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Professor Jon Parry

Professor Jon Parry

Professor of Modern British History

Director of Studies in History, Pembroke College

Pembroke College
Cambridge CB2 1RF

Subject groups/Research projects

Modern British History:

Departments and Institutes

Pembroke College:

Research Interests

The history of British politics and political ideas in the nineteenth century.  As far as domestic politics are concerned, my main interests include: the history of Liberalism; the relationship between religion and politics; debates about English national identity and about aspects of the English past; the relationship between the monarchy and politics; the history of mountaineering in the nineteenth century. 

I also have research interests in British attitudes to nineteenth-century European politics and culture, and especially to the Middle East, and I plan to focus on the latter over the next few years.  I aim to write a book on aspects of the political, cultural, religious and literary interaction between Britain and the Asian parts of the Ottoman Empire between 1830 and 1870.  I have recently published an article on steam, the British and Baghdad, 1820-60.

Research Supervision

Aspects of nineteenth-century Britain, primarily: British parliamentary politics; debates about domestic and foreign policy issues; British attitudes to European and Middle Eastern politics, culture and travel.


My mainstream Part I teaching covers all aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British political history.  I have also taught several more specialised undergraduate courses at various times.  My current Special Subject is called 'The British and the Middle East, c 1830-c 1865'.  Past courses include 'The British and Europe, 1815-1906', 'Democracy in theory and practice: an Anglo-American perspective', and 'Culture Wars in mid-Victorian England 1848-59'.

Other Professional Activities

I am also Director of the Isaac Newton Trust.

Key Publications

  • Democracy and Religion: Gladstone and the Liberal party, 1867-1875 (Cambridge, 1986)
  • The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain (Yale 1993)
  • The Politics of Patriotism: English Liberalism, national identity and Europe 1830-1886 (Cambridge, 2006)
  • Benjamin Disraeli (Oxford, 2007)
  • Parliament and the Church, 1529-1960 (ed. with Stephen Taylor, 2000)
  • 'Disraeli and England', Historical Journal (2000)
  • 'The impact of Napoleon III on British politics, 1851-1880', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (2001)
  • ‘Liberalism and liberty’, in Liberty and Authority in Victorian Britain, ed. P. Mandler (Oxford, 2007)
  • 'Whig monarchy, Whig nation: Crown, politics and representativeness, 1880-2000', in The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the present, ed. A. Olechnowicz (Cambridge, 2007)
  • 'The decline of institutional reform in nineteenth-century Britain', in Structures and Transformations in Modern British History, ed. D . Feldman and J. Lawrence (Cambridge, 2011)
  • 'Steam power and British influence in Baghdad, 1820-1860', Historical Journal (March 2013)