Professor of the History of Ideas
Location Arts Two 2.10
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7882 8351
As a history undergraduate at Oxford I was particularly interested in political thought and economics in the 19th century. My doctoral research concerned casual labour in Victorian London.
I became a History Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge and subsequently Reader and Professor of the History of Political Thought at the University of Cambridge. I was also a founder editor of the History Workshop Journal.
My major research interest is the history of British and European political thought from the aftermath of the French Revolution to the First World War.
My aim has been to situate such thought in its particular historical context. I have written on the emergence of social security as solution to problems of poverty from the 1790’s to the 20th century, on the origins of Utopian Socialism, and on the genesis of the Communist Manifesto. I am currently writing an intellectual biography of Karl Marx.
- Political thought since 1770, concentrating upon the impact and legacy of the French Revolution
- Marx and nineteenth-century socialism
- British and European History 1770-1970
- History of political economy
Current PhD Students
I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following area:
- Political Thought in Britain
- France and Germany from the French Revolution through to the twentieth century
- An End to Poverty? London, 2004
- Introduction of 180pp to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Harmondsworth, 2002,
- Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History, 1832-1982, Cambridge, 1983;
- Outcast London, Oxford, 1971 [reprinted with new preface, 1984; reprinted Harmondsworth, 1992; Open University edition, 2002, revised edition Verso 2013]
- Religion and the Political Imagination, co-edited with Ira Katznelson, Cambridge, 2010.
- The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought, co-edited with Gregory Claeys, Cambridge, 2011.
- ‘Radicalism and the Extra-European World: the case of Marx’ in Victorian Visions of Global Order : Empire and International Relations in Nineteenth Century Political Thought, Cambridge University Press, ed. Duncan Bell, 2008, pp. 186-214
- ‘The Redemptive Powers of Violence? Carlyle, Marx and Dickens’ in Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and the French Revolution, eds. Colin Jones, Josephine McDonagh & Jon Mee, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp. 41-63
- ‘Religion and the Origins of Socialism’, in Religion and the Political Imagination, eds. Gareth Stedman Jones and Ira Katznelson, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp.171-189
- ‘The return of language: radicalism and the British historians 1960-1990’, in Political Languages in the Age of Extremes, ed. W. Steinmetz, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp.331-349
- ‘The Young Hegelians, Marx and Engels’, in The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought, eds. Gareth Stedman Jones and Gregory Claeys, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 556-600
- ‘Il Socialismo nella Storia Religiosa Europea’ (The Place of Socialism in the Religious History of Western Europe), pp. 113-154, in Pensare la Contemporaneità Studi di Storia Italiana ed Europea per Mariuccia Salvati, Viella, Rome, 2011, pp.113-154
- Fellow, British Academy
- Co-Director of the Centre for History and Economics, University of Cambridge
Membership of professional associations or societies
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
- Co-founder and member of editorial board of History Workshop Journal, 1975
- Member of Editorial Board of Genèses (Paris)
Appearances in the media
A wide range of comments, editorials and occasional essays in the national press and media, recent contributions include: