Labour History Research Unit staff

The Labour History Research Unit is led by Dr Jonathan Davis and Professor Rohan McWilliam, and a number of other research-active staff contribute to the Unit's work.

Jonathan Davis

Dr Jonathan Davis is Director of the LHRU. His research focuses on two areas: the Soviet Union and the Labour Party, and the global changes to politics, economics and society since the 1980s. He has published widely on Labour-Soviet relations during the revolutionary and Stalinist eras as well as the 1980s.

His latest book is The Global 1980s: People, Power and Profit (Routledge, 2019), and he co-edited Labour and the Left in the 1980s (MUP, 2018), contributing a chapter assessing Neil Kinnock's restructuring of the party in light of the changes taking place in Gorbachev’s Soviet Union; The Second Labour Government 1929-1931: a reappraisal (MUP, 2011) with a chapter considering how being in power affected Labour’s relations with the Kremlin; and The British Labour Party and the Wider World: domestic politics, internationalism and foreign policy (I. B. Tauris, 2008; paperback 2012). His chapter in this volume reconsidered Labour's political thought and the Soviet Union in the interwar years. He also contributed a chapter on visits made by Morgan Philips Price and Arthur Henderson to revolutionary Russia to Labour, British radicalism and the First World War (MUP, 2018). All of these these books came out of highly successful conferences held at ARU.

His articles on visits made by a Labour delegation British left-winger to Russia in 1920, and on Walter Citrine's first visit to the Soviet Union made in 1925, were published in Revolutionary Russia (vol. 18, 2005 and vol.26, 2013), ), and he has written on Labour's socialism for Renewal and Scottish Labour's History. He wrote on the 2015 and 2016 Labour leadership campaigns, the centenary of the Russian Revolutions, and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ‘end of history’ for The Conversation.

Rohan McWilliam

Professor Rohan McWilliam is a social and cultural historian who works on nineteenth-century working-class history. Until 2015, he served as President of the British Association for Victorian Studies. An abiding theme in his work is the relationship between popular politics and popular culture.

In terms of Labour history, he has an interest in revisionist and post-revisionist approaches to class and politics, which was a theme of his first book Popular Politics in Nineteenth-Century England (Routledge, 1998). He is the author of The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation (Continuum, 2007) and edited (with Kelly Boyd) The Victorian Studies Reader (Routledge, 2007). His recent articles include 'Back to the Future: E.P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm and the Remaking of Nineteenth Century British History', Social History vol. 19 no. 2 (2014), pp. 149-159. He is reviews editor and a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Victorian Culture. He is also a member of the editorial board of the book series Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies (University Press of New England) and the series New Directions in Social and Cultural History (Bloomsbury).

Mary Joannou

Mary Joannou is Professor of Literary History and Women's Writing at Anglia Ruskin University and is interested in working-class women's writing, autobiography, Chartism, the women's suffrage movement, the history of the Communist Party and the literature and history of the 1930s.

She is a former Convener of the Women's History Network, (a flourishing association which brings together all those interested in women's history inside and outside academia), and has served on the editorial group of Women's History Magazine.

Mary has published on many nineteenth and twentieth-century socialist women writers including Nancy Cunard, who edited the pioneering Negro Anthology in 1934, and has organised colloquia on the liberal-left women writers of the inter-war period including Sylvia Townsend Warner, Winifred Holtby and Storm Jameson and Rosamond Lehmann. She was especially pleased to have been instrumental in bringing Ellen Wilkinson's forgotten novel Clash, set during the General Strike of 1926, back into print and to have co-edited an early edited volume of critical essays on the women's suffrage movement which has recently been reissued.

Richard Carr

Dr Richard Carr is a Research Fellow in History at Anglia Ruskin University. His latest book, One Nation Britain, outlines the historical context of the One Nation agenda, and shows how all three major UK political parties have made a significant contribution to it over the past 1 1/2 centuries. In 2013 he published Veteran MPs and Conservative Politics in the Aftermath of the Great War, which surveys the post-1918 careers of the 448 men who fought in the Great War and subsequently became Tory members of parliament.

In 2013 he co-edited a volume with Dr Bradley Hart titled The Foundations of the British Conservative Party: Essays on Conservatism from Lord Salisbury to David Cameron, which was published by Bloomsbury Academic. His writings for this include essays that touch on Labour's reticence towards the concept of European Union after 1945, and a conclusion which discusses Labour's handling of the economic crisis of 2008. He also contributed an essay to Jon Davis et al's volume on The Second Labour Government and is currently researching a co-authored biography of the Wilson-era minister, Alice Bacon.

Lucy Bland

Professor Lucy Bland is a modern British social and cultural historian, with a particular interest in issues of gender, feminism, race and sexuality. She has written widely in these areas, her publications including Banishing the Beast: English feminism, sexual morality, 1885-1914 (Penguin, 1995, 2nd edition I.B. Tauris, 2002), Sexology in Culture (Polity Press, 1998) and Sexology Uncensored: the documents of sexual science (Polity Press, 1998) (both with Laura Doan), Modern Women on Trial: sexual transgression in the age of the flapper (Manchester University Press, 2013), which considers shifts in gender, race and class in 1920s Britain. Her most recent book is Britain's 'Brown Babies': the stories of children born to black GIs and white women in the Second World War (Manchester University Press, 2019) which has been given a lot of coverage on the radio and TV. She currently has an exhibition of this research touring the country.

She was Principal Investigator for a Leverhulme-funded project on 'Identifying the Parameters of the Women's Liberation Movement, 1970s and '80s' in 2008-09 (working with The Women's Library) and was on the editorial collective of Gender & History, 1990-1997, Feminist Review 1997-2011, the Steering Committee of the Women’s History Network and a co-editor of Women’s History, 2012-16, and is now on the editorial board of Women’s History Review. With Professor Mary Joannou and Dr Lucy Delap she co-organised the conference on Women’s Suffrage and Political Activism in Feb 2018.