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Professor Alison Bashford PhD

Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History

Alison Bashford is the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History and a Fellow of Jesus College.

Academic interests

Alison Bashford's academic interests include: 

  • History of modern imperialism
  • History of modern science and medicine
  • History of immigration
  • Environmental history.

Degrees obtained

  • BA Hons, Sydney.
  • PhD, Sydney.
  • MA, Cantab.

Awards and prizes

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
  • Fellow of Australian Academy of Humanities.
  • Cantemir Prize.


Alison Bashford, FAHA, FRHistS, is a Fellow of Jesus College and the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, appointed in 2013.

She is an historian of modern imperialism and environmental history, and has written extensively on population changes and population thought in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her most recent book is about T.R. Malthus, himself a Fellow of Jesus College. Alison jointly edits the Cambridge Oceanic Histories series and supervises World History papers.

She is convenor of the World History Subject Group at Cambridge. Bashford's research connects the history of modern science and medicine, imperial history, and environmental history.

Her most recent books include Global Population: history, geopolitics, and life on earth (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Pacific Histories: ocean, land, people (jointly edited with David Armitage, Palgrave, 2014). Her next book The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Re-reading the principle of population, co authored with Joyce E. Chaplin, Harvard University, will be published in 2016 by Princeton University Press. Ongoing projects include a study of Malthus and China and an interdisciplinary project on quarantine and ocean histories.

She is a Trustee of Royal Museums Greenwich, incorporating the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, Cutty Sark, and the Royal Observatory.

Other interests

Horse riding.

Department link

Publications, links and resources

Recent books include:

  • Bashford, A. and Chaplin, J.E. (2016) The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: rereading the principle of population, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Bashford, A. (2014) Global Population: history, geopolitics and life on earth, New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Bashford, A. ed (2016) Quarantine: Local and Global Histories, London: Palgrave.
  • Bashford, A. with Armitage, D., eds (2014) Pacific Histories, London: Palgrave.

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