Linda Colley, CBE, FBA, FRSL, FRHistS (born 13 September 1949) is a historian of Britain, empire and nationalism. She is currently[update] Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University in the United States.
Early life and education
Born in Chester, England, Colley attended Cardiff High School for Girls, was an undergraduate at Bristol University, and completed her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, where she was supervised by John H. Plumb. After holding Fellowships at Girton College and Newnham College, in 1978 she became the first woman Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.
In 1982 Colley accepted a post at Yale University, where she was appointed Richard M. Colgate Professor of History in 1992 and where she was also Academic Director of the Lewis Walpole Library. Her third book, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (1992), won the Wolfson History Prize, and has attracted wide and continuing attention both as a study of the evolution and complexities of British national identities, and as a contribution to understandings of nationalism more broadly. In 1998, Colley was offered a Sterling Professorship, Yale's highest Professorial rank, but declined it in favor of an offer of a Research Chair in England.
That year, she joined the London School of Economics as a Senior Leverhulme Research Professor and as School Professor of History. In 1999, Colley was one of several speakers invited to deliver a Millennium Lecture at 10 Downing Street by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his wife Cherie Blair. This talk, "Britishness in the 21st Century" was subsequently widely referenced by The British Council and other national bodies. From 1999 to 2003, Colley served on the board of the British Library and on the Council of the Tate Gallery.
In 2003, Colley returned to the United States, going to Princeton University as Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professor of History. The previous year, she published Captives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600–1850, an exploration of the underbelly of British empire in this period through the experiences of individual British and Irish captives in Africa, North America and Asia, and in 2007 she published The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History, which The New York Times listed as one of the ten best books of the year. In June 2011 it was announced she would join the professoriate of New College of the Humanities, a private college in London, though she will teach there for just one hour in the first academic year.
Marriage and family
Colley married the British historian David Cannadine in 1982.
Influence and honours
Colley has received honorary degrees from London South Bank University 1998; University of Essex 2004; University of East Anglia 2005; and University of Bristol 2006. Among other major public lectures, she has delivered the Anstey Lectures at the University of Kent 1994; the Trevelyan Lectures at the University of Cambridge and the Wiles Lectures at Queen's University Belfast in 1997; a James Ford Special Lecture and the Bateman Lecture at the University of Oxford in 1998 and 2003; a Raleigh Lecture at the British Academy in 2002; the Chancellor Dunning Trust Lecture at Queen's University in Canada in 2004; a President's Lecture at Princeton University in 2007; and the Gordon B. Hinkley Lecture in British Studies at the University of Utah in 2010. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
- Colley was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours, in which list her husband was knighted.
- In Defiance of Oligarchy: the Tory Party 1714–1760 (1982)
- Crown Pictorial: Art and the British Monarchy (1990)
- Lewis Namier (1989)
- Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837(1992)
- Captives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600–1850 (2002)
- The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh (2007)
- "Honorary graduates: Professor Linda Jane Colley". University of Bristol. 21 July 2006.
- "Winners of the Wolfson History Prize: 1972-2009". Wolfson Foundation.
- "The professoriate", New College of the Humanities, accessed 8 June 2011.
- Vasagar, Jeevan and Booth, Robert. "AC Grayling's private university accused of copying syllabuses", The Guardian, 7 June 2011.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2008.
- The Guardian - Book review of Captives
- Princeton History Department profile
- On Iraq
- Review of The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh in the New York Times
- Ordeal named one of the "Ten Best Books" of 2007
- Works by or about Linda Colley in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Colley archive from The New York Review of Books
- Directory of Fellows of the British Academy
- Writing Constitutions into British History, talk given at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, October, 2009