in the Renaissance, and in 2014 The Invention of News: a study of the birth of a commercial culture of news publication in the four centuries between 1400 and 1800. He returned to the Reformation for a study of Luther’s media strategy, published in 2015 by Penguin as Brand Luther, 1517, Printing and the Making of the Reformation. In 2019 he co-authored a study of the book culture of the Dutch republic, Bookshop of the World, followed in 2020 with The Dutch republic and the Birth of Modern Advertising.

On receiving his Fellowship of the British Academy, Professor Pettegree said: “I’m very honoured. In the last 25 years I’ve worked with many talented younger scholars, and I am thrilled to see our collective work on the Universal Short Title Catalogue recognised in this way.  St Andrews has been a wonderfully supportive environment for scholarship, and I feel truly fortunate to have built my career here.”

Founded in 1902, the British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It is a Fellowship of over 1400 of the leading minds in these subjects from the UK and overseas. Current Fellows include the classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, the historian Professor Sir Simon Schama and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill, while previous Fellows include Dame Frances Yates, Sir Winston Churchill, Seamus Heaney and Beatrice Webb.

Welcoming Professor Pettegree into the British Academy, President Professor Julia Black said: “As the new President of the British Academy, it gives me great pleasure to welcome this new cohort of Fellows, who are as impressive as ever and remind us of the rich and diverse scholarship and research undertaken within the SHAPE disciplines – the social sciences, humanities and the arts. I am very much looking forward to working with them on our shared interests.

“The need for SHAPE subjects has never been greater. As Britain recovers from the pandemic and seeks to build back better, the insights from our diverse disciplines will be vital to ensure the health, wellbeing and prosperity of the UK and will continue to provide the cultural and societal enrichment that has sustained us over the last eighteen months. Our new Fellows embody the value of their subjects and I congratulate them warmly for their achievement.”

Full details of the Fellows elected by the British Academy is available online.

The British Academy is the voice of the humanities and social sciences. The Academy is an independent fellowship of world-leading scholars and researchers; a funding body for research, nationally and internationally; and a forum for debate and engagement.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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