The Imperial & Global Forum is the blog of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the History Department, University of Exeter. The Centre brings together the strong research expertise of the University’s eminent imperial historians. It comprises of one of the largest groups of imperial and global historians currently working in the UK. Our blog offers a dynamic exploration of imperial history, and we welcome guest submissions. Take part in the discussion by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual author, and do not represent the opinions of the Centre for Imperial & Global History or the editor.

Centre Staff

Dr. Ana Antic, a social and cultural historian whose research focuses on the history of modern Europe and the Balkans, history of war and violence, and history of psychiatry. Before joining Exeter, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Birkbeck College. She received her PhD in history from Columbia University. Her first monograph, Therapeutic fascism: Experiencing the violence of the Nazi New Order in Yugoslavia, has been published by Oxford University Press, and her articles have appeared in a variety of journals, such as the Journal of Social History, Social History of Medicine, History of Psychiatry, Contemporary European History, and East European Politics and Societies.

Dr. Silvia Espelt Bombin obtained a Licenciatura in History and a DEA in Latin American History from the Universitat de Barcelona. She then moved to the the UK, where she completed a PhD in History (2011) at Newcastle University, funded by the AHRC and supervised by Prof. Diana Paton. After a spell working outside academia while an Honorary Research Fellow at St Andrews, she obtained a Leverhulme Trust SAS (2016-2017) which she spent at the CHAM in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Emily Bridger, a social and cultural historian of modern South Africa, with particular research interests in histories of gender, violence, and memory during the apartheid and post-apartheid periods. Her first monograph, Girls against Apartheid: Gender, Youth, and South Africa’s Liberation Struggle will be published with James Currey in early 2021. As of January 2020 she will be taking up a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to explore the longer history of sexual violence in South Africa. Her research predominantly uses oral history interviews to access voices excluded from South Africa’s archives, and to understand the relationship between the past and the present, and the personal and collective. Her previous research has appeared in Gender & HistoryJournal of World History and the Journal of Southern African Studies.

Prof. Nandini Chatterlee  works on law and cultural exchanges in the British and Mughal empires – with particular attention to religious identities, family formation, and the styling of selves. Her articles have appeared in the American Historical ReviewComparative Studies in Society and History, and Modern Asian Studies, among others. Her two books are The Making of Indian Secularism: Empire, Law and Christianity, 1830-1960 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and Negotiating Mughal Law: A Family of Landlords across Three Indian Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which is Open Access.

Dr. Gemma Clark is a historian of Modern Britain and Ireland, with particular research and teaching interests in violence. Her first book, Everyday Violence in the Irish Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the conflict (1922–23) over the Anglo-Irish Treaty. She is also writing a history of arson in Ireland since c.1800, which traces the development of criminal fire setting as a social and political protest tool, and contextualises Ireland’s apparent propensity for non-lethal property damage over other forms of (interpersonal) violence.

Dr. Gareth Curless, an ESRC Future Research Leader whose research focuses on the history of labour and trade unions in the British Empire, also with a broader interest in conflict and state building in post-colonial Africa. His doctoral thesis examined the emergence of organised labour activism in Sudan, aspects of which have appeared in Civil Wars and the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. He is also co-convener with Dr. Stacey Hynd of the Global & Imperial History Network for early career scholars.

Dr. Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley specialises in the French Revolution (1789-1799), the concept of ‘revolutionary justice’, and the mechanics and impact of the Terror of 1793-4. He is also interested in eighteenth-century French and European legal history more generally, and in integrating colonial angles of study into European history (in particular, the Haitian Revolution of the 1790s).

Dr. James Davey is a historian of Britain and its maritime world, focusing on the Royal Navy in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He believes that naval and maritime history is central to understanding the past, and offers opportunities to engage with a remarkable range of other historiographies. His research and teaching look beyond the traditional remit of maritime history to analyse the political, economic, social and cultural forces which created the navy, and which were in turn shaped by its activities. His book, In Nelson’s Wake: The Navy and the Napoleonic Wars was published by Yale University Press in 2015 and placed the Royal Navy’s actions in these broader contexts. He is also a member of the University of Exeter’s Centre for Maritime Historical Studies and tweet some of his historical musings at @drjamesdavey Prior to working at Exeter he was a curator at the National Maritime Museum.

