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 Head of School and Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London. Prior to joining QMUL in September 2023, Emma was Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia. Emma 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. Her 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.
Officers of the Royal Historical Society
Professor Clare Griffiths
Vice President of the Royal Historical Society
Clare Griffiths is Head of History and Professor of Modern History in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. In November 2023 she was appointed Vice President of the Royal Historical Society.
Prior to taking up her current position in Cardiff, she taught at the University of Sheffield, Wadham College, Oxford, and the University of Reading, and she has held visiting fellowships at the Huntington Library, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Museum of English Rural Life.
Clare’s research focuses on the political and cultural history of Britain in the twentieth century, with a particular interest in the history of the countryside, agriculture and landscape. She is the author of Labour and the Countryside: the Politics of Rural Britain, 1918-1939 (Oxford University Press, 2007) and co-editor of Class, Cultures and Politics (OUP 2011). Her published articles and essays include work on political debates in Britain during the Second World War, the commemoration and historical memory of early nineteenth-century radicalism, and many aspects of British farming and rural life. She has also written extensively for the Times Literary Supplement, particularly on visual art.
Clare was a member of the Society’s Council from 2018 to 2021, during which time she served on, and subsequently chaired the Research Support Committee.
Dr John Law
Treasurer of the Royal Historical Society
John Law was, until his retirement, a Research Fellow in History at the University of Westminster. He was elected Treasurer of the Royal Historical Society in November 2023.
John joined the academic world later than is usual, completing his PhD when he was 54 years old. John’s work considers the experience of modernity in Britain in the mid-twentieth century. He is the author of several academic books. His latest, A World Away, was published by McGill Queen’s University Press in 2022, and examines the impact of holiday package tours on the people of Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. John was a council member and trustee at the University of Sussex from 2011 to 2017.
Prior to academia, John was a partner at PwC and an executive at IBM. In these roles, he provided consulting advice to the world’s largest financial institutions. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Dr Adam Budd
Secretary for Education and Chair of the Education Policy Committee
Adam Budd is Senior Lecturer in Cultural History and Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.
Adam’s research focuses on authorship and print culture during eighteenth century, and on the development of history as an academic discipline. Prior to being appointed Secretary for Education, Adam served as an elected member of the RHS Council, between 2018 and 2022. As Secretary for Education, Adam is responsible for the Society’s policy on higher education and support for teaching.
Adam co-authored the RHS Report on Race, Ethnicity and Equality (2018) and has been involved in developing merit-based funding initiatives for early-career researchers, in addition to chairing RHS scholarship awards and research prizes. He is active with the Higher Education Academy and has led numerous Widening Participation initiatives. His latest book is Circulating Enlightenment: The Career and Correspondence of Andrew Millar, 1725-68 (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Professor Barbara Bombi
Secretary for Research and Chair of the Research Policy Committee
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 was elected RHS Secretary of Research and Chair of the Research Policy Committee in November 2023. In this role, Barbara oversees the Society’s work in speaking for historians on issues related to research and funding. Prior to this she served as an elected member of the RHS Council, 2019-23.
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.
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.
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; The Invention of Papal History; and — most recently — A Renaissance Reclaimed. Jacob Burckhardt’s Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy Reconsidered, co-edited with Simon Ditchfield (2022).
Stefan enjoys writing for different audiences and has contributed to The Tablet, The Spectator USA, Literary Review and History Today. 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.
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).
Professor Mark Knights
Mark Knights is Professor of History at the University of Warwick and was elected to the Council of the Royal Historical Society in November 2023. His research focuses on early modern political culture in Britain and its empire, and on the history of corruption.
Mark’s most recent publication is Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and its Empire 1600-1850 (OUP 2021). He is currently working on a cultural biography of a seventeenth-century merchant philosopher; a book charting the history of corruption in Britain and its empire from the 1620s to the 2020s; and the Oxford Handbook of the History of Corruption.
Mark is a member of the editorial boards of Boydell and Brewer’s ‘Eighteenth Century Studies’ series and of the journal Parliamentary History. He has held numerous posts in his department and University.
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.
Professor Iftikhar H. Malik
Iftikhar H. Malik is Professor-Emeritus at Bath Spa University, where he taught history for 27 years, following his five-year fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Presently, a member the Common Room at Wolfson College in Oxford, his Curating Lived Islam in the Muslim World: British Scholars, Sojourners and the Sleuths with Routledge came out in June 2021.
In November 2022, his The Silk Road and Beyond: Narratives of a Muslim Historian (Oxford University Press, 2020), received the UBL Award for the best non-fiction work in English in Pakistan.
Iftikhar’s other studies include Pashtun Identity and Geopolitics in Southwest Asia: Pakistan and Afghanistan since 9/11 (Anthem, 2016 & 2017); Crescent between Cross and Star: Muslims and the West after 9/11, (OUP, 2006); and Islam and Modernity: Muslims in Western Europe and the United States (Pluto, 2003). Iftikhar was elected to the RHS Council in November 2023.
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.
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 Olwen Purdue
Olwen Purdue is Professor of Modern Social History at Queen’s University, Belfast where she works 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 of public history in divided societies.
Olwen’s publications include The Big House in the North of Ireland: Land, Power and Social Elites, 1870-1960 (2009); The Irish Lord Lieutenancy 1541-1922 (2012); Urban Spaces in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (2018); and The First Great Charity of this Town: Belfast Charitable Society and its Role in the Developing City (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, and an edited collection on Difficult Public Histories in Ireland is due out with Routledge in 2024. Olwen was formerly international editor for The Public Historian and is 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.
Dr Andrew Smith
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, decolonisation, 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 RHS Honorary Secretary between 2021-23.