Dr Ben Griffin

Lecturer in Modern British History
Dr Ben Griffin

My research is focused on the ways in which gender has shaped political processes in Britain since the late eighteenth century. I am particularly interested in the history of masculinity, and the ways in which changing ideas about masculinity have shaped the behaviour and expectations of political elites. My first book, The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain, argued that changes to women’s rights were not simply the result of changing ideas about women but also changing beliefs about masculinity, religion and the nature of the constitution and, in doing so, it demonstrates how gender inequality can be created and reproduced by the state. The book won the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize 2012 for the best first book on British History.

My current research project is a book called The Gender Order and the Judicial Imagination, which examines how changing ideas about masculinity interacted with new forms of legal knowledge to reshape the gender order in Britain between 1780 and 1940.

I am also interested in historiographical questions about how we might write histories of masculinities and power, something that I wrote about in ‘Hegemonic masculinity as a historical problem’, Gender & History 30.2 (2018)

British political history since the eighteenth century, gender history, the history of masculinities, history of feminism.

I am currently supervising doctoral students working on the history of intimacy in the nineteenth century, girls' political education, Victorian courtship and engagement rituals, the gendering of space in late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century universites, and late-twentieth century diplomatic masculinities.

I teach the papers on British political history since 1688. I also teach a Part II Special Subject on 'Masculinities and politicl culture in Britain, 1832-1901' [not running 2018-19]. I also supervise a large number of Part II dissertations on all aspects of modern British history.


Tags & Themes


Girton College
Huntingdon Road
Cambridge CB30JG


Key Publications

Ben Griffin, 'Paternal rights, child welfare and the law in nineteenth-century Britain and Ireland' (Past & Present, online acess 2019)

Ben Griffin, ‘Hegemonic masculinity as a historical problem’, Gender & History 30.2 (2018)

B. Griffin, ‘Masculinities and parliamentary culture in modern Britain’ in Sean Brady, Christopher Fletcher, Rachel Moss and Lucy Riall, eds., The Palgrave Handbook of Masculinity and Political Culture in Europe (Palgrave, 2018).

Ben Griffin, 'Women's suffrage' in David Craig and James Thompson, eds., Languages of politics: mapping Britain's long nineteenth century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Ben Griffin, The politics of gender in Victorian Britain: masculinity, political culture and the struggle for women's rights (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Ben Griffin, L. Delap and A. Wills, eds., The politics of domestic authority in Britain since 1800 (Palgrave Macmillan, May 2009).

Ben Griffin, 'Class, gender and Liberalism in parliament, 1868-1882: the case of the Married Women’s Property Acts' Historical Journal 46 (2003), pp. 59-87.