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Dr James began his studies at the University of Alberta, in Canada, and received his PhD from the University of Manchester in 1997.  He was a lecturer in History at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester before joining the department of War Studies in 2002.  He is currently the director of the MA in the ‘History of Warfare’, and among his other roles he is a trustee of the ‘British Commission for Maritime History’ and the reviews editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies.

Dr James received a college ‘Teaching Excellence Award’ in 2010 and in 2005 the ‘Best Young Academic Author of the Year’ award for his book on the French Navy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661. He is also the author of The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661 and is currently working on a collaborative study of European navies and warfare and on a critical survey of French sea power from the 1540s to 1815.

Research Interests

  • Imperialism
  • Early modern naval warfare
  • Confessional conflict and state-building
  • Pre-revolutionary France

PhD Supervision

 Dr James is eager to supervise PhD work on any aspect of the following:

  • Western imperialism from the fifteenth century onward; the theory or the practice
  • Naval warfare
  • The relation between military change and early state formation.
  • Pre-Revolutionary France, specifically the political, social, and military history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
  • Early modern maritime empires
  • Early modern warfare

Recent Publications

For a list of Dr Alan James'  publications please see here