This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

The holy city of Mecca, 2013. Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty Images

The holy city of Mecca, 2013. Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty Images

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the demise of the world’s largest monopoly to the smells of empire, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading

British Soft Power in South Asia: Historicizing Deglobalization


David Thackeray
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @d_thackeray

Cross-posted from History & Policy

Many of the core debates in UK politics today concern the nation’s future trade: the question of Scottish independence, devolution of political power to the regions, and a potential referendum on EU membership. Exploring the history of British trade identities can provide important insights into how we got here and the potential choices for policy makers. As historian Jim Tomlinson has argued, the twentieth century witnessed a gradual process of the ‘partial de-globalisation’ of British regions, with the declining influence of manufacturing and the growth of a more atomised service-sector economy. The discontents this has caused, exacerbated by the recent worldwide economic downturn, have been seized upon by parties such as the SNP and UKIP. Continue reading

Lessons From the 1960s for UK Immigration Debate

uk border

Andrew Thompson
Director, Centre for Imperial & Global History

[This article first appeared as ‘How to talk about immigration, by the 1960s politician who made it his life’s work’, Conversation, 18 November 2014]

As the Rochester and Strood by-election approaches, raising the chances of another UKIP politician entering parliament, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has warned against getting caught in an “arms race of rhetoric” about immigration. On the other hand though, Cooper has attacked liberals who don’t want to talk about immigration at all.

This recent escalation in the rhetoric on immigration is best understood not simply on its own terms but when put into a proper historical perspective. Ever since the 1960s, talk of immigration in Britain has played into negative politics – a politics of what is opposed and what we are against. The latest example of this tendency is that of the defence minister Michael Fallon, when he suggested that British towns were being “swamped” by migrants from Eastern Europe.

Whenever the debate about immigration intensifies the media invariably recalls the inflammatory speeches of Enoch Powell. We might however be much better off re-reading some of the speeches made by a lesser known politician of the 1960s. Maurice Foley isn’t a household name like Powell but he made talking about immigration the centre of his career. Continue reading

CFP: ‘The Local and the Global’, University of Exeter, 7 March 2015

Lori Lee Oates
History Department, University of Exeter

globe celeste

The Local and the Global

ASMCF- SSFH PG Study Day, University of Exeter

Saturday March 7th 2015

Call For Papers

Keynote Speaker: Dr Claire Eldridge (Southampton)

Planned Professional Development Sessions: archival research; social media for academia; publishing journal articles; the Viva; and from PhD to monograph.

Deadline for Submissions: 9 January 2015

‘Tout le Monde à Paris’, proclaimed a poster for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. The world on your doorstep; the global meets the local through a cultural conduit. A century later, and with the World Wide Web in your pocket, the global has never been more connected to the local. Conceptually these terms are antonymous: the local is specific, on a small scale, and often suggests civic or regional affiliations to a place; the global is universal, world-wide, and lacks definitive spatial rooting. Yet considering the local and the global as opposites may belie the potential impact that they can have upon one another.  Continue reading

Up to 52 fully-funded PhD Studentships in the Arts and Humanities Available for Sept. 2015

ExeterInterested in pursuing a PhD in imperial and global history at the University of Exeter? Consider applying through the SWW Doctoral Training Partnership.

Cross-posted from South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership

The South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP) is a collaboration of eight leading research universities and partners representing the arts, heritage, media and government sectors, working together to develop a new generation of arts and humanities researchers.

We are offering up to 52 fully-funded PhD studentships for entry in September 2015.

The SWW DTP is designed to lead a new generation of researchers into productive careers whether in academia or professional practice. We provide bespoke support and training tailored to your project and your career aspirations, enriched by the world-class expertise and state-of-the-art resources offered through the partnership. DTP students have unrivalled access to prestige organisations such as BBC Drama (Cardiff), BBC Factual (Bristol), English Heritage, the National Library of Wales, the National Trust and the Welsh National Opera, among others. Our students benefit from the Professional Arts and Humanities Researcher skills training programme, developing essential research and transferable skills linked to academic progression, personal and professional development. Continue reading

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

A mechanical postcard-form protest published by the Hungarian's Women's National Association, 1920, protesting the division of Hungaria by the Treaty of Trianon. A dial on the side of the card splits the country into its new political boundaries. Wofsonian

A mechanical postcard published by the Hungarian’s Women’s National Association, 1920, protesting the division of Hungaria by the Treaty of Trianon. A dial on the side of the card splits the country into its new political boundaries. Courtesy of Wofsonian

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the Great War’s global effects to ISIS’s anti-Western gold currency, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading

PhD Funding Available: Last Day to Register for AHRC Doctoral Training Information Day

ExeterDr. Stacey Hynd
Director of Postgraduate Research, History Department

If you are seeking PhD funding in the fields of World, Global, Imperial or Transnational History, please consider the following funding opportunities at the University of Exeter.

The Doctoral Training Partnership is hosting an Information Day at the National Museum of Wales on 24 November (registration closes on 10 Nov). If you cannot attend this information day, please feel free to contact the Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Stacey Hynd (, and she will answer any questions you have about our research community.

