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Professor David Howell



David (BA Oxon., PhD Manchester) has been Professor of Politics at York since July 1995. Previously he worked at the University of Manchester. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College Oxford and has been an academic visitor at the University of Queensland and Duke University.

His research interests are in the fields of British political history especially the labour movement, comparative labour studies and politics and literature. Beyond these specific interests he is concerned to explore historiographical controversies and debates within literary criticism that may enhance our understanding of politics.



Since 1998 David has been an editor of the Dictionary of Labour Biography. This prestigious project moved from Hull on the retirement of the founding editor John Saville. Working with his co-editor Keith Gildart he has already produced further volumes in 2003 and 2005. A further volume is currently being compiled. In addition he was an Advisory Editor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and contributed 31 entries at publication in 2004. He continues to serve as an advisor to the continually developing online version. His other editorial commitments have included editorship of Twentieth Century British History and Labour History.

His future research concerns the political character of Labour 1918-45 in particular an attempt to connect changing patterns of local politics with the shifting composition of parliament. He is also researching the politics of D H Lawrence with reference to his understanding and characterisation of coalfield society and democratic politics.


Selected publications

  • British Social Democracy .A Study in Development and Decay (1976 second edition 1980)        
  • British Workers and the Independent Labour Party 1888-1906 (1983)
  • A Lost Left. Three Studies in Socialism and Nationalism (1986)
  • The Politics of the NUM. A Lancashire View (1989)
  • with A Campbell and N Fishman (eds) Miners Unions and Politics 1910-47(1996)
  • Respectable Radicals Studies in the Politics of Railway Trade Unionism (1999)
  • MacDonald's Party Labour Identities and Crisis 1922-31 (2002)
  • Attlee (2006)



  • Identity within Britain and Ireland
  • British Political Leadership in the Twentieth Century
  • Historical Sociology and Politics
  • The Novel with special reference to the work of D H Lawrence


  • Comparative Labour Movements
  • Railway Trade Unionism for the MA in Railway Studies
  • Contributes to the core methodology course on the MA in History and Politics
David Howell

Contact details

Professor David Howell
Department of Politics
University of York
YO10 5DD