Jonathan Davis

Senior Lecturer, History

Co-Director, Labour History Research Unit

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: History

Courses taught: History

Jon is a specialist in 20th-century Russian history, particularly the Soviet era. He is also interested in the Cold War, global history since 1980 and Labour history. He is Co-Director, with Professor Rohan McWilliam, of the Labour History Research Unit (LHRU).


Before joining Anglia Ruskin University in 2003, Jon lectured at the University of Warwick and De Montfort University, Leicester. He teaches modules on the Soviet Union, the Great Depression and the world wars, and the Cold War and has published widely on various aspects of Russian and British political history. He is currently writing a global history of the 1980s for Routledge and a historical dictionary of the Russian Revolution for Scarecrow Press. His next book, co-edited with Professor Rohan McWilliam, is Labour and the Left in the 1980s and will be published by Manchester University Press in 2017.

Research interests

  • Labour-Soviet relations
  • Labour's socialism
  • International history
  • The 1980s

Areas of research supervision

  • Soviet history
  • Twentieth century socialism
  • British Labour history
  • The Cold War

Jon currently supervises PhDs on the Labour Party and the SDP, Stalin and the origins of the Korean War, Vladimir Putin’s political use of Russian history, political comedy in the 1980s and the Maltese Labour Party. He welcomes applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the areas of Soviet, Labour and Cold War history.


  • PhD Anglo-Soviet History, De Montfort University, Leicester
  • MsocSc Russian and East European Studies, CREES, University of Birmingham
  • BA (Hons) History and Politics, De Montfort University, Leicester

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Study Group on the Russian Revolution
  • British International History Group

Selected recent publications

Davis, J. 'Russia's war and revolutions as seen by Morgan Philips Price and Arthur Henderson' in Bland, L. and Carr, R. (eds) Labour, British Radicalism and the First World War, Manchester University Press, February 2018.

Davis, J. and McWilliam, R. (eds) Labour and the left in the 1980s, Manchester University Press, December 2017.

Davis, J., 'The Zinoviev Letter', 2017. Modern History Review, April, Volume 19, Number 4.

Davis, J., 'Labour Leadership election: meet the candidates', The Conversation, 22 July 2016. 

Davis, J., 'Everything you need to know about the Labour leadership contenders', The Conversation, 15 June 2015. 

David, J., 2013.People before profit: Labour’s ethical past and its response to the latest crisis in capitalism. Renewal, 21(4).

Davis, J., 2013. An outsider looks in: Walter Citrine’s first visit to the Soviet Union, 1925. Revolutionary Russia, 26(2).

Davis, J., 2013. A New Socialist Influence: British Labour and Revolutionary Russia, 1917-1918. Scottish Labour History, 48.

Davis, J., 2013. Nicholas II and Lenin: genuine reformers or desperate reactionaries? 20th century history review, September.

Shepherd, J., Davis, J. and Wriglet, C. (Eds.), 2012. ‘Introduction’ with John Shepherd and ‘Labour and the Kremlin’. Britain’s Second Labour Government, 1929-31: a reappraisal. Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Corthorn, P. and Davis, J. (Eds.), 2008 (paperback 2012). Labour's Political Thought: the Soviet influence in the interwar years. The British Labour Party and the wider world: domestic politics, internationalism and foreign policy. London: I B Taurus.

Davis, J., 2008. Stalin: From Grey Blur to Great Terror. Abingdon: Hodder Education/Philip Allan Updates.

Davis, J., 2005. Khrushchev and de-Stalinisation. 20th century history review, September.

Davis, J., 2005. Left out in the Cold: British Labour witnesses the Russian Revolution. Revolutionary Russia, 18(1).

Recent presentations and conferences

"‘A new star of hope has risen over Europe': British Labour and the Russian Revolutions', opening keynote, 'Must Britain Travel the Moscow Road?' Conference, British Library, July 2017

'From the local to the global: the changing world in the 1980s', Plenary Lecture, History Summer School, University of Cambridge, July 2017

'New Labour to now', Labour’s shifting sands lecture series, LRHU, Anglia Ruskin University, November 2016

"'The 'long' 1980s and the end of the ‘short’ twentieth century', ALSS Research Seminar, Anglia Ruskin University, November 2016

'From Gorbachev to Putin: 25 years of democracy building in Russia', Plenary Lecture, History Summer School, University of Cambridge, July 2016

'Stalin: Good for the country, bad for the people', Plenary Lecture, History Summer School, University of Cambridge, July 2015

"Neil Kinnock's perestroika: Labour and the Soviet influence', Labour in the 1980s conference, Anglia Ruskin University, November 2014

Russia’s war and revolution as seen by Morgan Phillips Price and Arthur Henderson. The Labour Party and the First World War conference, Anglia Ruskin University, May 2014.

'A quick but vivid glimpse of a quite new world': British socialists in Stalin’s Russia. BASEES Conference, Churchill College, Cambridge, April 2014.

Hands off Russia! British Labour and the Russian Civil War. History of Activism research seminar, Northumbria University, April 2013.

Seeing Red: British socialists visit revolutionary Russia. International History Research seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, October 2012.