Stafford, James

Assistant Professor

Office Hours

Spring 2024: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:15 - 5:15 pm, and by appointment.


Interests and Research

James Stafford is a political and intellectual historian of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Europe.

His first book, The Case of Ireland: Commerce, Empire and the European Order, 1776-1848 (Cambridge, 2022), offers a fresh account of Ireland’s place in European debates about commerce and empire during a global era of war and revolution. Drawing on a broad range of writings from merchants, agrarian improvers, philosophers, politicians and revolutionaries across Europe, the book shows how Ireland became a field of conflict and projection between rival systems of political economy, associated with the warring empires of Britain and France.

Current research interests include the ‘system’ of bilateral free-trade treaties constructed by Britain, France and other European states in the 1860s and 1870s, as well as the politics of energy and natural resources in nineteenth-century Ireland.

He co-convenes the University Seminar in Modern British History, and is also a member of the New York-Cambridge Training Collaboration in Twentieth-Century British History (NYCTC). He is a contributing editor for Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy.



Contemporary Civilization I & II
Britain, Ireland & Empire 1789-1900 (lecture)
Nationalism & Revolution in Modern Ireland (seminar)
New Histories of International Law (graduate seminar)



The Case of Ireland: Commerce, Empire and the European Order, 1776-1848, Cambridge University Press, 'Ideas in Context', 2022

Book Chapters

'Desolation and Abundance: Poverty and the Irish Landscape, c. 1720-1820', in N. O'Flaherty & R. Mills (eds.) Ideas of Poverty in The Enlightenment, Liverpool University Press, forthcoming.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
'International Relations: Power, Peace and the People', in E. Biagini, M. Mosher and A. Plassart (eds.) The Cultural History of Democracy in the Age of Enlightenment, Bloomsbury, 2021, 201-17.
‘The Scottish enlightenment and the British-Irish Union of 1801’, in: Naomi Lloyd-Jones and Margaret Scull (eds.) Four nations approaches to modern ‘British’ history: A (dis)United Kingdom?Palgrave Macmillan2018, 111-134.


'The Alternative to Perpetual Peace: Britain, Ireland and the Case for Union in Friedrich Gentz’s Historisches Journal (1799-1800)’. Modern Intellectual History, Vol. 13, No. 1 (2016), 63-91.

‘“Stay at Home”: The Politics of Nuclear Civil Defence, 1968-83’, Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2012) 383-407.


Ph.D. - Cambridge University (2016)
M. Phil. - Cambridge University (2012)
B.A. - Oxford University (2010)