Andrew Murphy joins the Political Science Department after appointments at Virginia Commonwealth University, Rutgers University, Valparaiso University, and the University of Chicago. His research takes up the intersections between politics and religion in both historical and contemporary contexts; he is particularly interested in the emergence of religious liberty and liberty of conscience in early modern England and America, and the ongoing ramifications of these debates as they continue to unsettle American politics.
In recent years, Murphy has focused on the life, career and political thought of William Penn, a figure who brought political theory and practice together in the early modern British Atlantic. He is the author of William Penn: A Life (Oxford, 2019) and Liberty, Conscience, and Toleration: The Political Thought of William Penn (Oxford, 2016); and co-editor (with John Smolenski) of The Worlds of William Penn (Rutgers, 2019). An edition of Penn's political writings, for the Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series, appeared in 2021. His work on Penn continues the exploration of these topics begun in his first book, Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America (Penn State, 2001). His more contemporary interests are reflected in his co-authored book (with David S. Gutterman, of Willamette University) Political Religion and Religious Politics: Navigating Identities in the United States (Routledge, 2015), and his Prodigal Nation: Moral Decline and Divine Punishment from New England to 9/11 (Oxford, 2008). He brings together historical and contemporary political reflection in “The Past and Present (and Future?) Politics of Religious Liberty,” The Forum 17 (2019): 45-67.
Murphy's current research continues to bring together the political and the religious. His next project explores the concept of political martyrdom and the ways in which studying politically-charged deaths can help us make sense of the complex interplay of death, religion, politics, collective memory, and symbolic power.