Dr. Ryan Hanley is a historian of race and slavery in modern Britain, with particular interests in the contributions and perspectives of people of African descent and the intersection of race and class, from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. He has published on black intellectuals, cultures of slavery and abolition, and early examples of racial populism in Britain. His current book project, provisionally entitled ‘Slavery and the British Working Class: Race, Populism and Empire, 1787-1838’, looks at the relationship between the abolition debates and the emergence of working-class identities in Britain. This follows on from his first monograph, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c.1770-1830, published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. This book traces the lives and works of eight key intellectuals of the African diaspora whose works were first published in Britain.

Dr. Miguel Hernandez studied for a BA, MA, and PhD in History at the University of Exeter. In 2011 he was awarded funding by the AHRC to carry out research into the 1920s Ku Klux Klan, its role as a fraternity and its turbulent relationship with the Freemasons. He was also awarded a fellowship at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in 2013, where he was invited to use their extensive archives on the Klan to advance his research. His first book, The Ku Klux Klan and Freemasonry in 1920s America, was published in 2019. His current research focuses on examining how white supremacist and nativist organizations perceived and interacted with Mexican immigrants and Mexican-American citizens in the period before the 1930s.

Dr. Stacey Hynd (Centre co-director), whose broad interests lay in African gender histories, violence and warfare in Africa, and in imperial and global history. She has published numerous articles on these subjects, and her current book project is entitled Imperial Gallows: Capital Punishment, Violence and Colonial Rule in British Africa, c. 1908-68. She is also co-convener with Dr. Gareth Curliss of the Global & Imperial History Network for early career scholars.

Dr. Hao Gao is interested in the encounters between the British and Chinese empires in early processes of global interconnectedness, especially the mutual understandings and misunderstandings between Britain and China from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, and has published numerous articles in both English and Chinese journals.

Dr. Vivienne Xiangwei Guo studied international politics at Peking University, Waseda University, and the London School of Economics and Political Science for her bachelor and master degrees. In 2015, she obtained her doctoral degree in history from King’s College London. Between 2014 and 2016, she worked as a research associate and taught modern Chinese history at the University of Cologne in Germany. And in September 2016, she joined the University of Exeter as a lecturer in modern Chinese history. Her research interests primarily lie in the social and political history of the Republican era, especially pertaining to the many and various political networks, societies and groups outside the aegis of the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party. She is interested more widely in Chinese intellectual and gender histories, in particular the circulation of ideas and movements in a global context.

Professor James Mark‘s research addresses the social and cultural history of state socialism in central-eastern Europe, the  politics of memory in the area during both socialism and post-socialism, or aims to connect the region to broader global histories and processes through transnational and comparative methods. Among many other publications, his The Unfinished Revolution: Making Sense of the Communist Past in Central-Eastern Europe (Yale University Press, 2010) was shortlisted for the 2011 Longman History Today Book Prize, and chosen as one of the ‘best books of 2011’ by Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Marc-William Palen (Editor) is the founding editor of the Imperial & Global Forum. He specialises in the intersection of British and American imperialism within the broader history of globalization since c. 1800. His first book, The ‘Conspiracy’ of Free Trade: The Anglo-American Struggle over Empire and Economic Globalisation, 1846-1896 (Cambridge University Press, 2016), made the Financial Times‘s 2016 summer reading list. Other scholarly publications on Anglo-American imperialism and globalization include, among others, articles in Diplomatic History, the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, and the Historical Journal. He is the co-director (with David Thackeray and Andrew Dilley) of the History & Policy Global Economics and History Forum in London. Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

Prof. Catriona Pennell, a historian of 19th and 20th century British and Irish history with a particular focus on the social and cultural history of the First World War and British imperial activity in the Middle East since the 1880s. Her most recent book is A Kingdom United: Popular Responses to the Outbreak of the First World War in Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Dr. Tobias Rupprecht focuses upon transcontinental transfers and exchanges during the Cold War. He is especially interested in the role of both Latin America and Russia in the global history of the late 20th century. He has recently finished a book manuscript, contracted to appear with Cambridge University Press in 2015, which explores Latin American encounters with the Soviet Union and the ways in which arts and culture shaped the way common people in the so-called ‘Second’ and ‘Third Worlds’ made sense of the Global Cold War. In a follow up project, he is currently examining the impact of Chilean economic reforms under the military dictatorship on the transformation of Eastern European states around 1989.

