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Historian, Queen’s University Belfast

Currently based in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast, Jonathan Wright is a political and cultural historian whose work addresses three overlapping areas: politics and culture in the age of revolution and reform (c. 1789-1832); British and Irish imperial history (with a particular emphasis on the Ulster experience of empire); and the cultural history and historical geographies of science. Recently published by Liverpool University Press, his first book reconstructs the political and intellectual world of the Presbyterian reformers of Belfast in the post-United Irish era, and he is currently working on a contextual biography of Sir James Emerson Tennent, a Belfast-born writer, parliamentarian and colonial administrator, who served as colonial secretary of Ceylon between 1845-50, and on a project exploring science, civic culture and imperial/global networks of knowledge exchange in Belfast, c. 1820-1914.

As a historian working in the School of Geography at Queen’s, Jonathan employs interdisciplinary and collaborative perspectives in his work, and as a founding member of the Transnational Ireland research network ( he has a particular interest in the development and application of transnational or ‘beyond the nation’ approaches to historical research.

Select Publications

  • Wright, Jonathan. (2013). “The Belfast chameleon: Ulster, Ceylon and the imperial life of Sir James Emerson Tennent.” Britain and the World, Vol. VI, No.2, (Forthcoming, September).
  • Wright, Jonathan. (2012).The natural leaders and their world: politics, culture and society in Belfast, c. 1801-32. (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press).
  • Wright, Jonathan. (2005). ” History, hunger strike and republican collective memory ” in Shane Alcobia-Murphy, Johanna Archbold, John Gibney and Carole Jones (eds.) Beyond the anchoring grounds: more cross-currents in Irish and Scottish Studies. (Belfast, QUB Press), 347-355.
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