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School of History

Professor Gareth Stedman Jones


Professor of the History of Ideas



As a history undergraduate at Oxford I was particularly interested in political thought and economics in the 19th century. My doctoral research concerned casual labour in Victorian London.

I became a History Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge and subsequently Reader and Professor of the History of Political Thought at the University of Cambridge. I was also a founder editor of the History Workshop Journal (link is external).


Research Interests:

My major research interest is the history of British and European political thought from the aftermath of the French Revolution to the First World War.

My aim has been to situate such thought in its particular historical context. I have written on the emergence of social security as solution to problems of poverty from the 1790’s to the 20th century, on the origins of Utopian Socialism, and on the genesis of the Communist Manifesto. I am currently writing an intellectual biography of Karl Marx.

  • Political thought since 1770, concentrating upon the impact and legacy of the French Revolution
  • Marx and nineteenth-century socialism
  • British and European History 1770-1970
  • History of political economy

I am currently working on a history of rights following the French Revolution. A project in the longer term will be a project called The Victorian Enlightenment.


Principal publications

Recent Articles

  • ‘Millennium and Enlightenment: Robert Owen and the Second Coming of the truth’, History of European Ideas, August 2020.
  • ‘Karl Marx and the liberty of the Moderns: An Impossible Marriage?’, pp. 131-143 in La Liberté des Anciens et des Modernes, deux cents ans après Benjamin Constant, Institut Benjamin Constant, Éditions Slatkine, 2020.
  • When would Capitalism End? Karl Marx’s Changing View of History’, in Karl Marx im 21. Jahrhundert: Bilanz und Perspektiven, eds. Martin Endreß/Christian Jansen, Campus Verlag, 2020.
  • ‘Malthus, Nineteenth-century Socialism and Marx’, pp. 91-106 in The Historical Journal, Malthusian Moments, Volume 63 - Special Issue 1 - February 2020.
  • ‘Karl Marx’s Changing Conception of “The Critique of Political Economy”’ in Pablo Sánchez Léon (ed.), Karl Marx y la Crítica de la Economía Política: Contribuciones a una Tradición, Universitas, October 2019.
  • ‘Karl Marx’s Changing Picture of the End of Capitalism’, Journal of the British Academy, July 2018, 187-206.
  • ‘The Current Debate about the Significance of Marx’, Global Intellectual History, 3/3, 7 February 2018, 297-300.
  • ‘Radicalism and the Extra-European World: the case of Marx’ in Victorian Visions of Global Order : Empire and International Relations in Nineteenth Century Political Thought, Cambridge University Press, ed. Duncan Bell, 2008, pp. 186-214
  • ‘The Redemptive Powers of Violence? Carlyle, Marx and Dickens’ in Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and the French Revolution, eds. Colin Jones, Josephine McDonagh & Jon Mee, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp. 41-63
  • ‘Religion and the Origins of Socialism’, in Religion and the Political Imagination, eds. Gareth Stedman Jones and Ira Katznelson, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp.171-189
  • ‘The return of language: radicalism and the British historians 1960-1990’, in  Political Languages in the Age of Extremes, ed. W. Steinmetz, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp.331-349
  • ‘The Young Hegelians, Marx and Engels’, in The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought, eds. Gareth Stedman Jones and Gregory Claeys, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 556-600
  • ‘Il Socialismo nella Storia Religiosa Europea’ (The Place of Socialism in the Religious History of Western Europe), pp. 113-154, in Pensare la Contemporaneità Studi di Storia Italiana ed Europea per Mariuccia Salvati, Viella, Rome, 2011, pp.113-154
  • ‘Scripting the German Revolution – Marx and 1848’, pp. 169-180,  in Scripting Revolution: A Historical Approach to the Comparative Study of Revolutions, eds. Keith M. Baker and Dan Edelstein, Stamford, 2015        

  • ‘L’impossible anthropologie communiste de Karl Marx’, in La Nature du Socialisme. Pensée Sociale et Conceptions de la Nature au XIXe Siècle, eds. Vincent Bourdeau and Arnaud Macé, Presses Universitaires du Franche-Comté, 2017

