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Dr John Slight

Dr John Slight

Affiliated Researcher, Faculty of History, Cambridge

Lecturer in Modern History, The Open University

Subject groups/Research projects

World History:

Research Interests

The British empire in the Middle East

Arabia and the Middle East during the First World War

The relationship between British imperialism and Islam

Future projects include British littoral imperialism in the Red Sea, British imperial policies and the global expansion of Islam, and British military bases in the Middle East


  • Part I, Paper 21: Empires and World History, c.1400-1914
  • Part I, Paper 23: World History since 1914
  • Part II dissertations on Middle Eastern and British imperial history
  • MPhil World History

Other Professional Activities

  • Co-founder and co-convenor of the Cambridge Middle East History Group 2011-2016
  • Research Consultant for British Museum's 2012 exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam (140,000 visitors)
  • Member of Advisory Board for British Museum's 2012 exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam


  • Imperial History

Key Publications

  • The British Empire and the Hajj, 1865-1956 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015)
  • Winner of the triennial Trevor Reese Memorial Prize in Imperial history

Other Publications

  • ‘Reactions to the Ottoman jihad fatwa in the British empire, 1914-1918’ in J. Kitchen and R. Johnson (eds.), The Great War in the Middle East (London: Routledge, 2019)

  • ‘Anglo-French connections and co-operation against ‘Islamic’ resistance, 1914-1917’, in J. Fichter (ed.), British and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Connected Empires across the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries​ (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

  • 'Global War and its impact on the Gulf States, 1914-1918', War and Society, 37:1, 2018, 21-37
  • 'British colonial knowledge and the Hajj', in U. Ryad (ed.), Europe and the Hajj in the age of empire (Leiden: Brill, 2016)
  • 'Pilgrimage to Mecca by British converts to Islam in the interwar period', in R. Natvig and I. Flaskerud (eds.), Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2017)
  • 'British Imperial rule and the Hajj', in D. Motadel (ed.), Islam and the European Empires (Oxford: The Past and Present Series, Oxford University Press, 2014), 53-72
  • 'British understandings of the Sanussiyya Sufi order’s jihad against Egypt, 1915-17', The Round Table, 2014, 103:2, 233-242, republished in A. Jackson (ed.), The British Empire and the First World War (London: Routledge, 2015)
  • 'The Hajj and the Raj: from Thomas Cook to Bombay's Protector of Pilgrims', in V. Porter and L. Saif (eds.), Hajj: Collected Essays (London: British Museum Research Publications, 2013), 115-121
  • 'Early photographers of the Hajj' and 'Hajj Travel Narratives' in V. Porter, (ed.), Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam (London: The British Museum Press, 2012), 208, 282-3
  • 'British and Somali views of Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's jihad, 1899-1920', Bildhaan: an international journal of Somali studies, 2011, 10, 16-35
  • 'British perceptions and responses to Sultan Ali Dinar of Darfur, 1915-16', The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 2010, 38:2, 237-260