Dr Gordon Johnston

Honorary Fellow


Formerly Head of the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University (1998-2008), Dr Gordon Johnston has been an Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology since 2014. He is Editor (with Louise Jackson) of the academic journal Social History.

Current and longstanding research interests include the past, present and future of the BBC World Service; the cultural Cold War and the relationship between politics, culture and the arts in post-war Europe; and the history of travel writing.

The book BBC World Service: Overseas Broadcasting, 1932-2018 (co-authored with Emma Robertson) was published by Palgrave in 2019, followed by a History & Policy Briefing Paper on the BBC World Service and Global Britain in 2020.

Gordon is completing a book (with Gráinne Goodwin) entitled Travel Guides and the Modern World: John Murray’s Handbooks for Travellers (to be published by Manchester University Press).

He studied at the LSE and the University of Leeds, where he completed a PhD on ‘Socialist Thought and the Transition to Socialism in Advanced Societies’ which was supervised by Ralph Miliband and David Coates.  He has taught politics and history at the Open University, University of Leeds, Leeds Polytechnic / Leeds Metropolitan University (UK) and Janus Pannonius University, Pécs (Hungary).

Authored Books

Gordon Johnston (with Emma Robertson) (2019), BBC World Service: Overseas Broadcasting, 1932-2018, Palgrave


Edited Collections

Gordon Johnston (with Celia Donert) (2012), Social History, 37 (4), ‘The Czech and Slovak Republics – Special Issue’

Gordon Johnston (2009) Social History, 34, (2), ‘Hungary – Special Issue’

Gordon Johnston (1987) (with Ray Bush & David Coates) The World Order, Polity Press

Gordon Johnston (1985) (with David Coates & Ray Bush) A Socialist Anatomy of Britain, Polity Press

Gordon Johnston (1983) (with David Coates) Socialist Strategies, Martin Robertson

Gordon Johnston (1983) (with David Coates) Socialist Arguments, Martin Robertson


Journal Articles  


Gordon Johnston (2020) ‘The BBC World Service and global Britain’, History & Policy, https://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/the-bbc-world-service-and-global-britain

Gordon Johnston (2016) ‘Co jsou to dějiny samizdatu’, Česká Literatura, 64 (6), 870-894. (Czech translation of  ‘What is the History of Samizdat’, 1999)      

Gordon Johnston (2015) (with Louise Jackson), ‘Editorial’, Social History, 40 (4), 1-4

Gordon Johnston (2013) ‘Art, political commitment and reputation in twentieth-century Europe: the case of Peter Laszlo Péri’, British Art Journal, 14 (1), 83-92

Gordon Johnston (2013) (with Gráinne Goodwin) ‘Guidebook publishing in the nineteenth century: John Murray’s Handbooks for Travellers’, Studies in Travel Writing, 17 (1), 43-61 

Gordon Johnston (2012) (with Celia Donert) ‘Introduction’, Social History, 37 (4), The Czech and Slovak Republics – Special Issue, 379-383

Gordon Johnston (2012) (with Celia Donert, Michal Pullmann) ‘Writing history in the Czech and Slovak Republics: an interview with Michal Pullmann’, Social History, 37, (4), The Czech and Slovak Republics – Special Issue, 384-401

Gordon Johnston (2010) ‘Revisiting the cultural Cold War’, Social History, 35 (3), 290-307

Gordon Johnston (2009) ‘Introduction’, Social History, 34 (2), Hungary – Special Issue, 119-122

Gordon Johnston (2003) (with Janie Percy-Smith) ‘In search of social capital’, Policy & Politics, 31 (3), 321-34

Gordon Johnston (2001) ‘Writing and publishing the Cold War: John Berger and Secker & Warburg’, Twentieth Century British History, 12 (4), 432-460

Gordon Johnston (1999) ‘What is the history of samizdat?’ Social History, 24 (2),115-133


Book Chapters

Gordon Johnston (2006) ‘Listening to the voices: the BBC’s Central and East European audiences in the early years of the Cold War’ in Relating Radio: Communities, Aesthetics, Access, Golo Föllmer & Sven Thiermann eds., Spector Books

Gordon Johnston (1983) ‘The state of contemporary British politics’ in Socialist Strategies, Gordon Johnston & David Coates eds. op. cit.

Gordon Johnston (1983) ‘Arguments against socialism’ in Socialist Arguments, Gordon Johnston & David Coates eds. op. cit.