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EIU Department of History

Faculty and Staff Listing

Dr. Newton Key, Distinguished History Professor Emeritus


My work reflects my beliefs that faculty are learners, students are creators, and that learning spaces matter. Check out my students' award-winning work. Past syllabi are available online (most enhanced). I am interested in learning spaces, active learning, and the Center for Student Innovation in Booth Library.


Frequently Taught Courses

I teach undergraduates about the early modern world, early modern England, modern Britain and the British Empire, as well as researching and writing history. I teach graduates about revolutions, early modern society, historiography, and the premodern world. I teach both graduates and undergraduates Irish history and London crime & poverty.


  • Cornell University: Ph.D. in History, 1989. Dissertation, "Politics beyond Parliament: Unity and Party in the Herefordshire Region during the Restoration Period."
  • University of Cambridge: M.Phil. in Social Anthropology, 1981. Thesis, "Crime as Custom: Norfolk Smuggling Organization, 1690-1760."

Professional Organizations

North American Conference on British Studies, Midwest Conference on British Studies, American HIstorical Association, H-Albion, H-Net, POD Network (Advancing the Research and Practice of Educational Development in Higher Education)


I have written about unsuccessful plotters, imaginary kings, feasting & drinking, preaching as politics, preaching as culture, and blogging and digital history (see cv). I usually write about early modern England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and co-author a best-selling text, Early Modern England (now in 3rd ed.).

Selected Publications

  • “The Paper Feast in Late-Stuart London: Feast Tickets, Advertisements, Songs, Sermons, and Entertainments,” Huntington Library Quarterly (forthcoming, March 2022).
  • "Constructing Conspiracy: Reporting the Rye House Plot Trials," in State Trials and the Politics of Justice in Later Stuart and Early Hanoverian England, eds. Brian Cowan and Scott Sowerby (London: Boydell & Brewer, forthcoming, 2021).
  • "Mrs. Bedamore through the Keyhole: Privacy, Local Knowledge, and Things Unpublished in Late-Stuart England," Midland History 46, 1 (Jan. 2021): 50-64.
  • Dagni Bredesen and Newton Key, “Thinking with Murder: How the Victorians and Edwardians created and used the 1857 Waterloo Bridge Mystery,” Victorians Institute Journal 47 (2020): 155-177.
  • Robert Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714: A Narrative History, 3rd ed. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2003, 2009, 2019).
  • Mark Hoffman, Jean-Phillipe Cointet, Philip Brandt, Newton Key, and Peter Bearman, "The (Protestant) Bible, the (Printed) Sermon, and the Word(s): The Semantic Structure of the Conformist and Dissenting Bible, 1660-1780," Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts 68 (June 2018): 89-103. (American Sociological Association Section on Sociology of Religion's Distinguished Article Award, 2018)
  • "The 'Boast of Antiquity': Pulpit Politics Across the Atlantic Archipelago during the Revolution of 1688," Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 83, 3 (Sept. 2014): 618-49.

Selected Conference Presentations

  • “UDL and ALCs: The Card Game Version” (Making Excellence Inclusive Conference, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, 11 Oct. 2019)
  • Zach Newell, Newton Key, Todd Bruns, Stacey Knight-Davis, CC Wharram, Steve Brantley, “Creating a Cross-disciplinary Hub for Active Student Learning in the EIU Library” (Playful by Design Symposium, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 4-5 April 2019)
  • "Mrs. Bedamore in the Study through the Keyhole: Privacy, Local Knowledge, and National Rhetorics in the First Age of Party," for panel on "Privacy and the Public Gaze in Late-Stuart Britain" (North American Conference on British Studies [NACBS], Denver, 3-5 Nov. 2017)
  • "1683: The Revolution That Never Was (But the Two Revolutionary Situations That Were)" (The Bangor Conference on the Restoration 2017: Turning Points in Britain and Ireland, 1658-1715, Bangor, Wales, 25-27 July 2017)
  • "Print as Performance?: Dramatizing Group Identity at Feasts in Late-Stuart London" (Seminar 31, "Performance and the Paper Stage, 1640-1695," Shakespeare Association of America Atlanta, 5-8 April 2017)
  • "Cut-ups, the Relational Database, and Mapping the Associational Metropolis of late-Stuart London" (Roundtable "Making maps of the past: historical cartography and early modern Britain," NACBS, Washington, DC, 12 Nov. 2016)

Funding & Grants

  • Lawrence A. Ringenberg Award, College of Library Arts and Sciences, Eastern, 2021

  • Distinguished Professor, Eastern, 2019

  • American Sociological Association Section on Sociology of Religion's Distinguished Article Award, 2018

  • Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship, Dec. 2015–Feb. 2016

  • Rodney S. Ranes Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, Graduate School, Eastern, 2013

  • Lewis Walpole Library Fellowship, April 2008

  • William Andrews Clark Library Fellowship, Jan. 2008

  • co-authored five-year grant proposal (funded by Lumpkin Foundation) and established Localités/Localities, a web-based center for local history, 1997–2006

  • Nichols Prize for Local History of England and Wales, Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester, 2005

My most recent book read is Sandra B. Tooze, Levon: From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond (2020). Saddened by the loss of Johnny Nash, a soul artist from Houston who moved to Jamaica and was one of the first to cover and promote the songs of Bob Marley. You should be listening to Johnny Nash now.

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Contact Information

History Department

2744 Coleman Hall
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

Sace E Elder, Chair

2542 Coleman Hall

Brian Mann, Undergraduate Advisor

3721 - Coleman Hall

Lee Patterson, Graduate Coordinator

2572 - Coleman Hall

Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz
History with Teacher Licensure in Social Science Coordinator

2556 Coleman Hall

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