The dynamic community of researchers within our History Division delves into the very essence of human identity, both at an individual level and as communities, and explores the relationship between history, heritage and the present.
Research within the Division explores heritage and cultures on a global scale and spans a millennium. Our academics’ expertise ranges from meteorology in medieval times to punk politics and British youth culture in the 20th century, and from the fiscal origins of the French Revolution to politics and popular culture in Egypt.
We have particular strength in the field of political cultures and ideologies, gender, societies and their material cultures, emotion, devotion and belief, and the medical humanities. Our academics successfully strive to engage and inspire the wider public with their work to drive better understanding of research and to influence change.
For specific enquiries, please contact:
Research Division Lead
Telephone: +44 (0)118 378 5376
Studying the past to inform the future
Professor Emily West is exploring the past to help understand and tackle issues of social justice and racism. Focusing on enslaved women, where archival and historical sources are scarce, Emily has examined past events to explore different viewpoints that can inform current debates. In 2016 she hosted an international AHRC-funded conference, ‘Mothering Slaves: Motherhood, Childlessness and the Care of Children from Slavery to Emancipation’.
Subcultures that influence politics and society
Professor Matt Worley’s work explores the influence of subcultures on politics and wider society. He has used a participatory research approach to investigate the punk era between 1977 and 1984 highlighting how subcultures can help to shape the identities, politics and cultural expressions of the youth of the time. Matt helped to set up the Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change, which holds regular symposiums and curates a book series on subcultures and social change for the publishers Palgrave Macmillan.
Celebrating 100 years of pioneering women in politics
Dr Jacqui Turner is the UK’s expert on Nancy Astor. Jacqui’s research in the archives at University of Reading Special Collections is uncovering untold stories of Lady Astor, the first female to take her seat in UK Parliament in 1919. Jacqui’s work has informed the UK Parliament’s centenary celebrations of The Representation of the People Act, 1918, the Voice and Vote exhibition in Westminster Hall, London, and the #Vote100 project. In 2018/19, Jacqui is leading a year-long celebration of Nancy Astor - #Astor100, raising public awareness of her life and work and her wider legacy. The project is in partnership with the people of Plymouth, the National Trust at Cliveden and the Houses of Parliament.
Social listening: Analysing the Middle East
Dr Dina Rezk is a specialist in Middle Eastern History. Her research explores significant events that have taken place across the Middle East during the twentieth century and seeks to understand how modern culture and social media influenced recent upheavals such as the ‘Arab Spring’. Her findings are informing the work of UK Cabinet Office, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, NATO and the US Department of Defence.
For the latest news and events relating the the History Research Division, visit our blog.
Our Gender History Research Cluster, led by Dr Heike Schmidt, explores gender history, women's history, the history of sexuality and the history of 'manliness' and masculinity.
Dr Emily West is co–investigator of the international research network funded by an AHRC network grant entitled ‘Mothering Slaves: Comparative Perspectives on Motherhood, Childlessness and the Care of Children in Atlantic Slave Societies’. This network draws together scholars who are investigating the lives of enslaved women in Brazil, the United States and the Caribbean.
Newton, H. (2018) Misery to Mirth: Recovery from Illness in Early Modern England. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198779025
Rezk, D. (2018) Egypt's spy chiefs: servants or leaders? In: Maddrell, P., Mark, S., Moran, C. and Iordanou, I. (eds.) Intelligence Leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 9781626165212
Turner, J., McCarthy, H., Bartley, P., Gay, O. and Sutherland, D. (2018) The Tomb 1918-1963: the first female MPs. In: Voice and Vote: Celebrating 100 Years of Votes for Women. History of Parliament, London, pp. 80-86. ISBN 9781906670702
Deb Roy, R. (2017) Malarial Subjects: empire, medicine, and nonhumans in British India, 1820-1909. Science in History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9781316771617
Rist, R. (2017) Innocent III and the Roman Veronica: papal PR or Eucharistic icon? In: Murphy, A., Kessler, H. L., Petolettti, M., Duffy, E. and Milanese, G. (eds.) The European Fortune of the Roman Veronica in the Middle Ages. Brepols, Turnhout, pp. 114-125. ISBN 9782503580005 (Convivium Supplementum II)
Worley M (2017) Bloody revolutions, fascist dreams, anarchy and peace: Crass, rondos and the politics of punk, 1977-84. Cambridge University Press. ISBN
Cowling, C; Pereira Toledo Machado, M; Paton D & West, E. (2016) Mothering slaves: comparative perspectives on motherhood, childlessness, and the care of children in Atlantic slave societies
Willimott A (2016). Living the revolution: Urban Communes & Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780198725824