A native of Salina, Kansas, Jay Sexton came to Oxford on a Marshall Scholarship in 2000. He was University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in American History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford from 2004 to 2016, and Director of the RAI in 2015-16, before moving to take up the Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. His research focuses on nineteenth century America and its connections with the wider world.
His first book, Debtor Diplomacy: Finance and American Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era, 1837-1873 (2005; 2nd ed. 2014), examined the nexus between capital flows and diplomacy in the pivotal period of U.S. national consolidation. His second book, The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America (2011), emphasized how British power conditioned U.S. diplomacy and expansion. Currently, he is researching the steamship lines that brought together the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as connected the United States to the wider world. He has co-edited two major collaborative projects that originated as events at the RAI. The first, with Richard Carwardine, explores global images and legacies of Abraham Lincoln. The second, with Ian Tyrrell, assesses the history of American anti-imperialism since 1776.
When he is not talking with colleagues about the United States in the RAI, he can be found playing or watching American sports, especially his beloved Jayhawk basketball team from Kansas.