Colin reid Profile PictureDr Colin Reid

Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History

History of modern Britain and Ireland, history of political thought

+44 (0)114 22 22610 | Jessop West 3.37

One Leave Semester 2 2019/20



I joined the Department of History in February 2017, having previously held posts at the Universities of Oxford, Maynooth and Northumbria. My research and teaching interests lie in exploring the political, cultural and intellectual mentalities at the heart of the British-Irish dilemma from the French Revolution to the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’. I have written on a range of subjects from this perspective, such as federalist political thought in the United Kingdom during the 1870s, constitutional nationalism and the Irish revolutionary period (c.1912-22), divisions within unionism in Northern Ireland, Irish Protestant literary figures in Britain, and legal arguments used to legitimise rebellion in nineteenth-century Ireland.

Professional Roles

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (

Section Editor, Bibliography of British and Irish History (



I am currently working on a book on the history of political thought in Ireland under the Union (1800-1922). This project explores the impact of the Union on mentalities in Ireland, charting the range of particular political languages deplored by contemporaries, and explaining continuities and changes over time. Conflict in Ireland was not simply the result of ancient hatreds: it was sustained by clashing interpretations of decidedly new political concepts. As such, Ireland is an illuminating case-study into how French Revolutionary political ideas such as nationalism, republicanism, popular sovereignty, citizenship, and democracy became localised and assumed competing meanings among different groups during the nineteenth century.

On completion of this research, I’ll commence a new project on democratic and imperial political ideas in the United Kingdom from the Chartists to the First World War. This will centre on how democrats envisaged empire, and how imperialists considered democracy in an age of tempestuous constitutional debate.

Research Supervision

I’m very happy to supervise research projects in Irish and/or British history since 1789, particularly those with an interest in political, cultural or intellectual history

Current students:

  • Roger Baxter (second supervisor) - Crime, Innovation and Mobility: Transport Migration and Policing in England, 1750-1950.
  • Patricia Brennan (second supervisor) - Working Together to Safeguard Children in Britain: Sheffield, 1870-1918.
  • Joseph Diviney (second supervisor) - The 1984-5 Miners’ Strike and the Demise of the British Coal Mining Industry.

Completed students:

  • William Finley - Making an Impression: An Assessment of the Role of Print Surfaces within the Technological, Commercial, Intellectual and Cultural Trajectory of Book Illustration, c. 1780-c.1860.

All current students by supervisor | PhD study in History


Full list of Publications


The Lost Ireland of Stephen Gwynn: Irish Constitutional Nationalism and Cultural Politics, 1864-1950 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, Hardback Edition 2011, Paperback Edition 2015).
With Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid (eds.), From Parnell to Paisley: Constitutional and Revolutionary Politics in Modern Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2010).

Journal Articles

“Citizens of Nowhere’: Longing, Belonging and Exile among Irish Protestant Writers in Britain, c.1830-1970’, Irish Studies Review, vol. 24, no. 3 (2016).
“An Experiment in Constructive Unionism’: Isaac Butt, Home Rule and Federalist Political Thought during the 1870s’, English Historical Review, vol. 129, no. 537 (2014), pp. 332-61.
‘Stephen Gwynn and the Failure of Constitutional Nationalism in Ireland, 1919-21’ Historical Journal, vol. 53, no. 3 (2010), pp. 723-45.
‘Protestant Challenges to the “Protestant state”: Ulster Unionism and Independent Unionism in Northern Ireland, 1921-1939’, Twentieth Century British History, vol. 19, no. 4 (2008), pp. 419-45.

Book Chapters

‘The Rhetoric of Revolution as Legal Defence: Lawyers and the Languages of Political Dissent in Nineteenth-Century Ireland’, in Kyle Hughes and Don MacRaild (eds), Crime, Violence and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017).
‘Between the Redmondite and Revolutionary Generations: Denis Gwynn in Old and New Ireland’, in Senia Pašeta (ed.), Uncertain Futures: Essays About the Irish Past For Roy Foster (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 133-47.
‘The Irish Party and the Volunteer Crisis: Politics and the Home Rule Army, 1913-1916’, in Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid and Colin Reid (eds), From Parnell to Paisley: Constitutional and Revolutionary Politics in Modern Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2010), pp. 33-55.


Module Leader

Public Engagement

Public Engagement

I have developed links with a number of community and non-university groups. I co-convened a two-part conference in 2012 on the centenary of the introduction of the Home Rule bill in association with the National Library of Ireland. More recently, I have worked with the Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne to stage history festivals and lectures.

In addition, I have written about a range of historical subjects for a number of blogs, including History Matters (, the Conference of Irish Historians 'Alternative 1916' series ( and the Four Nations History Network (

In The Media

To follow.

Administrative Duties

Current Administrative Duties

To follow.