Patricia Clavin appointed as the new Professor of Modern History

Professor Patricia Clavin

The Faculty of History is proud and excited to welcome Patricia Clavin as the new Professor of Modern History, with a Professorial Fellowship at Worcester College. She is an international historian with an  international reputation, who has done sterling work for the Faculty over the last twenty years and will use her strategic role to promote research and teaching of the highest order.

Patricia says she is thrilled about her new role in the Faculty, and delighted to be joining Worcester College. ‘It was the first College I stepped foot in at Oxford’, she says. ‘As a graduate student at King’s College, London, I was invited to help Asa Briggs, who was then its Provost, finish writing a history of Modern Europe since 1789. It was a surreal and incredible experience. Like now, the job market was tough and Asa worried I wouldn’t find what he called a “proper job”. I like to think he’d approve of this one.’

Patricia’s expertise is in international, transnational, global and economic history. Her Securing the World Economy. The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946  (OUP, 2013) explored both institutions and networks of expertise. Her current work, Unsustainable. A History of Human Security, supported by a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, develops the field of health care and nutrition, living and working conditions as a subject of international policy and action, not least by women. Students will be familiar with her article ‘Defining Transnationalism’ in Contemporary European History (2005), the most-cited article of the journal.

A further dimension of her internationalism is international collaboration. She has co-edited  Internationalism: A Twentieth-Century History with Glenda Sluga (CUP, 2017) and John Maynard Keynes and the Economic Consequences of the Peace after a Hundred Years with Adam Tooze and others (CUP, 2022). At the moment she is working on a research project ‘Histories and Futures of Global Order’ coordinated under the aegis of OxfordBerlin, and a history of food law and policy, based on collaboration with colleagues in Berlin and the Norwegian Technical University.

Patricia has a very powerful international profile. She is a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and has held visiting professorships and fellowships in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Oslo, the EUI in Florence and Sydney. Currently, she’s an Associated Researcher of the Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2016.

Closer to home, Patricia has contributed significantly to raising the research profile of the History Faculty. She was research director of what is now the European History Research Centre and as Director of Research in the Faculty organised research workshops and advised colleagues on individual and collaborative research projects. On the teaching front for the Faculty, she helped develop the first-year option ‘1919: Remaking the World’, and taught across a range of Europe and the World, and British History papers. At the graduate level she has run the MSt/MPhil course on ‘The Pursuit of Peace and ‘Europe in the Twentieth Century’. 

Patricia is a superb communicator. She presented The Cult of King Tut on Radio 4 to accompany the London exhibition of the treasures of Tutankhamun’s treasures in 2019-20, a Radio 4 programme on the 1918 Armistice in 2019 and delivered the 2019 Ben Pimlott Memorial Lecture on ‘Britain and the Making of the Global order after 1919’.

This is a special moment for the History Faculty for one more reason. The chair of Modern History was founded in 1947 but Patricia is the first woman to hold the chair, following E.L. Woodward, R.B. Wernham, Richard Cobb, Norman Stone and Robert Gildea. This appointment means that for the first time also women hold the Regius Professorship of History, the Chichele Professorship of Medieval History and the Professorship of Modern History in the History Faculty. Truly a moment to celebrate.