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.
Officers of the Royal Historical Society
Mr Peter D’Sena
Vice-President and Chair of Education Policy Committee
Peter D’Sena is Associate Professor of Learning and Teaching at the University of Hertfordshire and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. His key contributions to history education are borne from his enduring commitment, over four decades, to equality and inclusion.
As a writer of the revised National Curriculum in the late 1990s Peter championed the introduction of Black History; now he continues to lecture and write on decolonising the curriculum. As the HEA’s National Lead for History he organised the revision of the QAA Benchmark Statement and created innovative resources for those ‘New to Teaching’. He is a fellow of the Historical Association, a principal fellow of the HEA and last year he was elected to be the first President of SoTL’s European branch for History.
Peter was appointed Vice-President and Chair of Education Policy Committee in 2020 with responsibility for the Society’s contribution to advocacy and training in History teaching.
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
Andrew W.M. Smith is Reader in Contemporary History and Politics at the University of Chichester. 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
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 has been Head of the Department of Humanities at Northumbria University since 2017, including a period acting as Deputy Faculty 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 Culture; The Censorship and Fortuna of Platina’s Lives of the Popes in the Sixteenth Century; and The Invention of Papal History.
Stefan Bauer enjoys writing for different audiences and has contributed to The Tablet, The Spectator USA, Literary 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.
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.
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 Adam Budd
Adam Budd is Senior 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).
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).
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 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.
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. His publications include Music and Society in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Chris 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 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 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.
Helen’s most recent book, published in 2022, is Sybil, Queen of Jerusalem 1186-1190 (Routledge).
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).
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. 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.