Simon Mackley

Discipline: History
Research Centre/Unit: Centre for the Study of War, State & Society

Project Summary

My doctoral research explores Empire as an issue within late-Victorian and Edwardian British politics, focusing particularly on the rhetoric of the Liberal Party. Adopting many of the approaches of the wider ‘Rhetoric of Empire’ research project, my research makes use of speeches, newspaper sources, parliamentary debates and election materials to examine the methods by which a rhetoric of 'Liberal Empire' was constructed, and the ways in which Liberal politicians drew upon said rhetoric during specific episodes of imperial controversy and crisis.

In seeking to assess the exact role of the Empire within the rhetoric of the period, my thesis focuses on events in imperial South Africa as a case study for the wider nature of the Liberal Party's engagement with imperial rhetoric. Looking at key episodes of imperial salience in British politics, my research examines in particular the reaction to the 1895 Jameson Raid, the rhetoric of the 1899 Transvaal Crisis, the critiques of the Unionist government's conduct in the Anglo-Boer War, the question of 'Chinese Slavery' in South African Reconstruction, the grant of self-government to the newly-annexed Transvaal Colony, and ultimately the unification of South Africa in 1910. In doing so it is envisaged that not only will the common themes of Liberal imperial rhetoric be uncovered from these case studies, but also that the episodic nature of the thesis will be able to assess how such attitudes and the public practice of imperial politics changed over time.

Supervisory Team

Wider Research Interests

Broadly, my research interests lie within the fields of modern British, imperial, and international political history. I am particularly interested in the following subjects:

  • British & Imperial politics in the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods;
  • The Liberal Party and British Liberal politics;
  • The politics of the inter-war period in Britain;
  • Political parties, party systems and electoral politics;
  • Political culture and rhetoric.

Authored Publications/Reports

Simon Mackley (May 2013) Review: Clare C. J. Griffiths, James J. Nott and William Whyte, Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin, Ex Historia, 5, 232-234

Simon Mackley (August 2012) Review: Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011. Ed. by Robert Ingham and Duncan Brack, Retrospectives: The Warwick History Journal, 1:1

Simon Mackley (February 2015) Review: Making the Heavens Hum: Kingsley Wood and the Art of the Possible 1881-1924. By Hugh Gault., Twentieth Century British History, Advance Access

Simon Mackley, Anna Sciampacone & Anna West (April 2015) Report: BAVS 2014: Victorian Sustainability, University of Kent 4-6th September 2014, British Association for Victorian Studies Newsletter, 15.1