RHS Council members

About the RHS Council

The Royal Historical Society is predominantly a voluntary organisation. Its Council (the Society’s trustees) is made up of twenty-three Fellows each of whom serves a four-year term working on our various committees and working parties. Every year the Fellowship elects three new members of Council using a preferential voting system. Council members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and research interests.

Current Council Members

Dr Emily Robinson

Emily Robinson is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sussex and a historian of modern Britain, specialising in political ideas, identities, emotions and traditions. Recent publications include The Language of Progressive Politics in Modern Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and articles in the Historical Journal, Twentieth Century British History, Rethinking History and Journal of the History of Ideas. She is currently co-authoring An Emotional History of Brexit Britain with Jonathan Moss and Jake Watts.

Emily joined the Council in 2020. You can read more from her on the RHS blog, Historical Transactions.

Dr Rebekah Lee

Rebekah Lee is a Senior Lecturer at the History Department, Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research interests concern the social and cultural history of modern South Africa, and the history of health and medicine in sub-Saharan Africa, and curricular and pedagogical issues at all levels of history education. Rebekah’s most recent publication is Health, Healing and Illness in African History published by Bloomsbury in 2021. She is an editor of the interdisciplinary Journal of Southern African Studies.

Rebekah joined the Council in 2020. You can read more from her on the RHS blog, Historical Transactions.

Professor Simon MacLean

Simon MacLean is a historian of Western Europe in the earlier Middle Ages, in particular the Carolingian Empire and its successor kingdoms, 8th-12th centuries, and medieval queenship. His research has been published in numerous forums since 1998, and his most recent book is Ottonian Queenship (Oxford, 2017). Simon has been involved in administration of teaching and postgraduate matters at the University of St Andrews for over a decade, and since 2018 has been Head of School. He has broad experience of the issues affecting the teaching and learning of history in modern academia.

Simon joined the Council in 2020. You can read more from him on the RHS blog, Historical Transactions.

Dr Melissa Calaresu

Melissa Calaresu is the Neil McKendrick Lecturer in History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She has written on the cultural history of the Grand Tour, urban space, ice cream, and street-vending in early modern Italy, with a particular focus on Naples. She has extensive experience of teaching and research, expertise in a wide range of neighbouring disciplines  She is currently writing a cultural history of the city of Naples through the household accounts of the Welsh artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803).

Professor Thomas Otte

Thomas Otte is Professor of Diplomatic History in the School of History, University of East Anglia. He is the author or editor of some eighteen books, among  them July Crisis: How the World Descended into War, Summer 1914 (CUP, 2014), and Statesman of Europe: A Life of Sir Edward Grey (Allen Lane, 2020).

Professor Barbara Bombi

Barbara Bombi is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Kent. Her research interests cover ecclesiastical and religious history in the High Middle Ages (1200-1450). She specialises in the medieval papacy and canon law, the Crusades of the early 13th century, and the history of the Military Orders. Her most recent monograph is Anglo-Papal Relations in the Early Fourteenth Century: A Study in Medieval Diplomacy (2019).

Professor Helen Nicholson

Helen Nicholson is Professor of Medieval History at Cardiff University/Prifysgol Caerdydd. A former Head of the History Department, her research focuses on the military religious orders and the Crusades, including a wide range of publications on the history of the Templars.

Professor Chris Marsh

Chris Marsh is Professor of Early Modern History at Queen’s University, Belfast. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, from popular religion to popular music. He is currently preparing a website that will feature digital images and new recordings by The Carnival Band (and invited guests) of a ‘top 100’ broadside ballads from seventeenth-century England. In 2017 he delivered an RHS lecture on gender in best-selling early modern ballads, which you can view in our video archive.

Dr Adam Budd

Adam Budd is Lecturer in Cultural History at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on authorship and literary culture during eighteenth century, and on the development of history as an academic discipline. Adam sits on our Race, Ethnicity and Equality working group, and is active with the Higher Education Academy and Edinburgh’s Widening Participation initiatives. His latest book is Circulating Enlightenment: The Career and Correspondence of Andrew Millar, 1725-68 (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Professor Clare Griffiths

Clare Griffiths is Chair of Modern History at Cardiff University and director of Postgraduate Research in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Clare’s research interests include twentieth-century British political and cultural history, and main areas of expertise: history of the British Left; the Labour party, organisation and policy; political culture c.1918-1950; rural and agricultural history; land use and land policy; cultural history of the home front during the Second World War; inter-war literature and publishing; commemoration and politicised histories; Englishness and depictions of place; landscape and visual art.

Clare is a member of AHRC Peer Review College, and EC member of the Agricultural History Society and the British Agricultural History Society.

Professor Paul Readman

Paul Readman is Professor of Modern British History at King’s College London. His research interests include modern British political and cultural history. His publications include Land and Nation in England: Patriotism, National Identity and the Politics of Land, 1880-1914 (2008), The Land Question in Britain, 1750-1950 (2009), Borderlands in World History, 1700–1914 (2014), and Walking Histories, 1800–1914 (2016).

Paul is Director of the major AHRC-funded project ‘The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016’. His latest publications include Storied Ground. Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity (2018) and the edited collection Restaging the Past. Historical Pageants, Culture and Society in Modern Britain (2020). Paul also co-convenes the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) seminar ‘Britain, 1815-1945’.

Dr Oleg Benesch

Oleg Benesch is a Reader in East Asian History at the University of York, specialising in the transnational history of early modern and modern Japan and China.

Oleg’s recent publications include the monographs Inventing the Way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism, and Bushido in Modern Japan (Oxford, 2014) and, together with Ran Zwigenberg, Japan’s Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace (Cambridge, 2019). For more information on Oleg’s research, please see www.olegbenesch.com.