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Jackson, Professor Ashley

Professor Ashley Jackson

Contact Details


Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 788826

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 Ashley 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.


Ashley Jackson is Professor of Imperial and Military History at King’s College London and a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford. 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 and the Indian Ocean region. He has also written on the popular culture of the British Empire, the Empire's built environment, and Winston Churchill. He joined the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London in 2004 after eight years as a Research Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford, and a brief spell as Lecturer in Imperial and Commonwealth History at Oxford Brookes University. He completed his British Academy-funded master’s (1993) and doctorate (1996) at New College, Oxford, where he also served as Junior Dean. Jackson’s published books 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, 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 (London: 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)

Jackson has lectured and presented conference and seminar papers at many British and overseas universities, colleges, schools, and museums. He has also given talks at events such as the Oxford Literary Festival, the Woodstock Literary Festival, the Chalke Valley History Festival, and Intelligence Squared live debates. 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, the Prince’s Teaching Institute, and to special lecture series such as the BBC History Magazine Lectures at the British Academy and the commemorative lectures marking the centenaries of the Royal Over-Seas League and The Round Table (2010). He has lectured at the Kenyan, Nigerian, and Sri Lankan staff colleges and NATO Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon, as well as to numerous British military units including 3 (UK) Division and the Special Air Service. His media work has included appearances on BBC One’s ‘Empire’ presented by Jeremy Paxman (2011), BBC Four’s ‘Masterpieces of the East’ (2008), and BBC Radio 3’s ‘Night Waves’ (2009). He has been widely consulted by newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times, BBC Radio Four’s ‘The Today Programme’, and acted as historical consultant for Modern Television’s BBC Two programme ‘Destination Burma’ presented by Griff Rhys Jones (2013).

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 higher education research councils. Since 2000 he has been a regular contributor to Oxford University Department of 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 on the editorial boards of the American journal Global War Studies and the British journal The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, published by Routledge Taylor & Francis. He has contributed entries to the Dictionary of National Biography and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust.

Jackson’s academic administration roles have included external examiner at Birmingham University and Sheffield University, and he has examined numerous doctoral theses. He was Director of Research for King’s Defence Studies Department (2010-13) and a member of the Faculty of Social Science & 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). He represents the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy on the King’s College Mentoring Working Group.

Jackson convenes 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 ‘New Approaches to the History of the Second World War’ (1999). He is 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).  He is a member of the Development Group and the Academic Advisory Panel of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust museum project.

For online interviews with Ashley Jackson on working as an historian, see the ‘Featured Scholar’ interview with the British Scholar Society (

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