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Professor JGA Pocock

Born in London and brought up in Christchurch, New Zealand, J.G.A. Pocock was educated at the universities of Canterbury and Cambridge, and is now Harry C. Black Emeritus Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University.

Beginning with his study of the relationship between seventeenth-century historiography and constitutional thought, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law first published in 1957 (second ed. 1987), his successive seminal contributions to the field have continued to shape scholarly debate for over five decades. Amongst works since that time, special mention may be made of The Machiavellian Moment (1975), the essay collections Politics, Language and Time (1971; 1989), Virtue, Commerce and History (1985), and The Discovery of Islands (2005) and his editions of The Political Works of James Harrington (1977) and Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1987). His recently completed project is a major study of the work of Edward Gibbon and the many contexts within which it may be situated, under the general title Barbarism and Religion (6 vols, 1999-2015).

Running through all these works has been a continuing concern with the status of historiography as an alternative mode of political thought, distinct from what is commonly termed political theory. A number of essays on this theme have been collected in Political Thought and History (2010).