History at the University of Exeter has two research centres in the broad field of world history: the Centre for Imperial and Global History, and the Centre for War, State and Society. Both offer internationally-recognised supervision with geographical coverage from 30 staff across African, Asian (including Chinese), Middle Eastern, North American, Latin American, Imperial, and European history from early-modern to contemporary eras. The Centres have particular research interests in:

  • Globalisation’s past and present
  • Comparative empires and transnationalism
  • Humanitarianism, development and human rights
  • Law and colonialism
  • Political economy and the imperial state
  • Europe, decolonisation and the legacies of empire
  • The impact of armed conflict on society
  • Colonial warfare and counterinsurgency
  • Maritime history

Continue reading

Globalisation and the Roman World

Martin Pitts
Classics Department, University of Exeter
Associate Member, Centre for Imperial & Global History

pittscoverGlobalisation and the Roman World (2014), edited by myself and Miguel John Versluys (Leiden University), is a new book that examines the case for understanding the ancient Roman world as one of the earliest examples of globalisation. This is a controversial project, not least because many Roman historians and archaeologists feel that the word globalisation is inappropriate to use when discussing the ancient world. In their view, Rome was a completely different beast to the image of western capitalism which is frequently conflated with globalisation, and of course, the Roman world was never global in a literal sense.

Despite this reluctance to engage with globalisation, a group of archaeologists and historians feel there is sufficient mileage to explore the application of the concept to the Roman world in more detail, having for themselves overcome the initial objections of the critics. For these Romanists, a major impetus is to critically examine the possibilities of a new explanatory framework based on increasingly popular notions of connectivity and networks. Likewise, many felt dissatisfied with a state of affairs in which older ideas of Romanisation and imperialism had been deconstructed, but not adequately replaced with something better. At the same time, from the perspective of those contributors coming from outside the discipline, the exploration was overdue since ideas of Rome have long been (mis)appropriated in modern writings on globalisation. Continue reading

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History


Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From imperialist feminism to the meaning of ideology, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading

Empire: The Controversies of British Imperialism

MOOC pic

Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History launches a new, free online course.

We are delighted to announce that, starting in January 2015, we will be running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the history of the British Empire.

The British Empire was the largest empire ever seen. It ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and paved the way for today’s global economy. But British imperialism isn’t without controversy, and it continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians today.This free online course will help you understand why.

Continue reading

International Security: Is It as Bad as It Seems?

Cross-posted from RKT Exeter


A Lecture by Dr Jamie Shea, NATO
Date: 20 November 2014
Time: 18:00 to 19:45
Place: Alumni Auditorium

[Editor’s note: The talk is being hosted as part of the HASS Strategy Global Uncertainties theme, led by Professor Steve McCorriston, an Associate Member of the Centre for Imperial & Global History. The talk will be followed by a discussion led by Professor Doug Stokes, also a Centre Associate.]

Certainly, security challenges appear to be impacting on the NATO countries faster, and in less tractable forms, than in recent decades when NATO was able to deal more or less with one major challenge at a time; be it Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan or Libya. Recent events have given many people the impression that the world is sliding into disorder and in some places (such as the Middle East) even anarchy.

Now the Alliance has to return to its core task of collective territorial defence in Eastern Europe, vis-à-vis a resurgent Russia, while being ready for more crisis management and defence capacity-building in the Middle East and North Africa to help the fragile states in these regions cope with the challenge of the Islamic State and other Jihadist movements.  Continue reading

Exeter’s Dr. Singh Featured in BBC’s ‘Soldiers of the Empire’

Singh headshot

Dr. Gajendra Singh

BBC Radio 4 recently featured the Centre’s Dr. Gajendra Singh in its ‘Soldiers of Empire’ series, ‘The Fight for Fairyland’ (especially at 17 minutes and 26 minutes). This episode:

tells the story of the Indian Army on the Western Front, from disembarkation in Marseilles where the troops were greeted by excited crowds, to the grim reality of the trenches. Ill-equipped and inadequately trained for industrial combat, they nonetheless resolutely held one third of the British frontline between October and December 1914.

Continue reading

Introducing: Centre Associates

Andrew Thompson_1000785_0Andrew Thompson
Director, Centre for Imperial & Global History
University of Exeter

Though based in the Department of History, Exeter’s Centre for Imperial & Global History is very keen to reach out into other areas of the College and the wider University. We share interests with a number of colleagues based in other departments who work on aspects of the history of empires as well as different dimensions of global history. The possibilities this opens up for collaborative work, for productive exchanges across disciplines, and for supporting one another’s seminars and conferences, are striking. We have recently invited a number of such colleagues to join us as Associate Members (appended below). Many of them are already in conversation with us, and we look forward to continuing these conversations in the future and in some cases to joint projects emerging out of them. If there are other scholars who would be interested in linking with us who we have not yet made contact with, and who are not on the list below, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Centre Associates include: Continue reading

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

seuss isolation

One of many Dr. Seuss anti-isolationist cartoons from the early 1940s. PM Magazine/Dr. Seuss

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From MI5′s Cold War obsession with historians, to the myth of American isolationism, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading