David Barrie

Associate Professor, BA Stir., PhD Strath.

  • The University of Western Australia (M204), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I am Associate Professor of History, specialising in the history of crime, policing, punishment and marriage in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. I established, and edit, the book series Palgrave Histories of Policing, Punishment and Justice. My key teaching interests include criminal justice history, British history, and the history of leisure and sport. As chief investigator (project leader), I have attracted $430,000 in competitive research income, including grants from the Australian Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the Carnegie Trust (UK). My co-authored (with Susan Broomhall) two-volume monograph, Police Courts in Nineteenth-Century Scotland (Ashgate) won the 2017 Frank Watson prize for best book in Scottish history. My first monograph, Police in the Age of Improvement: Police Development and the Civic Tradition in Scotland, 1775-1865 (Willan Publishing, 2008/Routledge, 2012) was awarded ‘best first book’ in Scottish history by the Frank Watson Book Prize Committee.

Roles and responsibilities

Associate Professor/Researcher with expertise in nineteenth-century urban history, Scottish history and criminal justice history.

Future research

Media representations of police and judicial practices; marriage affinity.

Funding overview

As chief investigator, I have attracted $430,000 in competitive research income, including grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Carnegie Trust (UK), and the Australian Research Council. Externally-funded grants awarded include:

• 2013 to 2015: $155,000 from the Australian Research Council for project entitled ‘Prosecution, Punishment and the Printed Word in Enlightenment Scotland, c.1747-1815’ (with partner investigator Professor Robert B. Shoemaker). Reference: DP130104804.
• 2006 to 2007: £62,724 (or at the time of the award, 2.45 currency ratio, of $153,673) from the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK for a project entitled ‘The Origins and Development of Police in Scotland and its Impact upon Urban Governance, 1799-1859’ (Reference: RES-000-22-1758).
• 1997 to 2000: Postgraduate Studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council, UK (R00429734381). Approximately $25,000 per year.

Competitive university awards include:
• 2013: $17,400 from The University of Western Australia (Teaching Relief Award).
• 2010: $30,000 from The University of Western Australia (Research Development Award).

Previous positions

Palgrave Histories of Policing
Punishment and Justice

Current projects

The Scottish High Court in the eighteenth and early nineteenth-centuries; media representations of policing; marriage with a deceased wife’s sister.

Industrial relevance

Police governance and accountability

Teaching overview

Undergraduate Units:
• HIST1002: 'The Making of the Modern World, 1789-2000'
• HIST2011 ‘From “Glorious Revolution” to Industrial Revolution: Making Britain 1688–1888’
• HIST3007 ‘Crime and Punishment in Britain 1600–1900’

• HIST: Nationalism and History
• HIST: The History of Sport and Celebrity

Awarded Doctoral Theses Supervised:
• Ben Sacks, “'Purely of their own manufacture': The adoption and appropriation of cricket in Samoa, c. 1879-1939 (2017) (with Jeremy Martens, principal supervisor)
• Anita Fairney, ‘Jacobite Scotswomen’s Roles, Identities and Agency in Scottish Politics, 1688-1788’ (2016)
• Chris Owen, ‘“Weather Hot, Flies…” Police in the Kimberley District, 1883-1905’ (2014) (with Charlie Fox and Andrea Gaynor)
• Margaret Dorey, ‘“Poison in the pot”: English concerns about food purity and regulation c. 1500-1800’ (2011) (with Stephanie Tarbin and Phillipa Maddern)

Current PhD Supervision:
• Kelly-Ann Couzens, ‘Medicine on Trial: A Critical Analysis of Medical Testimony and Medical Expertise in the Scottish High Court of Justiciary, c.1820s-c.1890s’ (with Catherine Kelly).
• Paul Nuckley, ‘Representations of the Devil in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century England and Scotland’.


My research interests include: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century criminal justice history, marriage affinity, British history and Scottish history; leisure and recreation; urban history; and the history of masculinity.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research expertise keywords

  • Crime, police and punishment (eighteenth to nineteenth centuries)
  • Scottish history (nineteenth century)
  • Urban history (nineteenth century)
  • Working class leisure (eighteenth to nineteenth centuries)


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