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Dr Niall Oddy

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a historian of the literary and intellectual culture of early modern Europe. I joined the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2019 and am currently Staff Tutor in History. I previously worked at Durham University, where I lectured in learning and teaching in Higher Education, delivered training for postgraduate researchers, and led an undergraduate personal development programme. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research interests

My research is concerned with cross-cultural interaction and geography in early modern Europe, with a particular focus on the links between France and the rest of the world. I have published articles on Franco-Ottoman relations, the history of the word 'Europe', and the place of the Europa myth in geographical discourse. My forthcoming monograph Writing Europe in Renaissance France (Edinburgh University Press, 2024) examines how Europe was understood and represented in sixteenth and early-seventeenth century France. It argues that Europe as an idea evolved in productive dialogue with emerging national consciousness and demonstrates how different ideas of Europe were shaped by real and imagined journeys across the globe.

In 2022 I was awarded a Cosin's Library Fellowship at Durham University, which supported my research into the foreign language books in Cosin's Library, a late-seventeenth century public library established by John Cosin, Bishop of Durham. I am interested in the range of language learning books that were available for visitors to the library and what this tells us about language learning, multilingualism and library collections in early modern North East England.

Teaching interests

I have taught across the Open University's interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities curriculum, including A111 Discovering the arts and humanities, A112 Cultures, A113 Revolutions, A223 Early modern Europe, and A233 Telling stories.

I am passionate about skills development for undergraduate and postgraduate students. I have conducted research projects on academic writing and skills development for postgraduate researchers and presented my findings at conferences. I am currently involved in a scholarship project investigating the use of 'write now' sessions for undergraduates.

Impact and engagement

I have written for public audiences about the history of the idea of Europe (Disagreements on what Europe means go back to the 16th century ( and literature and the environment (Literature and the Environment - OpenLearn - Open University).

I sit on the council of the Durham County Local History Society.


Conflicts of Meaning: the Word Europe in Sixteenth-Century French Writing (2019-12-02)
Oddy, Niall
In: Detering, Nicolas; Marsico, Clementina and Walser-Bürgler, Isabella eds. Contesting Europe: Comparative Perspectives on Early Modern Discourses on Europe, 1400–1800. Intersections (pp. 174-190)
ISBN : 978-90-04-37605-2 | Publisher : Brill