I was born in Stirling, and was a frequent visitor to the University campus in my formative years. I completed my undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Oxford (BA in History, MPhil in Modern European History, DPhil in History), and there developed my long-standing interest in Russian history. In 2013 I was awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, which I held for three years at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. In 2016 I was appointed as Lecturer in Modern European History at Brasenose College, Oxford. I held this post until Spring 2019, when I returned to Stirling.
Throughout this time, I have spent long periods abroad working in archives in Russia (Kazan, Perm, Moscow, and, above all, St Petersburg), but also in Ukraine (Lviv, Chernivtsi), and Austria (Vienna). I have frequently taught Russian history, but I have also taught various aspects of European History from the 1680s until 1989. I am most at home within the European long-nineteenth century (1789-1917), and situate my work on Russia within this context.