Max Jones

Max Jones


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Personal profile


 Max Jones

  • PhD, History, University of Cambridge, 2000
  • MA & CPhil, History, University of California at Berkeley, 1993
  • BA (Hons), Modern History, First Class, University of Oxford, 1990
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

I spent my first eighteen years in London, before studying for an undergraduate degree in Modern History at the Queen's College, Oxford. After working as a research assistant for nine months in the House of Commons, I decided to pursue an academic career, and spent three years in the PhD programme of the University of California at Berkeley, before returning to England to work on my doctoral thesis at the University of Cambridge. I joined Manchester in January 2003, having previously been a Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Christ's College, Cambridge. In both my research and teaching, I attempt to combine the traditional training I received at Oxford and Cambridge, with the innovative interdisciplinary approaches I encountered at Berkeley.

Research interests

My research and teaching focus on modern history since 1750, with particular interest in:

  • heroes, heroism, & gender;
  • the Arctic and Antarctic, exploration, technology & empire;
  • the media and celebrity;
  • the cultural history of war.

Although my primary expertise is in British history, I am interested in analysing the networks - European, Imperial, Transatlantic, Global - in which Britons were entangled.

In a number of publications, I have analysed how heroic reputations are constructed and disseminated in order to offer insights into a range of research questions regarding empire, gender, sexuality, the media and the state. My article on the networks which constructed the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen as an explorer-hero after his Fram expedition, 1893-96, was published by the Journal of Modern History in March 2021

I am currently working on four related research projects:

1. A new book for Oxford University Press on the changing forms and functions of British heroes over the last three centuries;

2. The 'debunking' of heroes in different national contexts and on aspects of the heroic, in collaboration with the Heroes Centre at the University of Freiburg. This project arose from a SALC-funded workshop;

3. The use of historical approaches to extend research on psychological responses to extreme environments, in collaboration with Prof. Emma Barrett and Dr Nathan Smith from the School of Social Sciences.

4. The history of regional geographical societies and changing cultures of exploration. 


Research Supervision:

Please email me if you're interested in postgraduate study, or have an idea or a proposal you'd like to discuss.

Postgraduate Research Students - In Progress:

  • George Odysseos: 'Third Worldism and the Mediterranean: The Cypriot Anti-Imperial ‘hub’ and transnational connections to Greece and Britain, c.1950 - 1974'. SALC PhD Studentship. With Prof. Kevin Morgan (Politics).
  • Robert Brown: 'Speed, Celebrity and Heroic Masculinity: Donald Campbell c.1945-1970'. With Dr Aashish Velkar.
  • Alex Spacey: 'The Reception of American Cinema in 1960s Britain'. With Prof. Frank Mort.

PhD Students – Completed:

  • 2021: Simon Browne: 'Masculinities, Heroic Self-Fashioning & Popular Culture: Orde Wingate, David Lloyd Owen and Representations of War'. AHRC CDP Award with Imperial War Museum. With Dr Alexia Yates and Tony Richards (IWM).
  • 2020: Courtney Stickland: 'The Girl Detective in British Culture & Society: Citizenship, Gender, & Girlhood, c. 1910-60'. With Dr Eloise Moss.
  • 2018: Michael Potter: 'Culture, Taste and Contestation in British Television Comedy, 1961-1969'. President's Doctoral Scholarship. With Prof. Frank Mort.
  • 2016: Ian Field: 'The Moors Murders: The Media, Cultural Representations of Ian Brady, Myra Hindley , and the English Landscape, 1965-1967'. With Prof. Frank Mort.
  • 2015: Ed Owens: 'The Media and the Transformation of the British Monarchy, 1932-53'. AHRC-funded. With Prof. Frank Mort.
  • 2014: Kellie Vernon: 'Masculinity & Religion in the Life and Posthumous Reputation of Antarctic Explorer H. R. Bowers, 1902-39'. [Registered for and completed M.Phil.]
  • 2012: Spiros Tsoutsoumpis. ‘Motivation, Masculinity and Everyday Life among SOE Operatives and Greek Resisters, 1941-45’. With Prof. Penny Summerfield.
  • 2011: Ben Anderson. 'The Moral High Ground: Cities, Citizens and Landscape in England and Germany, 1890-1914'. AHRC-funded. With Dr Leif Jerram.
  • 2011: Steven Cunniffe, 'Religion and Empire in Manchester, 1876-1899, with Particular Reference to the Catholic Church'.
  • 2011: Caroline Yorston, 'The Death of Marilyn Monroe and the English Media, 1956-62'. With Dr Julie-Marie Strange.
  • 2010: Ian Boutle, 'Masculinity, National Identity and Modernity: English Land Speed Record Holders, 1907-31'. AHRC-funded. With Prof. Frank Mort.
  • 2007: Charlotte Wildman, 'The Spectacle of Inter-war Manchester and Liverpool: Urban Fantasies, Consumer Cultures, and Gendered Identities'. AHRC-funded. With Prof. Bertrand Taithe.
  • 2003-04: Naoko Kuwata, 'Making Girls Modern: The Introduction of Uniforms for Japanese School Girls, 1914-1939'. Manchester PhD, 2004.
  • 2000-02 Jessica Meyer, 'The First World War and Narratives of Heroic and Domestic Masculinity in Britain, 1915-1937'. Cambridge PhD, 2005.
  • 2000-02 Daniel Coetzee, 'Factors Accounting for Variations in Voluntary Enlistment in Scotland, Aug. 1914 - Dec. 1915'. Cambridge PhD, 2004.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Creative Manchester


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