Professor Jonathan Scott

Jonathan Scott was born in Auckland and grew up mainly in Wellington. After his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Victoria University of Wellington he took up a Commonwealth Scholarship to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he completed his PhD in 1985. After 15 years in Cambridge and seven in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he returned to a Professorship at the University of Auckland.

In addition to a few poems and many articles he has written biography, autobiography, a book-length analysis of seventeenth-century English politics and a study of republican (that is, anti-monarchical) writing of the English revolution. His most recent book is a study of the geographical content of early modern writing about the British state and empire.

“I have had experience in unexpected or at least unpredicted circumstances of the usefulness of historical skills in my personal life. My father died when I was very young. I never knew him but there came a time in my adult life when I wanted to know more about him. I had by that stage completed an historical biography of a seventeenth century figure and discovered that I had the skills to research and write a biography of my father that brought him back to life and gave me a relationship with him. So the ability that historians need to acquire to engage with a past that is actually over, but bring it back to life intellectually, turned out to have a real personal value for me”.

With undergraduates or graduates what Jonathan enjoys the most is being in a room with ten to twenty students who have all read the same thing and putting their insights together to work through it systematically and see what it has to teach and how it connects to what they did the previous week and how it might set up what they are going to do next time.

“So what I really enjoy is asking questions and taking answers from everybody and helping people see that collectively we can learn a huge amount in the space of one class."

Professor Jonathan Scott

Professor Jonathan Scott

School of Humanities
Phone: + 64 9 373 7599 ext 87967

Find out more about studying History

Find out more about Professor Jonathan Scott