On Tuesday 17th March, Mike Cressey will be giving the final MEMSA seminar of term. We caught up with him and put him through the MEMSA interview.
Mike will be talking about ‘1679: Licensing, Impeachment, and the Birth of Modernity?‘ at 6:15 in the World Heritage Visistors Centre.
Where are you from?
– I’m from Barrow upon Humber, which is a village near Hull.
What brought you to Durham?
– I came to Durham because I liked the look of the early modern history MA course, and it was a good department.
What do you like most about being in Durham?
– My favourite thing about Durham is the county it’s situated in. You don’t have to go far to find somewhere interesting to walk.
What is your research on?
– My research is on conspiracy theories in the reign of Charles II. I’m trying to study how the authorities engaged with harmful ideas and how they attempted to control political thought in the mid-late seventeenth century.
How did you become interested in this topic?
– I wrote an essay on the myths surrounding the Knights Templar at undergraduate. I’m not interested in conspiracy theories as such. They’re not based on a particularly happy way of looking at the world. But I am interested in why people believe what they believe, particularly when that belief is based on an irrational process of logic. I also figured that if I studied conspiracy theories, I might one day be able stop Dan Brown selling any more books.
What’s your favourite book, academic or non-academic?
– My favourite book could be Animal Farm. I love how with each page you turn, the conceit should stop working. But actually, it’s just pretty flawless.
If you were not in academia, what would you like to be doing?
– I wish I was a florist, for two reasons. Firstly, I suspect that no-one ever races into a florist and yells ‘quick! Everyone! This is an emergency!’ So I think it would be quite an agreeable pace of employment. And secondly, I really like the idea of being able to match the flowers to the event. ‘It’s my Aunty Marjorie’s 85th birthday’. ‘Ah. You’ll be wanting dahlias’, etc…