British Academy supports Academic Book Week

23 Jan 2017


The British Academy is supporting Academic Book Week which takes place this week, 23-28 January 2017. 


Academic Book Week celebrates the diversity and influence of academic books throughout history, now and in the future. Events will be hosted at universities, libraries, bookshops throughout the week. 

As part of the Week, Fellows of the British Academy and other British academics have chosen their ‘Top 20 Academic Books that Shaped Modern Britain’. The list highlights books that have changed academic and popular thinking across art, science, politics, gender, cultural identity and law, and which continue to shape Britain today.

Titles included in the list are: Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing and A.V. Dicey’s Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution – the definitive work on Britain’s Constitution which, in 2016, proved itself a vital reference point in the Brexit debate.

James Rivington, Head of Academic Publications and Events at the British Academy and member of the Academic Book Week steering committee said: “The purpose of this list is to raise awareness – and provoke discussion – of how academic research and thought have helped shape and define British society and culture. The list will stimulate, educate – and irritate.”

The winning title of a public vote to find the book that has been most influential upon modern Britain will be unveiled this week.

Top 20 Academic Books that Shaped Modern Britain:

  • A Brief History of Time (1968) by Stephen Hawking

  • Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (2013) by Matthew J Goodwin and Robert Ford       

  • Ways of Seeing (1972) by John Berger

  • Gender Trouble (1990) by Judith Butler

  • The Selfish Gene (1976) by Richard Dawkins

  • Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885) by A.V. Dicey

  • Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (1984) by Peter Fryer            

  • The Double Helix (1968) by James Watson

  • The Invention of Tradition (1983) by Eric Hobsbawm

  • The Making of the English Working Class (1963) by E.P. Thompson

  • Purity and Danger (1966) by Mary Douglas

  • The Uses of Literacy (1957) by Richard Hoggart

  • Poverty in the United Kingdom (1979) by Peter Townsend

  • Orientalism (1978) by Edward Said

  • The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) by John Maynard Keynes

  • The Female Eunuch (1970) by Germaine Greer

  • Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1990) by R.F. Foster

  • The English and their History (2014) by Robert Tombs     

  • The Road to Serfdom (1994) by Friedrich Hayek

  • The Scottish Nation (1999) by Tom Devine

Academic Book Week is organised in association with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, the Booksellers Association, the British Academy, the British Library, Midas PR, The Publishers Association, Research Libraries UK and University College London. For the full Academic Book Week 2017 programme please visit:

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For further information contact the Press Office on [email protected]  / 07500 010 432.

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