Bill Foster

Fellow and Senior Lecturer in History
Faculty Of History
Year Joined Homerton: 

After leaving school in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, I attended the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cornell University (MA, PhD). I taught as a temporary lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania before taking up the Keasbey Research Fellowship at Selwyn College, Cambridge (2001-04).

During the 2003-04 academic year I served concurrently as Temporary University Lecturer in Cambridge's Faculty of History. After three years as Assistant Professor of History at the University of Redlands, California, I returned to Cambridge in 2007 to begin my current Fellowship at Homerton College. I have served in several offices at Homerton including Vice-Principal (Deputy Head of House, 2013-19), Council Secretary (2012-13), and Praelector (2007-14). In addition, I have served as Convenor of the Directors of Studies in the Faculty of History (2010-12).


Research Interests: 

My research career has focused on the question of how 'enemies' have been constructed and perceived across national and imperial frontiers. I am especially interested in cultural and political conflict among individuals as a key to understanding larger-scale rivalry and warfare. I have previously written about English converts to Catholicism living in the French Empire and the first American encounters with the Arab World. My current long-term research project is to examine the deep cultural, social, and political roots of the Russian-American relationship, from the era of Catherine the Great/American Revolution to the end of the Cold War.

Teaching And Professional Interests: 

History Part I: paper 18 (Europe since 1890); paper 24 (modern America); History Part II: HAP and undergraduate dissertations. I also supervise for the Modern European and American MPhil programmes, as well as for the PhD in History. Beginning in Michaelmas term 2020 I will begin co-teaching (with Dr Mark B. Smith) a Part II Specified Subject for final year undergraduates on the long history of Soviet-US relations.

NOTE: I am on research leave 2019-2020.