Emily Jones

Emily Jones


  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, Samuel Alexander Building S2.18

    M13 9PL Manchester

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research interests

My principal research interests are in the intellectual and political history of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. My current work analyses the development of ideas about ‘C/conservatism’ as an intellectual and political tradition.

My first monograph, Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual History, examined the posthumous career of Edmund Burke (1730-97) in Britain – i.e. his transformation from Whig politician to ‘founder of conservatism’. This was not simply the story of the formative period in which Burke became a canonical political thinker, but the process by which a distinctive intellectual and political tradition – ‘Burkean conservatism’ – was constructed, established, and widely circulated by 1914. The book therefore covers a wide range of topics from constitutional politics and higher thought, to conceptions of national character, publishing history, and the ways in which Burke was both taught and read. It was a Talking Politics and Financial Times 2017 'summer read', and was named a 'best book of 2017' by the Financial Times and History Today. In July 2018 the book won the Longman-History Today Prize.

More recent work has explored further aspects of Conservative and Unionist political thought in Britain, c. 1880-1950, and the history of constitutionalism (popular, political, and in higher thought) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which Conservative and Unionist men and women were increasingly using print media to articulate their political principles, as well as the construction of other significant strands of thought at the turn of the twentieth century. The first fruits of this research were published, Open Access, in the April 2019 issue of the English Historical Review: 'Constructive Constitutionalism in Conservative and Unionist Political Thought, c.1885-1914', and I uncovered the origins of the adoption of the terms 'left' and 'right' in Britain in the forthcoming BRILL volume, Cosmopolitan Conservatisms (2021).

I am on research leave for the academic year 2022-23 to complete my current monograph, One Nation: The Disraeli Myth and the Making of a Conservative Tradition, which will be published by Princeton University Press. The book will present the first satisfying, systematic account of the invention of ‘One Nation’ conservatism as a political (capital-‘C’) and intellectual (small-‘c’) tradition. Now embedded in school syllabuses as well as the rhetoric of Conservative writers and politicians, ‘One Nation’ and its 'Founding Father', Benjamin Disraeli, are invoked to signal a holistic, socially minded brand of conservatism seeking to remedy social grievances and place its trust in the people. My book traces the complex ways in which modern ideologies are shaped and remade thanks to a substantial cast of players within Britain and North America— political actors, journalists, filmmakers, playwrights, historians, lecturers. The result was a significant global construct that ensured the considerable and longstanding place ‘One Nation’ still has within conservatism today.


I began my academic career with a Masters degree in Modern British and European History at the University of Oxford in 2010, having graduated from the University of Manchester that year. I stayed at Oxford to complete my DPhil, also in History, fully funded by the AHRC. I went on to a Research Fellowship at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge (2015-2017) where I published Edmund Burke and the Invention of Modern Conservatism, 1830-1914: An Intellectual History (Oxford University Press, 2017; paperback 2019), which won the 2018 Longman-History Today Book Prize. In 2017 I was appointed Lecturer in Modern British History at Columbia University, but, after a whirlwind year in NYC, I was very happy to return to Manchester in September 2018 in my new role as Lecturer in Modern British History.

I have also written and reviewed for the Financial Times, the New Statesman, and History Today, and provided various radio commentary, including for BBC Radio 4, ABC Australia, and ORF Austria.


HIST 10101 History in Practice

HIST 10191 Imperial Nation: The Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902

HIST 20181 Making of the Modern Mind: European Intellectual History in a Global Context

HIST 31892 'Brains and Numbers': Intellectual Life in Nineteenth-Century Britain

HIST 60041 Re-making Modern British History

HIST 64392 Boundaries of the Political

HIST 64021 Historical Research 1

Supervision information

I currently have four PhD students, and I welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested the political and intellectual history of modern Britain. 


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