Catherine Arnold

Catherine Arnold's picture
Primary field of interest: 


I am a doctoral candidate in early modern history at Yale University. My dissertation, “Affairs of Humanity: Sovereignty, Sentiment, and the Origins of Humanitarian Diplomacy in Britain and Europe,” examines Britain’s diplomacy to protect refugees and prisoners from across Europe during the first half of the eighteenth century. By investigating British diplomacy on behalf of Protestants in France and Savoy, Catholics in France, and Jews in Portugal and Bohemia, I trace how British politicians came to argue that the sentiment of humanity – specifically, the need to prevent innocent people, whatever their religion, from being unjustly punished by their governments – trumped state sovereignty and justified intervening in other states’ domestic affairs.
My research has been generously supported by a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship from the Institute of Historical Research in London, an HSS Chateaubriand Fellowship from the French Embassy in the United States, and a John F. Enders Grant from Yale University, among others. In 2016-2017 I will be a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellow in Religion and Ethics.
I am also interested in the history of early modern empires: my past research has examined charity, populationism, and immigration policy in the eighteenth-century British empire.
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, I earned my B.A. from Wellesley College, graduating a Durant Scholar summa cum laude with Honors in Italian Studies. When not in the archives or the classroom, I enjoy ballet, theatre, and yoga. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about Yale’s graduate program in history.