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Dr Jonathan Davis

Associate Professor

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Humanities and Social Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Research Supervision:

Jon is a specialist in 20th-century Russian history, particularly the Soviet era. He is also interested in twentieth century international history, particularly the Cold War, global history since 1980 and Labour history. He is Director of the Labour History Research Unit (LHRU).

[email protected]


Before joining Anglia Ruskin University in 2003, Jon lectured at the University of Warwick and De Montfort University, Leicester. He teaches undergraduate modules on the Soviet Union, Europe between 1914 and 1945, and the Cold War. He also teaches a module on modern global history on our MA History degree.

Jon has published widely on various aspects of modern international and Labour history. His latest book is the Historical Dictionary of the Russian Revolution (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

He has published two books on the 1980s: The Global 1980s: People, Power and Profit (Routledge, 2019), and Labour and the Left in the 1980s (MUP, 2018), co-edited with Professor Rohan McWilliam. His chapter in this examined Neil Kinnock’s reforms to the Labour party in light of the changes in the Soviet Union.

Jon also co-edited The Second Labour Government 1929-1931: a reappraisal (MUP, 2011), contributing a chapter on Anglo-Soviet relations, and The British Labour Party and the Wider World: domestic politics, internationalism and foreign policy (I. B. Tauris, 2008; paperback 2012). His chapter here examined the influence of Soviet socialism on Labour’s ideology.

His book Stalin: From Grey Blur to Great Terror (Abingdon: Hodder Education/Philip Allan Updates) was published in 2008. He has also written articles for Revolutionary Russia, Renewal, Scottish Labour History and Modern History Review.

Research interests

  • Labour-Soviet relations
  • Labour's socialism
  • International history
  • The 1980s

Areas of research supervision

  • Soviet history
  • Twentieth century socialism
  • British Labour history
  • The Cold War

Jon has successfully supervised three PhDs (on the Labour Party and the SDP; Stalin and the origins of the Korean War; and Vladimir Putin’s political use of Russian history), and he is currently supervising a thesis on the Maltese Labour Party. He welcomes applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the areas of Soviet, Labour and Cold War history.


Jon currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Russia: Revolution and Reaction
  • Europe in the Age of the First World War
  • Capitalism in Crisis: the Depression and War in Europe
  • The Cold War: the World Divided
  • MA module: Going Global: Making the Modern World, 1979-1999


  • PhD Anglo-Soviet History, De Montfort University, Leicester
  • MsocSc Russian and East European Studies, CREES, University of Birmingham
  • BA (Hons) History and Politics, De Montfort University, Leicester

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Study Group on the Russian Revolution
  • British International History Group
  • Senior Fellow, HEA

Selected recent publications

Davis, J. Historical Dictionary of the Russian Revolution, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

Davis, J. 'History didn’t end with the fall of the Berlin Wall – but only now is the new battleground clear', The Conversation, 6 November 2019

Davis, J. The Global 1980s: People, Power and Profit, Routledge, 2019

Davis, J. 'The Communist Manifesto', Modern History Review, February 2019, Volume 21, Number 3.

'Neil Kinnock’s perestroika: Labour and the Soviet influence' and 'Introduction' in Davis, J. and McWilliam, R. (eds) Labour and the left in the 1980s, Manchester University Press, 2018

Davis, J. 'Russia's war and revolutions as seen by Morgan Philips Price and Arthur Henderson' in Bland, L. and Carr, R. (eds) Labour, British Radicalism and the First World War, Manchester University Press, 2018

Davis, J. '"A new star rises over Europe": what British Labour thought about the Russian Revolution', The Conversation, 6 November 2017

Davis, J. 'The Zinoviev Letter', 2017. Modern History Review, April, Volume 19, Number 4

Recent presentations and conferences

'1989: Why the Wall Fell', Festival of Ideas, Anglia Ruskin University, October 2019.

'Saviour or blundering surgeon? How should we remember Mikhail Gorbachev?', History Summer School, University of Cambridge, July 2019.

'1989: the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe', Hills Road History Conference, Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge, July 2019.

'Searching for Truth in Russia: Walter Citrine's Soviet Visits in the Interwar Years', TUC 150th Anniversary: 'Walter Citrine and the Changing International Environment, 1920-1945', BUIRA History of Industrial Relations Study Group, University of Westminster, October 2018.

'Labour and the left in the 1980s: a reassessment', Wolfson College Humanities Society, Wolfson College, Cambridge, May 2018.

'Socialism after Communism: the left in the 1990s', 'The Third Way: new perspectives on the Blair-Clinton era', Anglia Ruskin University, March 2018

'Eight months that shook the world: Russia's revolutions, 1917', Bedfordshire Historical Association, November 2017.

'"A new star of hope has risen over Europe": British Labour and the Russian Revolutions', one day workshop on 'The Centenary of 1917: Year of Two Revolutions in Russia', University of Keele, October 2017.

'For Peace and Socialism: British Labour's response to the Russian Revolutions', 'The Russian Revolutions: 100 years on' symposium, Anglia Ruskin University, October 2017.

'Eight months that shook the world: Russia's revolutions, 1917', Essex Historical Association, September 2017.

'"A new star of hope has risen over Europe": British Labour and the Russian Revolutions', opening keynote, 'Must Britain Travel the Moscow Road?' Conference, British Library, July 2017.

'From the local to the global: the changing world in the 1980s', Plenary Lecture, History Summer School, University of Cambridge, July 2017.

Media experience

  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
  • BBC Radio Essex
  • Radio Essex
  • Acted as a consultant for Two Halves Pictures on the proposed television series 'The Rise of Stalin'.