Rory is a historian of the medieval and ancient world and a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews. He has published widely on the ethics of war, military history, intellectual history, and religious history. He has broad chronological and interdisciplinary interests, from ancient Egyptian ethics of war to the use of torture by the CIA. Rory is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a co-editor of the journal Global Intellectual History, and Associate Director of the St Andrews Institute for Intellectual History. His work engages a range of disciplines, including History, International Relations, Sociology and Anthropology.
Rory loves travel and adventure sports, and has a special passion for mountains and forests. He has travelled much of the globe, including Iran and the Middle East, Scandinavia, the Caucasus, South-East Asia, the South Pacific and Australia, Japan, North America, and Western, Central, and Eastern Europe. Rory has run the London Marathon, climbed mountains, hiked through some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and is a cycling enthusiast. He lives and works in St Andrews, Scotland, with his wife and their two children.
Rory received a B.A. Hons First Class in Ancient History from University College London in 2004, graduating top of the History faculty and receiving a number of academic awards during his undergraduate studies. In 2003, Rory was awarded an undergraduate bursary from the British Academy in order to undertake research in Iran, during which time he visited the ancient Persian ruins of Persepolis and also took the opportunity to climb Mt Damavand – the highest volcano in Asia and the 12thmost prominent peak in the world.
Rory received full funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to return to University College London in 2005 to complete a Masters in Medieval Studies, gaining a Distinction. Winning further AHRC funding, Rory pursued his doctoral studies at the University of Oxford, where he received further academic prizes and completed a D.Phil in History in 2010. He was appointed a Scouloudi Junior Research Fellow at the Institute for Historical Research, London, from 2009 to 2010.
Between 2010 and 2011, Rory spent a year in Wales as Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Aberystwyth. He was then appointed permanent Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of St Andrews in 2011, where he currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer in History. Rory has been appointed to two international research fellowships: in 2016 he served as a Wallenberg Research Fellow at the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace (University of Stockholm); between 2017-18 he spent a year in Los Angeles as a Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Huntingdon Library. He has also held a short-term teaching fellowship at Tel-Aviv University.
Rory is passionate about communicating his love of history to a wider audience. He has recorded an episode of Dan Snow’s History Hit podcast, and featured on BBC Radio 4’s Making History programme. Other podcasts and public lectures are available on YouTube and Spotify. He has written pieces for History Today and The Guardian. Recently, he has worked with Orchard Media (http://thinkorchard.com/en/) to develop an original history TV series: Battle Walks. Rory’s core ambition is to combine his love of history, nature and adventure, in an original television series.