Dr Simon Jackson

Photograph of Dr Simon Jackson

Department of History
Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History
Director, Centre for Modern and Contemporary History

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 330

I am an historian of colonial empire with a special focus on the Middle East and the Mediterranean in the twentieth century.

I work on the discourse and politics of economic development in the French League of Nations Mandate in Syria and Lebanon, on the history of Fordism in the post-Ottoman Middle East, and on the global history of colonial commodities and natural resources.

For full details see my website at www.simon-jackson.eu


  • BA University of Oxford
  • MA NYU
  • PhD NYU


I am a historian of modern France and its colonial empire and an Assistant Professor in the History Dept. at the University of Birmingham, where in 2014-17 I held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship. I have also held Max Weber and Jean Monnet Post-Doctoral Fellowships in History at the European University Institute in Florence. I earned a PhD in Modern History from NYU and a BA in Modern History from Oxford University.


At undergraduate level I convene the introductory modules 'Practising History A & B', and contribute teaching in the module 'History in Theory and Practice'. I also teach a Group Research module titled 'Race, Nation, Economy: French Empire from 1789 to Decolonisation'.

I currently co-teach the two modules of the MA History programme : ‘Mass Society and Modernity’ and ‘Globalization since 1945’.

Postgraduate supervision

I offer postgraduate supervision in the colonial, international and global history of modern France and its empire, on empire in the twentieth century Mediterranean and in the comparative history of European empire.

I currently supervise or co-supervise several PhD students:

Gemma Jennings (Patriarchy and Poverty? A Transnational Analysis of the Social Implications of the Oil Industry between France and Algeria)
Tomoki Yamada (The League of Nations Mandates System as a Trans-imperial Arena of (Anti-)Colonialism)
Eliana Hadjisavvas (Jewish displacement at the end of the Second World War and the internment of Jewish refugees in British-run camps in colonial Cyprus)
Mustafa Coban (Turkish Foreign Policy on its Borders: The Balkan and Saadabad Pacts and their Domestic Determinants, 1934-1941)

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research focus is on modern France and its colonial empire in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries.

More broadly, I'm interested in the political-economy of colonial empire at large - the ways that power hierarchies interact with economic life, from local contexts to global ones. My approach has often emphasised the impact of war on economic life, and, drawing on cultural history methods, the ways that people imagine possible economic futures in contexts of crisis.

To date I have worked on imperial economic development in the French League of Nations Mandate in Syria and Lebanon, on the history of Fordism in the post-Ottoman Middle East, and on the global history of colonial commodities and natural resources.

My next project is a global and imperial history of North African phosphate, showing how imperial mineral extraction influenced the emergence of modern global food production regimes.

Other activities

I direct the Centre for Modern and Contemporary History and convene its seminar series. I also convene the MA in Contemporary History at the University of Birmingham and co-convene the Institute for Historical Research seminar on Rethinking Modern Europe. I am the co-ordinator of the British Academy's Commodities of Empire research network.

For full details see my website at www.simon-jackson.eu


Recent publications


Jackson, S & O Malley, A (eds) 2018, The Institution of International Order: From the League of Nations to the UN. Routledge.


Jackson, S 2023, '¿Dinero mandatario? La Sociedad de Naciones, el imperio colonial francés y el Banco de Siria & el Gran Líbano', Ayer, vol. 131, no. 3, pp. 107-136. https://doi.org/10.55509/ayer/1490

Jackson, S 2019, 'Introduction: The global middle East in the age of speed from joyriding to jamming, and from racing to raiding', Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 111-115. https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-7493821

Jackson, S & Moses, D 2017, 'Transformative Occupations in the Modern Middle East', Humanity, vol. 8, no. 2. <http://humanityjournal.org/issue8-2/introduction-transformative-occupations-in-the-modern-middle-east/>

Jackson, S 2017, 'Transformative relief: imperial humanitarianism and mandatory development in Syria-Lebanon, 1915-1925', Humanity, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 247-268. https://doi.org/10.1353/hum.2017.0018

Jackson, S 2016, 'The phosphate archipelago: imperial mining and global agriculture in French North Africa', Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 187-214.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Jackson, S 2020, Mandatory Expertise after the League of Nations Mandates: Interconnections and New Directions. in P Bourmaud, C Verdeil & N Neveu (eds), Experts et expertises dans les mandats de la Société des Nations : figures, champs et outils.. Transaire(s), Presses de l'INALCO, Paris.

Jackson, S & O Malley, A 2018, Rocking on its Hinges? The League of Nations, the United Nations and the New History of Internationalism in the Twentieth Century. in S Jackson & A O'Malley (eds), The Institution of International Order: from the League of Nations to the United Nations. Routledge.

Jackson, S 2015, Compassion and connections: feeding Beirut and assembling mandate rule in 1919. in A Arsan & C Schayegh (eds), The Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle East Mandates., 3, Routledge Handbooks, Routledge, pp. 62-76.

Jackson, S 2014, Global recruitment: the wartime origins of French Mandate Syria. in A Carrol & L Broch (eds), France in an Era of Global War, 1914-1945., 7, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 133-152.

Book/Film/Article review

Jackson, S 2019, 'Review of Elizabeth Heath 'Wine, Sugar and the Making of Modern France'', French Politics, Culture & Society.

Jackson, S 2019, 'Roundtable Review Discussion', Journal of Global History, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 455-469. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1740022819000214

Jackson, S & Jennings, G 2018, 'Book Review: Dominique Barjot and Thi Hoai Trang Phan, eds., Économie et Développement Durable: Héritage Historiques et Défis Actuels au sein du Monde Francophone. H-France Review', H-France Review, vol. 18, no. 152. <https://www.h-france.net/vol18reviews/vol18no152jackson.pdf>

Other contribution

Jackson, S 2022, H-Diplo Article Review 1123- “Dissenting Voices: The Secretariat of the League of Nations and the Drafting of Mandates, 1919–1923.”. H-Net. https://doi.org/https://hdiplo.org/to/AR1123

Review article

Jackson, S 2018, 'From Beirut to Berlin (via Geneva): the new international history, Middle East studies and the League of Nations', Contemporary European History, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 708-726. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0960777318000231

View all publications in research portal


  • Recent Middle East History
  • Migration
  • Energy policy, environmental policy
  • Foreign affairs
  • Oil industry
  • Mining industry 
  • Modern French history
  • French colonial empire
  • European colonial empire
  • Mediterranean affairs
  • International institutions and economic development