Tobias Harper

Assistant Professor

Contact Information:


Ruane Center for the Humanities 124


Ph.D. - History Columbia University

Brief Biography

Toby is currently working on a book manuscript about the decolonization and democratization of the British honours system in the twentieth century. This book argues that the expansion of the Crown honours system (knighthoods, damehoods, the Order of the British Empire, etc.) in Britain and the British Empire invested a larger and larger proportion of society in centrally-defined ideas of hierarchy. In other words, the more the State ranked people, the more these people cared about rank. In this case, at least, a more inclusive system brought both an expansion of interest hierarchy as well as reshaping how the state itself defined worthy service.

Area(s) of Expertise:

The social, cultural and political history of Britain and the British Empire; New Zealand history; twentieth-century Europe; history of monarchy and ceremony

Selected Publications:

Harper, T. (2017) The Order of the British Empire after the British Empire. Canadian Journal of History.(52), 509-532.

Harper, T. (2015) "Voluntary Service and State Honours in Twentieth-Century Britain". The Historical Journal.(58), 641-661.

Harper, T. (2008) “‘Amen, Amen!’ Christianity, Society and Visions of the Future in 1920s New Zealand”. New Zealand Journal of History.(42), 133-153.

Selected Presentations:

Harper, T. Empires of Charity Workshop. Poverty Research Network, University of Warwick - "Charity, the Queen and the OBE: Philanthrocapitalism and its Rewards" March, 2017

Harper, T. North American Conference on British Studies. , Little Rock, Arkansas - "The Call of the Medieval: Inventing Rituals for Honours in the Twentieth Century" November, 2015

Harper, T. North American Conference of British Studies. NACBS, Minneapolis - "Chair and comment on panel: "Forging identity in isolation? Technology, privacy, and private space in Modern Britain"" November, 2014

Harper, T. North Eastern Conference on British Studies. , Bates College - "Imperial Service and Imperial Honours in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" October, 2014

Harper, T. Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies. , Lehman College, CUNY - "Who Received What Honours in the Twentieth-century British Empire?" April, 2014

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