President, Officers & Councillors

The Society’s Council & Governance

The Royal Historical Society is predominantly a voluntary organisation. Its Council (the Society’s trustees) is made up of RHS Fellows each of whom serves a four-year term working on our various committees and working parties.

Selected members of Council hold Officer posts with responsibility for, among other areas, research and education policy or publishing. Council is led by the RHS President who also serves a four-year term. 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.

 

The Royal Historical Society President

Professor Emma Griffin

Emma Griffin is Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia, and researches on the social and economic history of Britain during the period 1700-1870, with a particular interest in gender history, the industrial revolution, and working-class life. Emma’s most recent publications include Liberty’s Dawn. A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution (2013) and Bread Winner. An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy (2020), both published by Yale. She is also a former editor of History (the academic journal of the Historical Association) and of the Historical Journal.

Emma is a frequent contributor to radio and television, having written and presented several Radio 4 documentaries on diverse aspects of her research, from the history of fox-hunting, to the industrial revolution, to the gender pay gap and its history. She was a historical advisor for the Channel 4 drama, The Mill and co-presented The Real Mill with Tony Robinson on More4, and has appeared as an expert contributor on several radio and television programmes, including BBC1’s Who do you Think You Are? and Radio 4’s In Our Time.

Emma became the 35th President of the RHS in November 2020. Read more from Emma on Historical Transactions, the RHS blog.

Officers of the Royal Historical Society

Professor Jonathan Morris
Vice-President & Chair of the Research Policy Committee

Jonathan Morris is Research Professor in Modern History at the University of Hertfordshire. He is an expert on the global history of coffee, and enjoys an international reputation as a specialist in the transnational history of consumption and modern Italy.

Jonathan’s most recent publication is Coffee: A Global History (Reaktion, 2019). Jonathan leads the Heritage for Business unit within the University of Hertfordshire’s Heritage Hub and was a finalist in Most Innovative Contribution to Business-Collaboration category in the 2018 Times Higher Education Awards for his work with Nestlé Nespresso. Jonathan is a member of the REF2021 History Sub-Panel.

As Vice-President & Chair of the Research Policy Committee, Jonathan oversees the Society’s work in speaking for historians on issues related to research and funding.

Dr Andrew Smith
Honorary Secretary

Andrew W.M. Smith is Director of Liberal Arts at Queen Mary University of London. His work focuses principally on the French and Francophone world with an interest in identities beyond the frame of the nation state. Recent articles have addressed minority nationalism, decolonization, the Second World War, and linguistic politics.

Andrew is the author of Terror and Terroir: The Winegrowers of the Languedoc and Modern France (Manchester University Press, September 2016), and editor (with Chris Jeppesen) of Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa: Future Imperfect? (UCL Press, March 2017). Andrew was previously the Society’s Honorary Director of Communications, and took on the role of Honorary Secretary in 2021.

Professor Jon Stobart
Honorary Treasurer

Jon Stobart is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University, having previously held academic positions at the universities of Northampton, Coventry and Staffordshire. He is a social and economic historian of eighteenth-century England, with particular interests in the histories of retailing and consumption.

Much of Jon’s work is collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international and he has worked with geographers, art historians, heritage professionals and historians from the UK and across Europe. His most recent book, Consumption and the Country House, was published by OUP in 2016. Jon is a founding editor of the journal History of Retailing and Consumption, a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and has sat on a number of academic councils and committees including the Economic History Society, Social History Society and Northamptonshire Record Society.

Professor Jane Winters
Vice-President and Chair of the Publications Committee

Jane Winters is Professor of Digital History at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Jane has led or co-directed a range of digital humanities projects, including — most recently — Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities; Digging into Linked Parliamentary Metadata; Traces through Time: Prosopography in Practice across Big Data; The Thesaurus of British and Irish History as SKOS; and Born Digital Big Data and Approaches for History and the Humanities.

A former RHS Council member, Jane became Vice-President, Publications in 2020 with oversight of the Society’s print and online publications and the RHS’s contribution to debates on humanities publishing.

