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Professor Joanna Innes

Professor of Modern History, Senior Research Fellow
Faculty of History

I grew up in Britain and in the US. I studied at Cambridge, and was a tutorial fellow at Somerville for 36 years, 1982-2018. I hold the title of Professor of Modern History from the university, and continue to supervise graduate students.

I am interested in government, society and ideas, in Britain, Europe and the larger European world, between the later seventeenth and mid nineteenth centuries. More specifically, my research and writing has two main strands. One concerns developments in British, especially English social policy during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: my monograph Inferior Politics pulls together some of writings on that topic. In addition, for about fifteen years I have been running an international collaborative project about changing attitudes to and practices associated with democracy in Europe and both Americas in the same period. We have published two books arising from that project, and are now at work on a third, which focusses on Latin America and the Caribbean.

I see the academic study of history as a collaborative exercise, and have been involved in collaborative projects throughout my career.

Between 1990 and 2000 I was co-editor of Past and Present; I am now chair of that journals editorial board. I’m also on the boards of several other English and French-language history journals. I have spent several periods teaching or researching abroad: in Australia, Germany, Japan and France.

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