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Staff Profile

Dr James Cooper

Associate Professor of History and American Studies

James Cooper

I am a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy. I completed my PhD at Aberystwyth University in 2010 and then became Lecturer in Modern History at the same institution. In August 2012 I was appointed Senior Lecturer in History at Oxford Brookes University before spending the 2012 to 2013 academic year as the Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor of British History at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, USA. In May 2016, I was a Visiting Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute. After a variety of administrative and leadership roles, including a period as Head of School, I joined York St John University in April 2019.

I have been asked to provide expert opinion and commentary to national and international audiences, such as the BBC News Channel, Global Radio, Randy Tobler Radio Show (a major Midwest broadcast in the United States), US News and World, Klassekampen (a leading Norwegian newspaper), and the Chunichi and Tokyo Shimbun (2 major Japanese newspapers).

In 2014 I curated an exhibit about the Reagan-Thatcher relationship at the National Winston Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, which marks the location of Churchill's famous 'Iron Curtain' speech in 1946.

X (formerly known as Twitter): @Dr_JamesTCooper


I contribute to teaching across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in American History and American Studies. I am happy to offer supervision to both undergraduates and postgraduates in subject areas that encompass modern and contemporary American history and Anglo-American relations.


My first monograph, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012), is the first major examination of the Reagan-Thatcher relationship with regards to domestic policy. It has been well received in academic journals. The English Historical Review (2014) describes it as 'an engaging and informed analysis ... with many new insights'. Similarly, the American Historical Review (2014) notes that the monograph's 'analysis is well-developed and persuasive' and 'provides an original and interesting contribution to the literature of the Anglo-American relationship'. A review in the Journal of Contemporary History (2014) states that the monograph's importance and impact are 'considerable'.

My second monograph, The Politics of Diplomacy: U.S. presidents and the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1967-1998 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), contributed to the relatively marginalized historiography of the American dimension of the Anglo-Irish process. My latest monograph was an examination of Anglo-American summitry in the Reagan-Thatcher era: A Diplomatic Meeting: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Art of Summitry (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2022).



A Diplomatic Meeting: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Art of Summitry (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2022)

The Politics of Diplomacy: U.S. Presidents and the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1967-98 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012).

Journal articles

‘“The situation over there really bothers me”: Ronald Reagan and the Northern Ireland conflict,’ Irish Historical Studies, 41:159 (May 2017), 97-116.

‘From Reykjavik to Fulton: Reagan, Thatcher, and the ending of the Cold War,’ The Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 14:4 (2016), 383-400.

‘“A Log-Rolling, Irish-American Politician, Out to Raise Votes in the United States”: Tip O’Neill and the Irish Dimension of Anglo-American Relations, 1977-1985,’ Congress and the Presidency, 42 (2015), 1-27.

‘“I must brief you on the mistakes”: When Ronald Reagan met Margaret Thatcher, 25-28 February 1981’, Journal of Policy History, 26:3 (2014), 275-297.

‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd: Neil Kinnock, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher 1984-1987’, White House Studies, 13:1 (2013), 1-20. [Published 2015 due to a change in publishing arrangements.]

‘“Superior to anything I had seen in the States”: The ‘Thatcherisation’ of Republican Strategy in 1980 and 1984,’ Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 11:1 (2013), 1-21.

‘The Foreign Politics of Opposition: Margaret Thatcher and the Transatlantic Relationship before Power,’ Contemporary British History, 24:1 (March 2010), 23-42.

Other essays

‘Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Not So “Special” Relationship?, in: Cullinane, Michael and Farr, Martin, (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Presidents and Prime Ministers From Cleveland and Salisbury to Trump and Johnson (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2022), 273-295.

“The United States and the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, 1967-1998.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. Oxford University Press. Article published in March 2019.

Book Review Essay, ‘In Search of the Gipper: Ronald Reagan and the 1980s,’ Presidential Studies Quarterly, 47:4 (December 2017), 831-34.

‘For better and for worse: The relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, 1981 – 1983’, in Bradley L. Coleman and Kyle Longley (eds.), Reagan and the World: Leadership and National Security, 1981-89 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2017), 127-46.

‘Reagan vs. Thatcher: unpicking the special relationship,’ History and Policy, April 2013.

Review Article, ‘The Reagan Years: The Great Communicator as Diarist,’ Intelligence and National Security, 23:6 (2008), 892 – 901.

By invitation, I have also written book reviews, for instance, for the Journal of Contemporary History and the International History Review.

Conferences and presentations

Selected conference papers and other presentations

May 2017: Reagan and Thatcher: A not so special relationship? (Newcastle University: ‘Presidents and Premiers’ symposium.)

May 2016:  The Politics of Peace-making: U.S. Presidents and the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1964-98. (Nobel Spring Lectures: The Causes of Peace, Norwegian Nobel Institute, 4 May 2016.)

March 2016: The Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ and Northern Ireland. (University of Sussex. Withdrew due to paternity leave.)

January 2016: Love in a Cold War Climate: The Reagan and Thatcher Years, University of Worcester.

November 2014: For better and for worse: The relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. (The Enduring Legacy: Leadership and National Security Affairs During the Ronald Reagan Era, Virginia Military Institute. As listed above, my paper will be published in an edited volume based on this conference: Reagan and the World.)

June 2013: Remembering Reagan and Thatcher. Eureka College, Ill.

April 2013: “I must brief you on the mistakes”: When Ronald Reagan met Margaret Thatcher, 25-28 February 1981. (Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA).

November 2012: The Reagan and Thatcher relationship. (St. Louis English Speaking Union. Invited to present)

October 2012: The Reagan and Thatcher Years. Westminster College, MO.

November 2010: The Reagan administration and supply-side policies. Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London.

Professional activities

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Recognised Research Supervisor of the UK Council for Graduate Education