Dr. Gajendra Singh (Centre co-director) studies the histories of colonialism in South Asia, with particular interests in the hybridities of Empire – of the networks of peoples and ideas that could make even the most marginal individuals polyglot, multicultural bodies. His previous work explored the war testimonies of Indian soldiers during the two World Wars. His current work is an investigation of communities of migrant Indian labourers across the Pacific and their connection to revolutionary movements at home and abroad. His recent monograph is The Testimonies of Indian Soldiers and Two World Wars: Between Self and Sepoy.

Dr. Ljubica Spaskovska‘s research interests are in the political and socio-cultural history of internationalism, including development, decolonisation and histories of generations, while providing important new perspectives on the (re) making of anti-imperial Europe and approaches to European-Global South relations. Her current and recent projects have addressed interwar student internationalism and the Spanish Civil War, the Non-Aligned Movement and the end of European Empires, the socio-cultural history of internationalism between South-Eastern Europe and Africa/Asia, and both the collapse of state socialism and the history of Yugoslavia, in a global perspective. Her first monograph The Last Yugoslav Generation: the Rethinking of Youth Politics and Cultures in Late Socialism (Manchester University Press) was published in April 2017. A paperback edition came out in August 2019.

Prof. David Thackeray, whose current AHRC-funded research explores Britain’s global trade relationships, the idea of ‘Britishness’, and how these ideas were challenged by an increased globalisation of trade, decolonisation, and the competing appeal of cosmopolitanism. He has published in the Historical Journal and Historical Research, and his most recent book is  Conservatism for the democratic age: Conservative cultures and the challenge of mass politics in early twentieth century England (Manchester University Press, 2013).He is the co-director (with Marc-William Palen and Andrew Dilley) of the History & Policy Global Economics and History Forum in London. Follow on Twitter @d_thackeray

Professor Martin Thomas, currently working on the causes and consequences of the collapse of French and British colonial empires in Africa and Asia. He is especially interested in patterns of decolonization and the incidence or avoidance of colonial conflict after 1918. His most recent book is Violence and Colonial Order: Police, Workers and Protest in the European Colonial Empires, 1918-40 (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Professor Richard Toye, who specialises in British and international political and economic history in the period since 1867. His most recent books include The Roar of the Lion: The Untold Story of Churchill’s World War II Speeches (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013), and Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made (Macmillan, 2010). Follow on Twitter @RichardToye

Dr. Dora Vargha received her PhD in History from Rutgers University and before joining Exeter she was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and a postdoctoral fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. Her work focuses on questions of global health and biomedical research in the Cold War era, using the locality of Eastern Europe as a starting point.Her book, Polio Across the Iron Curtain: Hungary’s Cold War with an Epidemic, was published in 2018 with Cambridge University Press. She has written on the global infrastructure of diphtheria antitoxin, the politics of vaccination in Eastern Europe, hospital care of disabled children in communist cotexts and about shifting epidemic narratives in historical analysis. She is now embarking on a new research project, Socialist Medicine: An Alternative Global Health History.

Dr. Rebecca Williams specialises in the history of medicine in modern South Asia, particularly the politics of health and development in post-independence India. Her PhD research addressed the establishment of population control programmes in 1950s India, examining the role of the Indian state and of transnational organisations.

Associate Members

Dr. Gregorio Bettiza (Lecturer, Politics Department) works on International Relations (IR) theory, religion and civilizational analysis, non-liberal norms, and identities, with a particular area focus on American foreign policy, transatlantic relations and the Middle East. Before joining Exeter, he was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-2014) at the European University Institute (EUI).