Professor Julian Wright
Secretary for Professional Engagement

Julian Wright is Professor of History at Northumbria University, where he was Head of Humanities (2017-22) and also acting Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education. Between 2004 and 2017, he worked at Durham University; and he was co-editor of the journal French History from 2006 to 2021.

Julian is a historian of modern Europe, particularly fascinated by the idea and experience of time in the present. With co-editor Allegra Fryxell, he recently brought out Time on a Human Scale: Experiencing the Present in Europe, 1860-1930 (Proceedings of the British Academy, 2021), which drew on cross-disciplinary perspectives to develop themes explored in his most recent monograph Socialism and the Experience of Time: Idealism and the Present in Modern France (OUP, 2017).

Julian’s new project on the experience of living ‘outside of time’ in the era of the Second World War asks how people tried to reconstruct ordinary temporal rhythms in difficult conditions, from those living under siege to prisoners in camps or people living in secrecy in occupied Europe.

Councillors of the Royal Historical Society

Dr Stefan Bauer

Dr Stefan Bauer is Lecturer in Early Modern World History at King’s College London. He previously held positions at Warwick, Royal Holloway, York, Rome, and Trento.

Stefan is an intellectual and cultural historian of early modern Europe; his research interests cover humanism, church history, religious polemic, and forgeries. Among his books are The Image of the Polis and the Concept of Democracy in J. Burckhardt’s History of Greek CultureThe Censorship and Fortuna of Platina’s Lives of the Popes in the Sixteenth Century; and The Invention of Papal History.

Stefan enjoys writing for different audiences and has contributed to The TabletThe Spectator USALiterary Review and History Today (forthcoming). He has curated exhibitions at the York Minster and the Middle Temple, London. Stefan is Director of Social Media at the Sixteenth Century Society, and a Co-editor of Lias: Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources. Stefan was elected to the Council of the Royal Historical Society in September 2021.

Professor Caitríona Beaumont

Professor Caitríona Beaumont is Professor of Social History at London South Bank University and Director of Research for the School of Law and Social Sciences.  Her research focuses on the history of female activism and women’s movements in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain and Ireland. Her book, Housewives and Citizens: Domesticity and the Women’s Movement in England, 1918-64 was published in 2013 by Manchester University Press.

Recent journal articles and chapters feature research relating to gender and the interwar peace movement, the print culture of the Women’s Institutes and the Mothers’ Union and the application of social movement theory to the Irish suffrage and women’s movement. She is currently working on a history of intergenerational female activism in Britain, 1960-1980. She has also contributed web content to The British Library and 1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War.

Caitríona sits on the editorial boards of Twentieth Century British History and Contemporary British History, is a member of Women’s History Network, Social History Society, Voluntary Action History Society and the Women’s History Association of Ireland, and co-convenes the IHR Contemporary British History Seminar Series. She was elected to the RHS Council in September 2021.

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).

Barbara 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), published by Oxford University Press. Barbara was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2022.

Dr Kate Bradley

Dr Kate Bradley is Reader in Social History & Social Policy in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent. Her research  covers the history of social policy in the 20th century, and how voluntary, state and private welfare services are accessible (or not) to citizens. Her most recent book is Lawyers for the Poor: Legal Advice, Voluntary Action and Citizenship in England, 1890-1990 (Manchester UP, 2019). This project examined the campaigning and hands-on pro bono legal advice provision of individual lawyers, political parties, trade unions, charities, the press, and community activist groups, in order to try to uphold the rights of the neediest.

Kate joined the University of Kent in 2007, having previously held an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship in the Centre for Contemporary British History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Kate was elected to the RHS Council in September 2022. Prior to this appointment, she has served the historical community in several ways: co-founding History Lab in 2005, co-convening History UK in 2015-16, and as a member of the Social History Society committee since 2017.

Dr Melissa Calaresu

Melissa Calaresu is the Neil McKendrick Lecturer in History at Gonville and Caius College, University of 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. Her books include New Approaches to Naples c.1500–c.1800: The Power of Place (2013) and Food Hawkers: Selling in the Streets from Antiquity to the Present Day (2016).

