Professor James Raven FBA
- Fellow type
- UK Fellow
- Year elected
James Raven’s research interests range across British, European, and colonial cultural, material and literary history c. 1500-1950; particularly the history of publishing, reading, and material objects as ‘texts’, museums, collections, libraries, and the business and geographies of trade in knowledge, memory, books, and cultural commodities.
James Raven is a Fellow of Magdalene College and University Affiliated Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge. He is also Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Essex and was formerly Reader in Social and Cultural History at the University of Oxford. He has also held visiting appointments in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France, Scandinavia, and several countries of mainland Europe.
His research and publications examine aspects of the social, cultural and communications history of Britain and Western Europe and their colonies between the 15th and the early 20th centuries. For the past 30 years, he has extended in various ways what has become known as ‘the history of the book,’ developing bibliographical studies of the history of the novel, the history of museums, libraries and galleries, approaches to the history of reading and textual reception, historical mapping, the relationship between media and literary history, the spatial organisation of knowledge, and colonial cultural history. He has also published on specific aspects of urban, business and popular and intellectual history. Most recently he has considered the global history of books, asking what a ‘book’ really is – in a short monograph What is the History of the Book? (Polity Press, Cambridge 2018), and in an edited volume examining the global history of objects as texts ranging from ancient times to the present, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book (OUP, Oxford 2020).
For many years, he has also worked at senior level for several international and national educational charities, with particular interest in educational access and widening participation. He currently serves as Chair of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth, as President of the Bibliographical Society, and as Chair of the Lindemann Trust for UK postdoctoral awards for scientific study in the US.
University of Essex Professor Emeritus of Modern History
University of Cambridge Affiliated Lecturer in History
Magdalene College, Cambridge Life Fellow
University of Oxford Reader in Social and Cultural History
2000 - 2004
Magdalene College, Cambridge Senior Research Fellow
1996 - 2020
University of Oxford CUF Lecturer in Modern History
1996 - 2000
Mansfield College, Oxford Fellow
1996 - 2000
Magdalene College, Cambridge Fellow and Director of Studies
1990 - 1996
Pembroke College, Cambridge Fellow
1985 - 1990
Professor Ingrid De Smet FBA
Renaissance and Early Modern intellectual culture, especially in France and the Low Countries; sixteenth and early-seventeenth century French literature; Neo-Latin Studies; the Republic of Letters; the Classical tradition