  • ‘Millennium and Enlightenment: Robert Owen and the Second Coming of Truth’ in Markets, Morals, Politics. Jealousy of Trade and the History of Political Thought, eds. Béla Kapossy, Isaac Nakhimovsky, Sophus A. Reinert and Richard Whatmore, Harvard University Press, 2018

  • ‘Elusive Signifiers: 1848 and the Language of “Class Struggle”, pp. 429-451, in The 1848 Revolutions and European Political Thought, eds. Douglas Moggach and Gareth Stedman Jones, Cambridge, 2018

  • ‘European Socialism from the 1790s to the 1890s’, pp. 196-231, in The Cambridge History of Modern European Thought: Volume I, The Nineteenth Century, eds. Warren Breckman and Peter E. Gordon, Cambridge, 2019

Editorial Positions 


I enjoy supervising PhD students over. a wide range of subject, including 18-19th century political thought, histories of socialism, and British social history. At Cambridge and QMUL I have supervised some 50 PhDs to successful conclusion.

Current PhD Students

  • Conor Bollins - The Eighteenth-Century Population Debate in Relation to Theories of Social and Political Stability
  • Adela Halo - Ending the French Revolution: Madame de Staël and the Birth of Liberalism in France
  • Catherine Hulse - Popular sovereignty, law, and ideology: Rousseau and the French Revolution after the Terror
  • Cathleen Mair - Madame de Staël and the Theory of Emotion

Public Engagement

  • University of Bielefeld, invited guest speaker at the Kolloquium zur Geschichte des 19./20. Jahrhunderts ‘ Back to the Future: Marx and the Village Community’, January 2015
  • The LSE Ralph Miliband Programme "Revolution" public lecture – ‘Karl Marx Greatness and Illusion’, November 2016
  • 10th Annual Indian Economic and Social History Review Lecture 2016, University of Delhi ‘From Post-capitalism to Anti-capitalism: Karl Marx and the Extra-European World’, December 2016
  • The John Burrow Memorial Lecture, University of Sussex “Marx, ‘The Tribune’ and Protectionism”, March 2017
  • Bristol Festival of Ideas ‘Coleridge Lecture , ‘Rediscovering the Nineteenth-Century Marx’, May 2017
  • Annual Istvan Hont Memorial Lecture, Department of History, University of St Andrews, ‘Karl Marx and the Emergence of Social Democracy’, September 2017
  • Edinburgh Festival of Politics : Public lecture on Karl Marx’s Capital – October 2017
  • Vienna Book Festival (Buch Wien 17) : 'Karl Marx – Die Biographie' - an invited lecture at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue, November 2017
  • University Centre St-Ignatius Antwerp Key note lecture: 'What is living and what is dead in Marx's Theory of History?' At a colloquium on the contemporary relevance of Marx (De relevantie van Marx) – November 2017
  • British Academy Master-Mind Lecture ‘Karl Marx’s Changing Picture of the End of Capitalism’ – November 2017
  • University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, The Reception and Influence of the Work of Karl Marx: An International Conference on the 200th Anniversary of his Birth. Opening keynote lecture: 'Theories in Historical Context: Marx’s Changing Conception of the Critique of Political Economy’ – March 2018
  • Hans Böckler Stiftung/ Bergische Universität Wuppertal Keynote address at the conference 'Alles, was ich weiß, ist, daß ich kein Marxist bin! Karl Marx und der Marxismus' about the contemporary legacies of Marx's thought – April 2018
  • Gresham College, London, Karl Marx: 200 Years On – May 2018
  • International Congress at the University of Trier Karl Marx 1818-2018. Constellations, Transformations, Perspectives Keynote: 'When would Capitalism end? Marx's changing view of history?' – May 2018
  • Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm Lecture – University of Waterloo, Ontario ‘When Would Capitalism End? Marx’s Changing Conception of the “Critique of Political Economy”’ – September 2018
  • Maastricht University, Studium Generale, public lecture: 'When did Marx think capitalism would fall?' October 2018
  • University of Haifa, Israel, Haifa Centre for German and European Studies, guest lecture, 'When did Marx think capitalism would fall?' - December 2018
  • Ernst Kossmann Memorial Lecture, University of Groningen – April 2019, 'Marx's Last Utopia: The Rise and Fall of the Village Community'
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