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For further information, please visit Ashley Jackson's website

Ashley Jackson is Professor of Imperial and Military History at King’s College London and a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has published widely on aspects of British imperial history, with a special interest in the Empire during times of war and with regional specialisms in the history of Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East. He has also written on the popular culture of the British Empire, the Empire’s built environment, and Winston Churchill, and has contributed entries to the Dictionary of National Biography. His work has been translated into Chinese, German, and Slovakian.

Jackson’s published books (as at January 2020) are:

  • Botswana 1939-1945: An African Country at War (Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • War and Empire in Mauritius and the Indian Ocean (Macmillan, 2001)
  • The British Empire and the Second World War (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2006)
  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen: A Grand Tour of the British Empire at its Height, 1850-1945 (Quercus, 2009)
  • Distant Drums: The Role of Colonies in British Imperial Warfare (Sussex Academic Press, 2010)
  • Churchill (Quercus, 2011)
  • Illustrating Empire: A Visual History of British Imperialism with David Tomkins (Oxford University/Bodleian Library, 2011)
  • The British Empire: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Buildings of Empire (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • The British Empire and the First World War, edited (Routledge, 2015)
  • An Imperial World at War: Aspects of the British Empire’s War Experience, 1939-1945, edited with Yasmin Khan and Gajendra Singh (Routledge, 2016)
  • Persian Gulf Command: A History of the Second World War in Iran and Iraq (Yale University Press, 2018)
  • Of Islands, Ports, and Sea Lanes: The Second World War in Africa and the Indian Ocean (Helion, 2018)
  • Ceylon at War, 1939-1945 (Helion, 2018)

Current major projects include What the War Did to the British Empire (co-authored with Andrew Stewart); ‘Beyond the Battlefield: The Impact of British and American Forces on Overseas Societies’; and Many Worlds at War, an edited collection looking at different countries’ experiences during the Second World War.

Jackson joined the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London in 2004 after eight years as Research Fellow in the Humanities and Director of the Visiting Student Programme at Mansfield College, Oxford, and a brief spell as Lecturer in Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford Brookes University (he was appointed to the junior deanship of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, before withdrawing in favour of the Mansfield position). He completed his British Academy-funded master’s (1993) and doctorate (1996) at New College, Oxford, where he also served as Junior Dean. As a member of King’s Defence Studies Department, Jackson teaches at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, and spent two years as an academic tutor at the Royal College of Defence Studies. He also teaches for Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education.

Jackson has lectured and presented conference and seminar papers at many British and overseas universities, colleges, schools, museums, and other institutions. He has given talks at events such as the Oxford Literary Festival, the Blenheim/Woodstock Literary Festival, the Chalke Valley History Festival, Intelligence Squared live debates, and the inaugural Victoria Cross Day at the National Memorial Arboretum. He regularly presents to societies and friends’ groups such as the Friends of the Bodleian Library, the Friends of the Oxfordshire Museum, the University of the Third Age, and the Prince’s Teaching Institute. He has been invited to address special lecture series such as the BBC History Magazine Lectures at the British Academy, the Royal Over-Seas League and The Round Table centenary lectures, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Diplomatic Academy. He has lectured at the Irish, Kenyan, Nigerian, and Sri Lankan staff colleges, NATO Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon, and the Royal College of Defence Studies, and to numerous British military units including 3 (UK) Division, the Special Air Service, and the British Peace Support Team (East Africa).

Jackson is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and reviews manuscripts and book proposals for leading academic journals and publishers as well as funding bids submitted to the UK and international higher education research councils. Since 2016 he has served on the Academic and International colleges of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College. Since 2000 he has been a regular contributor to Oxford University Department for Continuing Education courses and events, including the Postgraduate Certificate in Historical Studies and the weekly class programme, and has presented special lecture series on the British Empire and the built environment of the British Empire. He is also a supervisor for the Department for Continuing Education’s students studying for the University’s Master of Studies degree.

Jackson sits on the editorial boards of the journal Global War Studies and the Journal of African Military History, and for several years was on the board of the The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, published by Routledge Taylor & Francis. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Helion book series ‘War and Military Culture in South Asia, 1757-1947’. Jackson served on the Development Group that helped create the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, and served as inaugural chair of its Advisory Panel and as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Focus Group for the ‘Queen Victoria’s Journals’ project run by the Bodleian Library, ProQuest, and the Royal Archives, and co-curated the Bodleian Library exhibition ‘The Art of Advertising’ (2020).

Academic administration roles have included external examiner for BA programmes at the universities of Birmingham (2006-09), Sheffield (2010-13), and Leeds (2015-19), and Jackson has examined over a dozen doctoral theses. He was Director of Research for King’s Defence Studies Department (2010-13) and a member of the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy Research Strategy Group. Between 2011 and 2013 he was the REF penholder for the Defence Studies Department as part of the King’s College submission to REF Sub Panel 21 (Politics and International Studies). Between 2014 and 2016 he was Vice Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and sat on several faculty and university committees.

Jackson established the British Empire at War Research Group (, an international scholarly network. He co-convened the joint King’s College London–Oxford Brookes University ‘International and Military Studies’ seminar series (2009-2011) and the Oxford University seminar series ‘New Approaches to the History of the Second World War’ and ‘Empire, Race, and Culture’ (1999-2000). He was co-investigator with Dr Yasmin Khan on the AHRC-funded project ‘Home Fronts of the Empire–Commonwealth: Imperial Connections and Social Transformations during the Second World War’ (2012-14), was the named fund-winner for the Leverhulme Trust early career fellowship that brought Dr Jean Smith to King’s College London (2015-19), and for the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Imperial War Museums that brought Rachel Way to King’s as a PhD student in 2019.


Research Interests

  • British and European Imperial/Colonial History
  • Modern British Military and Naval History
  • The Second World War
  • ‘Wider World’ history, especially Africa, Asia and the Indian Ocean
  • The Commonwealth
  • Contemporary African and Indian Ocean Security
  • Counterinsurgency

MA Special Subjects

  • Africa from Colonization to Independence
  • British Imperial History

Doctoral Supervision

Professor Jackson is happy to offer PhD supervision in the following broad subject areas:

  • Imperial and colonial history
  • Imperial and colonial military history
  • British military and naval history
  • World wars and empire
  • Regional colonial and imperial history (especially in Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East)
  • British foreign and imperial policy.

Prof Ashley Jackson PURE Profile