Professor Regenia Gagnier (Professor, English Department) is Editor of the Global Circulation Project and Associate Editor of the journals Feminist Economics and Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities. Her books have shaped the study of Victorian and modern culture with highly influential work on decadence, aesthetics and aestheticism, lifewriting and subjectivity, economics, individualism, and globalization. Her most recent book is Individualism, Decadence and Globalization: On the Relationship of Part to Whole, 1859-1920 (2010).

Dr. William Gallois (Senior Lecturer, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies) leads the Middle East Humanities Research Cluster and specializes in the history of colonial North Africa and, more generally, relations between the European and Arab-Islamic worlds from the medieval to the modern period. His most recent book is A History of Violence in the Early Algerian Colony (2013).

Prof. David Inglis (Professor, Sociology Department) works in the areas of sociology of culture, cultural sociology, sociology of art and aesthetics, sociology of food, history of sociology, classical sociology, modern social theory, sociology of the ancient world and cosmopolitanism. He is the founding editor of the journal Cultural Sociology. His publications include the 4-volume Cosmopolitanism (2010), and, with D Gimlin, The Globalization of Food (2009).

Professor Elena Isayev (Associate Professor, Classics Department) is a historian who uses the ancient Mediterranean, and in particular Italy, as a way to explore questions about society, belonging and perception. Her most recent book is Inside Ancient Lucania: Dialogues in History and Archaeology (2007).

Professor Steve McCorriston (Professor, Business School) is Professor of Agricultural Economics. He has acted as a consultant to the OECD, the UN FAO, DEFRA as well as private organisations. He is currently coordinating the Transparency of Food Pricing (TRANSFOP) project, a €1 Million EU-wide project funded by the European Commission, the Consortium involving 13 universities and research institutes across 10 EU countries.

Dr. James Onley (Senior Lecturer, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies) specializes in Gulf history, politics, society, and culture.  Prior to entering academia, he served in the Canadian Army for 12 years and was a UN peacekeeper in Iraq at the end of the Iran–Iraq War (1988). He is editor of the Journal of Arabian Studies and book series editor of Britain and the World. Among his many publications is his forthcoming book India and the Gulf: Trade, Society, and Empire, 1507-1947 (2016).

Dr. Martin Pitts (Senior Lecturer, Classics Department) is an archaeologist whose research investigates the consumption and circulation of artefacts as indicators of historical globalising processes, in terms of both overarching mechanisms and their impacts on local cultural practices. His most recent book, co-authored with MJ Versluys, is Globalisation and the Roman world: World history, connectivity and material culture (2014).

Dr Martin Robson (Lecturer, Strategy and Security Institute) works on the formulation and implementation of British policy and grand strategy. His historical work encompasses numerous aspects of eighteenth and nineteenth century naval and military history in a global context including aspects of seapower, joint operations and economic warfare. His publications include, among many others, A History of the Royal Navy: The Napoleonic Wars (London: I.B.Tauris, 2014).

Professor James Ryan (Associate Professor, Geography Department) is a historical and cultural geographer. His research interests lie in three main areas: Geographies of colonialism and post-colonialism; photography, visual culture and geography; and the history of geographical knowledge and science. Among his recent publications is his co-authored Power and Dominion: Photography and the Imperial Durbars of British India (2010).

Professor Doug Stokes (Professor, Politics Department) specialises in US foreign policy, international security and transatlantic grand strategy. His most recent co-authored monograph is Global Energy Security and American Hegemony (2010). He is Director of Exeter’s Centre for Advanced International Studies (CAIS).

Dr. Paul Young (Senior Lecturer, English Department) His research and teaching interests focus predominantly upon the cultural dimensions of imperialism and globalization in the Victorian period. His first book is Globalization and the Great Exhibition: The Victorian New World Order (2009).

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  1. What a distinguished lot of lectures you all are, but I could not aford to buy all the books sugested, but will print out what I can.

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