Linda Colley

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Linda Colley
Born (1949-09-13) 13 September 1949 (age 65)
Occupation Historian
Nationality British

Linda Colley, CBE, FBA, FRSL, FRHistS (born 13 September 1949) is a historian of Britain, empire and nationalism. She is currently Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University in the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

Linda Colley was born in Chester in North West England in 1949. She attended Cardiff High School for Girls then took her first degree in history at Bristol University before completing a doctorate on the Tory Party in the eighteenth century at the University of Cambridge. She subsequently held Fellowships at Girton and Christ's Colleges, and also a joint lectureship in history at Newnham and King's Colleges.[1]


Linda Colley is currently Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University in the United States. She previously held Chairs in history at Yale University and the London School of Economics, and she was the first woman Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge where she is now an Honorary Fellow.

Linda Colley's books include In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714–1760 (1982), Namier (1988), Captives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600–1850 (2002) and The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History (2007), which was named by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year. Her third book, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (1992), won the Wolfson History Prize,[2] 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 favour of an offer of a Research Chair in England. Her work has been translated into ten languages.

In 1999 she was invited by the, then, Prime Minister Tony Blair to deliver the Prime Minister's Millennium Lecture at 10 Downing Street on 'Britishness of the 21st Century'. Among other scholarly and public lectures, she has delivered the Trevelyan Lectures at Cambridge University (1997), the Wiles Lectures at Queen's University, Belfast (1997), a James Ford Special Lecture and the Bateman Lectures at Oxford University (1998 and 2003), the Nehru Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics (2003), the Lewis Walpole Memorial Lecture at Yale University (2000), the Carnochan Lecture at Stanford University (1998) and the President's Lecture at Princeton University in 2007. As well as The Annual ISEHR Lecture, University of Delhi, 2011; the Jon Sigurossen Memorial Lecture, University of Iceland, 2012 and the Margaret Macmillan Lecture in International History, University of Toronto, 2013.

Her most recent book was Acts of Union and Disunion, which was based on a 15-part BBC Radio 4 series broadcast in January 2014 ahead of the Scottish Independence Referendum and which examines out what has held the United Kingdom together – and what might drive it apart.

Colley has served on the Board of the British Library (1999–2003), the Council of Tate Gallery of British Art (1999–2003), and on the Board and Trustees of Princeton University Press (2007–12), and is a member of the British Museum's Research Committee.

Colley also writes occasionally for The Guardian and for the London Review of Books.

Influence and honours[edit]

Below is a list of honours and awards bestowed upon Linda Colley:


  • In Defiance of Oligarchy: the Tory Party 1714–1760 (1982)
  • Lewis Namier (1988)
  • Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837(1992)
  • Captives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600–1850 (2002)
  • The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh (2007)
  • Taking Stock of Taking Liberties (2008) published in connection with an exhibition she guest-curated at the British Library
  • Acts of Union and Disunion (2014)


  1. ^ "Honorary graduates: Professor Linda Jane Colley". University of Bristol. 21 July 2006. 
  2. ^ "Winners of the Wolfson History Prize: 1972–2009" (PDF). Wolfson Foundation. 
  3. ^ [1]

External links[edit]