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Faculty Profiles

Paul D. Tonks

Associate Professor of History

  • Ph.D. in History, Johns Hopkins University
  • M.A. in History, Johns Hopkins University
  • B.A. (Hons) in History, University of Oxford

Email: paultonks@yonsei.ac.kr
Tel: 02-2123-3938
Office: Daewoo Annex Hall 406


My central academic interest is intellectual history, with a particular focus on early modern Scottish political, economic, and religious thought. I have taught at Yonsei University's Underwood International College since 2006. Prior to coming to Korea, after completing my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, I taught as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of History at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. I served as Chair of the Common Curriculum at UIC from 2009 until 2012. From 2012 to 2014, I was associate dean of the Office of International Affairs in the central administration of Yonsei University. During my sabbatical in 2014-2015, I held a visiting research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh ("Conceptualizations of East Asia and the Making of the Scottish Enlightenment: Histories of Global Power, 1688-1815"), followed by a Visiting Research Fellowship in the Department of History at King's College London.

At UIC, I have been a faculty mentor to a number of student organizations, including the Underwood Global Community, and I continue to do my best to support student activities and welfare. Perhaps most notably, I have been the Faculty Advisor to the Yonsei Underwood Union, UIC's national and international award-winning Debate Club, since its foundation in 2006.


Ph.D. in History, Johns Hopkins University
M.A. in History, Johns Hopkins University
B.A. (Hons) in History, University of Oxford

Courses and Current Research Areas

I teach UIC courses in American, Atlantic, and British history, as well as Debate. I have also supervised and examined a number of senior theses at UIC, as well as MA theses in the departments of History and English Language and Literature. I have offered regularly a Freshman Seminar in Financial History open to non-UIC students through University College.

My current research continues my longstanding interest in Scottish historical thought, especially in relation to Britain's Atlantic and Global Empire in the early modern period. Future work aims to build on several projects that I began during my Visiting Research Fellowships at the University of Edinburgh and King's College London. It seeks to evaluate Scottish historical understandings of East Asian politics, economics, religion, society, and culture, with a special focus on Korea, from the 17th through the 20th centuries.

Selected Publications

"Scottish Political Economy, Education, and the Management of Poverty in Industrializing Britain: Patrick Colquhoun and the Westminster Free School Model," History: The Journal of the Historical Association (forthcoming)

"Commerce and Trade," in Mark G. Spencer, ed., Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment (Bloomsbury Academic: New York & London, 2015)

"Reflections on the Referendum in Scotland: Independence and Identities in Historical Perspective," Korean Journal of British Studies, Volume 33 (June 2015), pp. 169-196

"A Scottish Vision of Korea and East Asia before the Great Divergence: John Campbell and Early Modern European Comparative Historical Discourse," The Journal of Eurasian Studies, Volume 32 (March 2014), pp. 113-127

"Leviathan's Defenders: Scottish Historical Discourse and the Political Economy of Progress," in Daniel Carey & Christopher J. Finlay, eds, The Empire of Credit: The Financial Revolution in the British Atlantic World, 1688-1815 (Irish Academic Press: Dublin & Portland, OR, 2011)

"Empire and Authority in Colonial New York: The Political Thought of Archibald Kennedy and Cadwallader Colden," New York History (February 2010), 91/1, pp. 25-44

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