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Tobias Harper


Photo of faculty memberAssistant Professor

Contact Information:
Ruane Center for the Humanities 124


Ph.D. - History Columbia University

Brief Biography:

Toby is currently working on a book manuscript entitled "Everyday Heroes. The British Honours System, 1917-2004". 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 an intensification of hierarchy, not (as many reformers hoped) more egalitarian societies.

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, Tobias. (2017). The Order of the British Empire after the British Empire. Canadian Journal of History52 (3), 509-532.

Harper, Tobias. (2015). "Voluntary Service and State Honours in Twentieth-Century Britain". The Historical Journal58 (2), 641-661.

Harper, Tobias. (2008). “‘Amen, Amen!’ Christianity, Society and Visions of the Future in 1920s New Zealand”. New Zealand Journal of History42 (2), 133-153.

Recent Presentations:

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

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

Harper, Tobias., 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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