History research at Reading delivers depth and breadth, from medieval to modern history across European, Asian, African and American continents. Since 2014, we have proactively internationalised our work to study histories outside of Britain and continental Europe. We have developed new ways of thinking and working through cross- and interdisciplinary research focusing on gender, subaltern peoples neglected in traditional narratives, health, science and culture.
Our strengths are gathered into four research clusters:
- Emotion, devotion and belief: Our work explores the relationship between history, heritage and the present. Topics include history of the Papacy, Jewish-Christian relations, religious belief and political ideas in the High and Late Middle Ages, and meteorology in medieval times.
- Gender history: We develop historical perspectives on gender, how people understand it and why those understandings change. Topics include gender in Africa, women and the miners’ strike, motherhood and Atlantic slavery, and women and the memories of US slavery.
- Health humanities: This cluster draws together diverse views and experiences of illness, disability, and treatment in different times, place and culture. Key issues addressed include definitions of health and illness, the relationship between disease, disability, and disfigurement, experiences of surgical intervention, locations of medical care, and animal history, disease and colonialism.
- Revolutions and utopias: This cluster focuses on the social and political history that underpin modern societies. Topics include modern British culture and politics, the USA in the era of the Cold War, politics and popular culture in Egypt, political polarization in the English Civil War, the politics of English protest music, the histories of British landscapes, and youth subcultures.
Our work is supported by University networks and partnerships:
- The University’s Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Health Humanities provides a forum for work with Archaeology, Biological Sciences, English Literature, Pharmacy and Psychology.
- The University’s partnership with the British Museum was established in 2018 to develop research collaborations in advance of the opening in 2023 of the British Museum’s Archaeological Research Collection, based at the University’s Thames Valley Science Park.
- The Digital Humanities Hub is a collaborative in-house project to create a sustainable base that will promote innovation through digital tools, methodologies, and engagement with developments in Digital Humanities as a field.
Staff and doctoral students
We submitted 18 staff in UOA26 (16.8 FTE), comprising 8 Professors, 9 Associate Professors and 1 Lecturer.
Over the assessment period for REF2021, 36 students were awarded their doctorate. We typically have about 32 PhD students at any time (from 7 countries in 2019/20).
We are members of the AHRC’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership which provides funding and other opportunities to research students.
Selected examples of national and international recognition between 2014 and 2020:
- British Academy Rising Star Award: Dr Dina Rezk (2017)
- British Academy Rising Star Award: Dr Andy Willimott (2017)
- AHRC/BBC3 New Generation Thinker: Dr Dina Rezk (2019)
Impact case studies
Examples of the impact our research has had at local, national and global levels.