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Dr John Slight

Profile summary

  • Lecturer in Imperial and Global History
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Arts & Humanities
  • History
  • john.slight

Professional biography

I took my BA degree in History from the University of Cambridge. I continued at Cambridge for my MPhil and PhD, under the supervision of Professor Tim Harper. A few months before I submitted my PhD, I began work as an AHRC-funded Research Consultant on Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, a major exhibition at The British Museum which attracted c.140,000 visitors in 2012. I was elected to a Research Fellowship at St. John's College Cambridge, and while there also taught at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Cambridge Muslim College, and the University of Essex.

My first book, The British Empire and the Hajj 1865-1956 (Harvard University Press, 2015) was awarded the triennial Trevor Reese Memorial Prize in 2017 by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, for the most 'wide-ranging, innovative and scholarly work in imperial history'

Research interests

My main research interests are the British empire in the Middle East, Arabia and the greater Middle East during the First World War, and the relationship between British imperialism and Islamic religious practices, from the nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

My future projects include British imperial policies and the expansion of Islam, British maritime imperialism in the Red Sea, and British military bases in the Middle East.

Teaching interests

Imperial, transnational and world history from c.1400, with a particular interest in the history of empires. 

Impact and engagement

My PhD research informed my work as a Research Consultant on the British Museum's major exhibition on the Hajj.

I have delivered seminars on the British Empire and Islam to the Prince's Trust Summer School and Sutton Trust Summer School at Cambridge.

I delivered a presentation on Jihad and the Caliphate to the Home Office.

External collaborations

Affiliated Researcher, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge


Global War and its impact on the Gulf States of Kuwait and Bahrain, 1914-1918 (2018)
Slight, John
War and Society, 37(1) (pp. 21-37)
British Understandings of the Sanussiyya Sufi Order’s Jihad against Egypt, 1915–17 (2014)
Slight, John
The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 103(2) (pp. 233-242)
British Perceptions and Responses to Sultan Ali Dinar of Darfur, 1915–16 (2010-06)
Slight, John
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 38(2) (pp. 237-260)
British and Somali Views of Muhammad Abdullah Hassan’s Jihad, 1899–1920 (2010)
Slight, John P.
Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies, 10 (pp. 16-35)
The British Empire and the Hajj, 1865-1956 (2015-09-21)
Slight, John
ISBN : 9780674504783 | Publisher : Harvard University Press | Published : Cambridge, MA
Reactions to the Ottoman Jihad fatwa in the British Empire, 1914-1918 (2019)
Slight, John
In: Johnson, Robert and Kitchen, James E. eds. The Great War in the Middle East
Publisher : Routledge
Anglo-French connections and co-operation against ‘Islamic’ resistance, 1914-1917 (2018-11-12)
Slight, John
In: Fichter, James R. ed. British and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Connected Empires across the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series
ISBN : 978-3-319-97963-2 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan
Pilgrimage to Mecca by British converts to Islam in the interwar period (2017-07-27)
Slight, John
In: Flaskerud, Ingvild and Natvig, Richard J. eds. Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe. Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and Tourism (pp. 70-82)
ISBN : 978-1472447470 | Publisher : Routledge
British Colonial Knowledge and the Hajj in the Age of Empire (2016-10-05)
Slight, John
In: Ryad, Umar ed. The Hajj and Europe in the Age of Empire. Leiden Studies in Islam and Society (pp. 81-111)
ISBN : 9789004323346 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden
The Hajj and the Raj: From Thomas Cook to Bombay's Protector of Pilgrims (2013)
Slight, John
In: Porter, Venetia and Saif, Liana eds. The Hajj: Collected Essays. Research Publication (193) (pp. 115-121)
ISBN : 978-086159-193-0 | Publisher : The British Museum Press