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Jack Bowman

Research Overview

I am a PhD researcher at the University of Warwick, supervised by Professor Daniel Branch and Dr James Poskett. I have been awarded a Departmental Scholarship to undertake my thesis, provisionally entitled Pan-African Print: Politics in Action - A Book History of the Pan-African Movement, 1935-1955

My research centres upon the role of print in anti-colonial movements within the British Empire, particularly the Pan-African movement. It aims to look at the connections, intersections, and differences between anti-colonial movements through the lens of print.

I am interested in approaching twentieth century anti-colonial thought via the field of book history. This places the emphasis not only on the content of a book, or other printed materials, but also on the objects themselves. By examining who wrote a text, where it was scripted, printed, sold and published, and how it was printed, upon what material, with what inks, etc. the broader motivations and limitations of a text reveal themselves. Tracing a book through Robert Darnton's 'communications circuit', for example, illustrates the ideas and impact of the text in differing ways to the content of the text itself.

Previous book histories have centred upon the early modern period, with some advances into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Similarly, book histories of empire and the imperial project are only beginning to emerge. However, and as historians such as Isabel Hofmeyr and Antoinette Burton have demonstrated, book histories of empire can be valuable historiographical contributions. To this end, my research aims to engage with these recent advances and employs a book history approach within the study of the British Empire in the twentieth century.

My PhD research focuses on the Pan-African movement and its connections across the globe, centring on key individuals and their roles within the movement. By engaging with these agents via the lens of print I undertake a broader assessment of the wider anti-colonial project. In challenging both celebratory and severely reductive histories of the past my thesis seeks to not only critically engage with anti-colonial movements, but to highlight the role of print within these exchanges.

Research Interests

  • Book history
  • Global histories of empire
  • Indian and African nationalism and political thought
  • Gender, race, and caste within the imperial project
  • LGBTQ+ histories

Academic Profile

2019-2022: PhD in History, University of Warwick

Supervisors: Professor Daniel Branch and Dr James Poskett

Thesis provisionally titled Pan-African Print: Politics in Action - A Book History of the Pan-African Movement, 1935-1955

2018-2019: MA in Modern History, University of Warwick

Supervisor: Dr James Poskett

Dissertation titled Editing Independence: The Political Thought and Publishing Career of V. K. Krishna Menon, 1929-1939

2015-2018: BA (Hons) in History, University of Warwick

Supervisor: Dr James Poskett

Dissertation titled Rethinking Jawaharlal Nehru and Nehruvianism for Modern Indian Political Thought: A Book History of The Discovery of India (1946)


2019-2022: University of Warwick, History Department Doctoral Scholarship



Twitter: @jackawbowman

Modern British History reading group logo

George Padmore, Colonial and Coloured Unity

George Padmore, 'Colonial and Coloured Unity: A Programme of Action, History of the Pan-African Congress' (Manchester, 1947).

The Pan-African Federation journal 'Pan-Africa' Vol.1, No. 4 (1947)

The Pan-African Federation journal Pan-Africa, Vol.1, No. 4 (1947).