Jonathan Davis

Principal Lecturer, History

Co-Director, Labour History Research Unit

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences

Department:Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: History

Courses taught: History

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Jon is a specialist in 20th-century Russian history. His particular interests are Soviet socialism, the international perception of Russia, and global history since 1980. He is co-director, with Professor Rohan McWilliam, of the Labour History Research Unit (LHRU).

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Before joining Anglia Ruskin University in 2003, Jon lectured at the University of Warwick and De Montfort University, Leicester. He has published on various aspects of Russian and British political history. His work also focuses on wider issues in international history and politics, including left-wing responses to crises in capitalism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Research interests

  • British visits to the USSR
  • Soviet-Labour Party relations
  • Left-wing ideology
  • International history
  • The 1980s

Areas of research supervision

  • Soviet history
  • Democracy in post-Soviet Russia
  • Twentieth century socialism 
  • British Labour history
  • The Cold War 

Jon currently supervises PhDs on the Labour Party and the SDP, the Maltese Labour Party, and the USSR and the origins of the Korean War. 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., forthcming. The Global 1980s. London: Routledge.

Davis, J., forthcoming. Historical Dictionary of the Russian Revolution. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

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

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.

Mikhail Gorbachev and the end of socialism as we knew it. 1991: Crisis in International Socialism symposium, Anglia Ruskin University, December 2011.

From Communism to democracy: Russia after the USSR. Plenary lecture in the Transitions of Power lecture series, History Summer School, University of Cambridge, July 2010.

Perestroika and the British Labour Party. 1989: Crisis in International Socialism symposium, Anglia Ruskin University, November 2009.

From Revolution to Recognition: the Labour Party and Soviet Russia, 1917-24. 34th Annual Conference, Study Group on the Russian Revolution, University of Aberdeen, January 2008.

90 years after October: rethinking the Russian Revolution. Historical Association, Lincoln, September 2007.

The Second Labour Government and the Soviet Union: pragmatism victorious? British International History Group panel, BISA Conference, University of Cork, December 2006.

Walter Citrine and his relationship with Communism. ALSS Research Seminar, Anglia Ruskin University, December 2005.

Defining Labour’s political thought: the Soviet influence 1924-1939. The British Labour Movement and the Wider World Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, July 2004.