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Benjamin Jones


  • 4.29 Arts

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Personal profile


I am a social and political historian of modern Europe with particular interests in class formation, political economy, urban change and the politics of 'race', migration and collective memory. I have published on the working class, housing policy, slum clearance, the British Left, cultural studies, documentary film and the community publishing movement.

My first book, The Working Class in Mid-Twentieth-Century England was positively reviewed in Sociology, American Historical Review, Journal of Modern History, Journal of British Studies, The Historical JournalEconomic History Review, Contemporary British History, Twentieth Century British History, Planning Perspectives,etc.

I have published in History Workshop Journal, Twentieth Century British History, and Cultural and Social History. I have acted as reviewer for The Historical Journal, The Journal of Modern History, Social History, Twentieth Century British History, Cultural and Social History, Urban History, and Labor History. I have also reviewed funding applications for the ESRC.

Current Research
I am currently working on three projects with colleagues at the Universities of Sussex, Brighton and East Anglia.

  1.  Activism, the Left and Social Movements, 1945 - present.
    This network brings together UEA colleagues from history, politics (PPL) and literature (LDC) alongside historians, sociologists and activists from across Europe and the USA.
    Our first event will be a two day conference at UEA on 13 14 February 2016.
  2. The New Left, Community Action and Race Relations in Britain, c. 1958 – 1976
    With Camilla Schofield (UEA) I have given papers on our joint research at the University of Washington (Georgetown) and UCL. In summer 2016 we will be hosting the SPUD network of urban historians, planners and sociologists at UEA.
  3. Queering Colin MacInnes and Ray Gosling This project, undertaken with Lucy Robinson (Sussex) explores the political work and writings of two key figures in post-war Gay activism. Our work is forthcoming with Palgrave in 2017.

Prior to joining UEA in 2012 I held fellowships at the Universities of Sussex, London and York and was an ESRC post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester. While at CRESC Andy Miles and I co- organised a one day workshop ‘Proletariat to Precariat?’ with brought together leading scholars of class formation and urban change, including Mike Savage, Kirsteen Paton, Douglas Robertson, Ben Rogaly and Geoff Bright. I am a member of the Working Class Studies Association (USA) and former Executive Committe Member of the Social History Society (UK). 

Community Engagement
From 2004-2009 I was founding treasurer and committee member of the East Brighton Bygones history society, which was set up on the Whitehawk estate. We received funding from the New Deal for Communities and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2010/11 I was the consultant historian on the HLF funded Brighton Unemployed Families Centre project ‘Tarner Stories - migration and urban change'.
I am the outreach officer for the school of history and am currently working with various faith organisations and community groups on projects to connect students with communities in Norwich and beyond.

Research Students

Diana Arsenau-Powell  ‘Inequality in Britain, c. 1911-2011 – an interdisciplinary study’ (Primary supervisor)

Gemma Roe  'Women, community activism & feminism in the Miner's Strike, 1984-5, Notts and S. Yorks compared' (Primary supervisor)

Zoe Mitchell 'Suppression as motivation', Violent opposition and political action in Northern Ireland, the People's Democracy and NICRA, c. 1967-1973

Teaching Interests

I mainly teach modern European (including British and Irish) history at undergraduate and MA levels. I also teach twentieth century  US history in the context of the social and political movements of the 1960s and 1970s. I have particular interests in memory studies, urban history, the history of sexuality, class studies and political activism.

I am especially keen to hear from postgraduate and potential doctoral students who are interested in the above!  

With Dr Matthew Taunton (LDC) I co-teach the 2nd year module 'The Writing of History' in which we explore historical and literary methods and different theoretical approaches to things like Mass Observation and the Popular Front, Migration and Home and Pirates and Outlaws.  

I teach the third year special subject Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll? The long Sixties, 1956-1976

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment 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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions