Lawrence Black
Professor of Modern History



BA (Exeter), MA (Warwick), PhD (London Guildhall), FRHistS   

Lawrence Black is Professor of Modern British History and the current Head of Department. He specializes in the history of political culture and has research interests across the modern period. He is currently writing a study of shopping in the UK and USA since 1899. He has commented on the history of affluence, consumerism and politics on BBC TV and radio. His research has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and British Academy and he has been a Fellow at Harvard’s Center for European Studies and a Fulbright Visiting Professor. He is a member of the editorial board of the journals Twentieth Century British History and Contemporary British History.

Lawrence joined the department at York in 2012 having taught at the Universities of Bristol and Durham in the UK, and Duke and American University in the USA.




Lawrence has mainly written on the history of political culture in Britain in the later twentieth century.  His work is interested in the practices, language and status of politics in the wider culture (a relationship more apathetic than historians focused on elections and policy allow). His book, Redefining British Politics (2010), explores the interactions of political parties, social movements and social and cultural change in the 1950s-60s. It discusses how understandings of "the political" changed in engagement with post-materialist issues, but also struggled to compete with them and with public skepticism. It analyses youth, consumer, cultural and media politics and the impact of TV on political communication.

He is writing a history of shopping in Britain and the USA since 1899 that develops his work on consumer politics and popular identities. It draws on a transnational array of corporate, advertising and campaigning archives from Sainsbury's to J Walter Thompson to the NAACP; on shopping's addicts and advocates and its legions of critics; and on works in a variety of disciplines. Lawrence has also recently co-edited Reassessing 1970s Britain (2013) that brings together key figures (in areas like economics, politics, feminism and publishing) from the period with historians to rethink the much-maligned decade.

Lawrence would welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduates interested in all these areas.

I am currently involved in supervising the follow doctoral students:

Maria Lanfranco Fernanda Gonzalez ( British and Chilean Feminism: A Transnational Approach

Elizabeth Marsh ( The Impact of the Decline of the Cleveland Ironstone Industry

Magnus Niklasson ( Penal Welfare and its Christian Roots: A Study of Shifting Attitudes Towards Delinquency, Citizenship and Personal Responsibility in Britain, 1930-1980 

Eunjae Park ( The Labour Party’s Race Politics, ca. 1900-39: Its Approach to Race and Immigration in the Early 20th Century Britain 

Bryony Prestidge ( Collecting Household Technology in Post-War British Museums

Thomas Spain ( Food Miles': Britain's Transition from Rail to Road-based Food Distribution, 1920-1975



Contact details

Prof. Lawrence Black
Vanbrugh College V/A/213
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: Internal 3609, External (01904) 323609

Student hours