skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Bill Foster

Dr Bill Foster

Senior Lecturer, Homerton College


I am a British historian educated in Switzerland and hold university degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, and Cambridge. I was formerly Keasbey Fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and have been a Fellow of Homerton since 2007, also serving as Vice-Principal (deputy Head of House), 2013-19. 

Subject groups/Research projects

American History:
Modern European History:

Departments and Institutes

Homerton College:

Research Interests

My research career has focused on the question of how 'enemies' have been constructed and perceived across national and  imperial frontiers. I am especially interested in cultural and political conflict among individuals as a key to understanding larger-scale rivalry and warfare. I have previously written about English converts to Catholicism living in the French Empire, and the first American encounters with the Arab World.  

My current long-term research project is to examine the deep roots of the Russian-American relationship, from the era of Catherine the Great/American Revolution to the end of the Cold War.

I am also involved in a collaborative project on the history of the origins of British imperial thought, looking at the 1,000-year history of a single English family (the Earls Grey of Northumberland). 

Research Supervision

I have supervised numerous research dissertations for single-honours History part II.  I have also begun teaching for the History-Politics part 1B (Historical Project). I supervise as well for the MPhil in Modern European History and for the PhD.



Undergraduate teaching in Part I: papers 18 (modern Europe) and 24 (modern America).

Undergraduate teaching in Part II: In October 2020, I will begin co-teaching a new Specified Subject (with Dr Mark B. Smith) on the long history of Russian-US relations.