Dr. Luke Blaxill
Historian of British Politics and Monarchy, 1750-present
I am Dr. Luke Blaxill, a historian of modern British political history, c.1750-present, based at University of Oxford. I am also interested in the modern British Monarchy, and the Digital Humanities. I am the author of the War of Words and seventeen other chapters and articles. I appear sometimes on TV and Radio in documentaries, discussion shows, and News. I specialise in:
* British Politics of all kinds
* The British Monarchy
* The Conservative, Liberal, and Labour Parties
* Political Language and Communication
* Digital Humanities, esp. Text Mining/ big data methods
* Women in Politics, 1945-present
I am also the lead author and director of the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding, which has sold over 500,000 copies and licences and is used by the majority of UK Universities.
I am a modern historian of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century British Politics based at University of Oxford, where I am currently Stipendiary Lecturer at Hertford and Exeter Colleges. I have held previous posts at Durham, Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin, and King's College London. I specialise in the history of political parties, elections and psephology, ideology, and political language and communication. I am also interested in women in British politics since 1945, and the modern British Monarchy and Constitution more generally.interested in the author of the War of Words, a 342 page monograph on Victorian and Edwardian British politics - especially the development of political speeches and communication - which has been praised as 'groundbreaking' and 'seminal' in peer reviews. I have been featured on TV and Radio documentaries including for BBC Radio 4, the Yesterday channel, and as an analyst on 5 News. I am also very interested in the Digital Humanities, especially in interdisciplinary 'big data' research methodologies such as Text Mining.
Much of my research to date has focused on a key methodological question. Namely, how historians can analyse huge multi-million word texts which are physically impossible to read in totality, for example general election campaigns in the late Victorian and Edwardian period, where an estimated billion words of platform speeches were delivered nationwide. My book, the War of Words, explores how quantitative and qualitative text mining techniques originating from Corpus Linguistics can help meet this challenge. More specifically, I demonstrate how the systematic computerised analysis of millions of words of text can lead to new insights and major revisions to historians' current understanding of British political language, which has thus far been based exclusively on manual reading and focused case studies. My other articles - for example on women in politics, the decline of the British Liberal Party, and the politics of Imperialism have been published in leading outlets such as the Historical Journal, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Journal of British Studies, and Twentieth Century British History.
I am also working on electoral violence with collaborators at Durham University, as well as a project with the Wellcome Trust's recently digitised London's Pulse corpus of London Medical Officer of Health reports from 1848-1972.
Outside of my role as a historian, I am best known as the author of the bestselling Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding, which has regularly appeared on TV and in newspapers. The Guide has sold 500,000 copies since it first appeared in 2009 and is licensed by most universities in the UK.
I have done a good deal of radio and TV broadcasting working Yesterday Channel, BBC Radio 4, Sky News, Russia Today, BBC London, and French Radio London. I have also appeared in the Guardian (three times) including one feature length piece, once in the Telegraph in a feature length piece, once in the Independent, and several times in smaller outlets. See for example:
* Documentary about Princess Diana: 'Diana: Who do you think she Was?'
* Channel 5 News: For example commentary on 2019 Election, analysis of 2019 results, Brexit, the Labour Party.
* The Long View with Jonathan Freedland: The Roaring Twenties
* The Long View with Jonathan Freedland: Prime Ministers and Divided Parties
* Documentary about Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth: 'Royal Sisters' Documentary about Elizabeth and Margaret
If you would like comment, advice, or to discuss a potential appearance or contribution, please get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at one of the institutional email addresses listed at the foot of the page.
Hertford College, University of Oxford
Lecturer in Modern British History
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Involved in the 'Causes and Consequences of Victorian Election Violence' Project
Leverhulme Research Fellow
I was awarded a three-year Early-Career Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust.
Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Draper's Company Junior Research Fellow
Hertford College, University of Oxford
I held the Draper's Company Junior Research Fellowship at Herford College between 2013-16. I was also heavily involved in teaching British History at college, interviewing prospective undergraduates, and co-ran our Summer School course for visiting Princeton Students.
Phd History and Digital Humanities
KING'S COLLEGE LONDON
Studied part time. Passed with minor corrections.
MPhil Historical Studies
SELWYN COLLEGE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Passed with Distinction and won Selwyn College MPhil Prize.
BA History, Politics, Economic History
UNIVERSITY OF LONDON, ROYAL HOLLOWAY
First Class Honours and won the I.G. Powell Prize for highest marks in my department.
The War of Words: The Language of British Elections, 1880-1914
Published with the Royal Historical Society Studies in History series. Link
‘A Feminised Language of Democracy? Women’s Representation in the House of Commons since 1945’ (co-authored with Kaspar Beelen), Twentieth Century British History, 27:3(2016), pp.412-449. Link
'Quantifying the Language of British Politics’
Historical Research, 86:232 (2013), pp.313-341. Link
‘The Electoral Dynamics of Conservatism, 1885-1914: ‘Negative Unionism Reconsidered’
(co-authored with Taym Saleh), The Historical Journal, 59:2(2016), pp.417-445. Link
‘Lloyd George and the Decline of the British Liberal Party in the 1920s'
(co-authored with Taym Saleh), Thee Historical Journal, 64:3 (2021), pp.696-726. Link
'Joseph Chamberlain and the Third Reform Act: A Reassessment of the “Unauthorized Programme” of 1885'
Journal of British Studies, 54:1(2015), pp.488-117. Link
‘The Language of Imperialism in British Electoral Politics, 1880-1910’
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, published online in 2017. Link
‘Electioneering, the Third Reform Act, and Political Change in the 1880s’
Parliamentary History, 30:3 (2011), pp.343-373. Link
‘The Khaki Election of 1918'
International Encyclopaedia of the First World War, Freie Universität Berlin, (2016). Link
‘Women in Parliament since 1945: have they changed the debate?'
History and Policy, (2016). Link
PUBLISHED BOOK CHAPTERS
'Election Promises in 1918'
Chapter in D. Thackeray and R. Toye (eds.) Electoral Pledges in Britain Since 1918
The Politics of Promise (Palgrave, 2020). Link
Chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Mordern British Political History, 1800-present (Oxford University Press, 2018). Link
(Co-authored with Paul Readman) in P. Readman and T.G. Otte (eds.) By-Elections in British Politics, 1832-1914 (Boydell and Brewer, 2013), pp.226-50. Link
‘Opposition to Irish Home Rule’
in R.Huzzey and M.Childs (eds.), Campaigning for Change: Lessons from History (London, 2016), pp.97-114. Link
I have revieweed several books for journals in recent years, and these reviews appear in English Historical Review, Parliamentary History, Journal of Liberal History, and Journal of Victorian Culture.