Photo of Professor Martin Thomas

Professor Martin Thomas


Martin studied Modern History at Oxford University graduating with first class honours in 1985. He returned to Oxford where he completed his D.Phil in 1991. He taught at the University of the West of England, Bristol for eleven years before joining the Exeter History Department in 2003. He was awarded a Philip Leverhulme prize for outstanding research in 2002 and has been both a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow and a fellow of the Independent Social Research Foundation.

He is the author of eight books and several articles and book chapters on various aspects of French foreign and colonial policy, Franco-British relations, colonial security services, violence and the colonial state. His study of colonial 'intelligence states', Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder after 1914 was published by the University of California Press in 2007. A co-authored study of the collapse of European colonial empires, Crises of Empire: Decolonization and Europe's Imperial States, 1918-1975, was published by Hodder Education in 2008. A further comparative study, Violence and Colonial Order: Police, Workers and Protest in the European Colonial Empires, 1918-40, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2012. Recent works include Fight or Flight: Britain, France and the their Roads from Empire, and, with Richard Toye, Arguing about Empire, both books published with Oxford University Press in 2014 and 2017 respectively.

Martin is Director of the Centre for the Study of War, State and Society (CWSS), a research centre dedicated to the study of the impact of conflicts on states, communities, and international systems. He is also a member of the British International History Group, the French Colonial History Society, and the Study Group on Intelligence, and has served on the editorial boards of the International History Review, Intelligence and National Security, Diplomacy & Statecraft, War & Society, and French Historical Studies. In 2016 he was a professeur invité at Sciences Po. Saint-Germain-en-Laye.