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Our People

Dr John Slight

Visiting Fellow

Senior Lecturer in Imperial and Global History

PhD, MA, MPhil, BA (Hons) (Cantab)

I took my BA degree in History from the University of Cambridge. I continued at Cambridge for my MPhil and PhD, under the supervision of Professor Tim Harper. A few months before I submitted my PhD, I began work as an AHRC-funded Research Consultant on Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, a major exhibition at The British Museum which attracted c.140,000 visitors in 2012. I was elected to a Research Fellowship at St. John’s College Cambridge in 2012, and while there also taught at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Cambridge Muslim College, and the University of Essex. I joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Modern History in 2016 and became a Lecturer in Imperial and Global History in 2019, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2022.

My first book, The British Empire and the Hajj 1865-1956 (Harvard University Press, 2015) was awarded the triennial Trevor Reese Memorial Prize in 2017 by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, for the most ‘wide-ranging, innovative and scholarly work in imperial history’.

Research interests

My main research interests are the British empire in the Middle East, Arabia and the greater Middle East during the First World War, and the relationship between British imperialism and Islamic religious practices, from the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

My future projects include British imperial policies and the expansion of Islam, British maritime imperialism in the Red Sea, and British military bases in the Middle East.