Melissa 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).

Dr Helen Paul

Dr Helen Paul is a Lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of Southampton. A historian of the late-seventeenth and eighteenth century, her work focuses primarily on the South Sea Company and enslavement.

Helen’s publications include The South Sea Bubble: an Economic History of its Origins and Consequences (2011) and she is a frequent contributor on programmes such as Radio 4’s In Our Time.

Helen was elected a Councillor of the Royal Historical Society in September 2022. She was previously, for six years, Honorary Secretary of the Economic History Society (EHS) and has also served as chair of the EHS Women’s Committee.

Professor Rebekah Lee

Rebekah Lee is Associate Professor in African Studies at Oxford University, which she joined in January 2022, and a former Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Rebekah’s 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 is currently completing the manuscript of her latest book, Death and Memory in Modern South Africa.

Rebekah was elected to the RHS Council in September 2020.

Professor Simon MacLean

Simon MacLean is Professor of Medieval History at the University of St Andrews. A historian of Western Europe in the earlier Middle Ages, Simon’s research focuses on the Carolingian Empire and its successor kingdoms, 8th-12th centuries, and medieval queenship. His work 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 was elected to the Council of the RHS in September 2020.

Dr Emilie Murphy

Emilie Murphy is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of York. She is a specialist of the cultural and religious history of England, and English-speaking people abroad, 1500-1700. Her scholarship focuses on sound and hearing, voice and language, and various aspects of performance culture. She is co-editor of Sensing the Sacred in Medieval and Early Modern Culture, and her essays have appeared in several major journals including Renaissance Quarterly, The Historical Journal and Renaissance Studies. Her current research project is The Reformation of the Soundscape in Early Modern England and she is a lead investigator on the AHRC funded research network, ‘Soundscapes in the Early Modern World’. 

Emilie enjoys sharing her research with a public audience, and has appeared as an expert contributor radio and television programmes including BBC 1’s Countryfile, and BBC Radio 4’s Making History.

Professor Thomas Otte

Thomas Otte is Professor of Diplomatic History, University of East Anglia where he teaches the history of modern war and conflict, military intervention and diplomacy, and British and European history of the 19th century.

Thomas is the author or editor of some eighteen books, among them July Crisis: How the World Descended into War, Summer 1914 (CUP, 2014), and, most recently, Statesman of Europe: A Life of Sir Edward Grey (Allen Lane, 2020). Thomas been an adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and, in addition to his Royal Historical Society work, is a trustee of the Foreign Office Historical Collection, and member of the national executive committee of the British International History Group (BIHG).

Professor Olwen Purdue

Olwen Purdue is Professor of Modern Social History at Queen’s University, Belfast where shes work on the social history of nineteenth and early twentieth-century Ireland with a particular focus on social class, urban poverty and welfare. Olwen directs the Centre for Public History at Queen’s and is particularly interested in the role public history plays in divided societies.

Following publication of her first book, The Big House in the North of Ireland: Land, Power and Social Elites, 1870-1960 (Dublin: UCD Press, 2009), Olwen has turned to poverty and welfare in the industrial city, publishing several articles and edited collections including The First Great Charity of this Town: Belfast Charitable Society and its Role in the Developing City (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2022). Her new monograph, Workhouse Child: Poverty, Child Welfare and the Poor Law in industrial Belfast, 1880-1918, is due out with Liverpool University Press in 2023. I was formerly international editor for The Public Historian and am currently series editor for Liverpool University Press’ Nineteenth-Century Ireland series.

Olwen was elected to the RHS Council in September 2022. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Museums Association, a member of the advisory board for the Ulster Museum, and a Governor of the Linen Hall Library.

Dr Emily Robinson

Emily Robinson is a Reader in British Studies at the University of Sussex and a historian of modern Britain, specialising in political ideas, identities, emotions and traditions.

Emily’s 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. Her next book, An Emotional History of Brexit Britain, co-authored with Jonathan Moss and Jake Watts, will be published by Manchester University Press in 2023.

Emily was elected to the Council of the Royal Historical Society in September 2020.