Simon Jackson

Simon Jackson is director of the ‘Commodities of Empire’, and Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Birmingham. He earned a BA in Modern History from the University of Oxford and a PhD in History from NYU. He has also held Max Weber and Jean Monnet Post-doctoral Fellowships in History at the European University Institute in Florence.

Simon is a historian of Colonial Empire with a special focus on French rule in the Middle East and the Mediterranean during the twentieth century. He is interested in the political-economy of colonial empire – the ways that power hierarchies interact with economic life, from local contexts to global ones. His approach has often emphasised the impact of war on economic life, and the ways that people imagine possible economic futures in contexts of crisis. To date he has worked on imperial economic development in the French League of Nations Mandate in Syria and Lebanon, on the history of Fordism in the post-Ottoman Middle East, and on the global history of colonial commodities and natural resources.

His next project is a global and imperial history of North African phosphate, showing how imperial mineral extraction influenced the emergence of modern global food production regimes.

Simon has designed and taught numerous classes at the University of Birmingham, Sciences-Po, the Sorbonne, and the European University Institute, focused on French colonial history, modern France, the Middle East, historical social theory and world history.