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Dr. James Cooper

Dr. James CooperDr James Cooper BA (Wales) PGCE MA (Birmingham) PhD (Wales) is a historian of modern and contemporary politics, particularly Britain and the United States. Dr Cooper is also interested in the role of the 'media' in politics, the use of oral history, and transnational and comparative historical approaches.

Teaching Areas
Dr Cooper teaches widely in the department. In addition to contributing to part one, part two and MA core modules, Dr Cooper teaches a part two option module about European Society in the Cold War Era, a part two skills module about the use political diaries and memoirs as historical sources, and a special subject and MA module on Thatcherism.

Dr Cooper is presently engaged in developing his PhD thesis into a monograph and journal articles. This research explores the relationship between the Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan administrations in the 1980s, with specific reference to their domestic policy agendas (taxation reform, monetary policy, trade union reform, privatisation and deregulation, and electioneering). Dr Cooper examined documents held at Churchill College, Cambridge, and made successful Freedom of Information requests in the UK and USA. In June 2008, he undertook extensive research at the Reagan Library in California and the Library of Congress in Washington, where he was able to examine all relevant material available at the time; a further research trip is being arranged. The project has also involved interviews with politicians, civil servants and aides, from both administrations. Dr Cooper has so far interviewed over thirty such dignitaries, such as Lords Howe and Lawson (former Chancellors of the Exchequer), and Mr Edwin Meese, former Special Counsellor to the President and US Attorney General. This research demonstrates the complex transnational nature of the Thatcher-Reagan relationship. So far, this research has been kindly supported by an Aberystwyth Postgraduate Research Studentship and the Royal Historical Society.

Staff Publications

  • Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship (in preparation)
  • 'The Foreign Politics of Opposition: Margaret Thatcher and the Transatlantic Relationship before Power', Contemporary British History, 24:1 (March 2010), 23-42
  • Review Article, 'The Reagan Years: The Great Communicator as Diarist', Intelligence and National Security, 23:6 (2008), 892 - 901

Conference papers


'Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Very Political Special Relationship'. (The Transatlantic Studies Association Conference, 11-14 July 2011, Dundee University, forthcoming).


'The Reagan administration and supply-side policies'. Invited to deliver a paper at a symposium about the American response to the 1970s economic crisis at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London.
'Mutual Impact? Policy, tactical and intellectual transfer between the Thatcher and Reagan administrations'. (Evening Research Seminar, Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University.)
'Considerations for the jobbing oral historian: The interplay between group cultures and history'. (The Third Aberystwyth Postgraduate History Forum.)


'Staying the course: Thatcher, Reagan and political advertising in the 1980s'. (International Association for Media and History - IAMHIST - conference 2009, Aberystwyth.)
'A model of success? The relationship between the Thatcher and Reagan administrations in political campaigning'. (Postgraduate Research Seminar, Aberystwyth.)
'"Someone who instinctively felt and thought as I did": the relationship between the Thatcher and Reagan administrations in taxation and monetary policy'. (New Researchers' Session, Economic History Society Annual Conference, University of Warwick, April 2009.)
'"Reaganomics will produce Thatcheritis". Thatcher and Reagan: a common approach to economic policy'? (The Second Aberystwyth Postgraduate History Forum.)


'Aware of their place in history: Are different groups of people more or less appropriate for oral history'? (Postgraduate Conference: 'Sources in the Spotlight, Nottingham University.)
'Crossing the ocean before power: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and the transatlantic relationship'. (Postgraduate Conference: 'The Churchill Era and Beyond,' Churchill College, Cambridge.)
'Aware of their place in history: Are different groups of people more or less appropriate for oral history?' (Postgraduate Conference: 'Oral History, Testimony and Memory: Interdisciplinary Approaches,' Bangor University.)
'Crossing the ocean before power: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and the transatlantic relationship.' (The First Aberystwyth Postgraduate History Forum.)

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