Latest stories from the Department

Latest news about the Department and its members, such as new appointments, publications, book launches, awards received, speaking engagements, media coverage and standings in world and national ranks.

Latest news


The Blue Frontier longlisted for book prize

Dr Ronald C. Po’s latest book, The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire, has been longlisted by the International Convention of Asia Scholars for the 2019 Humanities English Edition book prize. The prize aims to create an international focus for academic publications on Asia, thus increasing their worldwide visibility. Learn more about the prize.

Ronald C. Po

Dr Ronald C. Po on Shi Lang

Dr Po has just released a new article in Modern Asian Studies (53:4). “Hero or Villain? The Evolving Legacy of Shi Lang in China and Taiwan”discusses Shi Lang, the commander-in-chief who led the Qing navy to annex Taiwan in 1683, and how he is essential to our understanding of the cross-strait tension and the murky outlook for its future. By analysing most of the previous appraisals and examinations of Shi Lang, Dr Po reveals the historical narratives of this admiral as being continually under construction in a shifting and mutually reinforcing process from the Qing dynasty to the present day.


New publication

Dr Kristina Spohr released a new co-edited book with Professor Daniel S. Hamilton (John Hopkins University SAIS) at the beginning of May. On the 20th anniversary of NATO enlargement. Open Door: NATO and Euro-Atlantic Security After the Cold War takes us back to the decade when the momentous decision to open itself to new members and new missions was made. The book, with a foreword by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, features chapters by former senior officials from the United States, Russia, Western and Eastern Europe who were directly involved in the decisions of that time. They are joined by scholars who have been able to draw on newly declassified archival sources to revisit NATO’s evolving role in the 1990s. Order a hardprint copy via Brookings Institution Press. Watch the book launch at SAIS on 7 May.


Dr Kristina Spohr on The Zeitgeist podcast

On 1 May, Dr Spohr spoke with Jeff Rathke, President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, on the “hinge” years of the Cold War in Europe from the late 80s to the early 90s and how decisions made then have ramifications today.  Listen to “Legacy of the ‘Hinge’ Years: 1990 to Today” here.


April 2019

Dr Megan Black

New article by Dr Megan Black in Modern American History

The article, “Scene/Unseen: Mining for ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’’s Critique of American Capitalist Exploitation in Mexico” (2:1), discusses the film’s little-recognised but vibrant critique of American power and capitalist exploitation in twentieth-century Mexico. This analysis lies below the surface, buried in the subtext of the film’s onscreen action and hidden beneath layers of its production and censorship. Read it with open access here.


The Global Interior wins second award

Dr Megan Black's book, The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power received the George Perkins Marsh Prize for best book in environmental history in 2018. The prize is awarded by the American Society of Environmental Historians (ASEH) and hers was selected from 95 books also submitted. This is the second prize Dr Black has received for her debut book. Earlier this year, The Global Interior was the winner of the 2019 British Association for American Studies Book Prize.


Keynote lecture at Oxford

Dr Ronald C. Po gave his first keynote lecture entitled “China and the Sea: Three Fallacies” on 23 April at the Third Annual China Humanities Graduate Conference, Resistance and Acceptance: Getting China Moving (University of Oxford). His talk offered three specific avenues of exploration to reinforce the proposition that the Qing was integrated into the sea through its naval development and customs institutionalisation throughout the long eighteenth century. He also argued that it is time to move beyond our understanding of maritime China from a “Southeast China centrism”.


New publication by Dr Kirsten Schulze

Dr Kirsten Schulze, historian of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Southeast Asia, has a new article out in Contemporary Southeast Asia. “From Ambon to Poso: Comparative and Evolutionary Aspects of Local Jihad in Indonesia” was released in April's special issue on militant Islam in Southeast Asia (41:1) which Dr Schulze also co-edited with Dr Julie Chernov Hwang (Goucher College, USA). Access the issue here. Free for LSE users here.

Anna Cant

Staff news

We are pleased to announce that Dr Anna Cant, current LSE Fellow in the department, has been appointed Assistant Professor and will be taking up her new post from 1 September 2019. Dr Cant is a historian of Latin America with expertise in twentieth-century politics, cultural history and rural development. She gained her PhD in History at the University of Cambridge (2015) and is currently revising the thesis as a book titled Land Without Masters: Agrarian Reform and Political Change in Peru, 1968-75

Professor Janet Hartley

Professor Janet Hartley at Yale University

From 11-12 April, Professor Hartley participated in the Russian Grand Strategy in Historical Perspective Workshop at Yale University. The workshop was hosted by the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and Professor Hartley presented a paper on “Imperial Russian and European Great Power Status”.


Visit to NATO Headquarters and SHAPE

Senior Visiting Research Fellow Dr Michael Reynolds, Visiting Professor Dr Victoria Phillips and MSc History of International Relations student Muna Hassan visited the NATO Headquarters and Shape in Brussels at the beginning of April. Students were invited by the Atlantic Council United Kingdom to meet with representatives of the Public Diplomacy Division – Engagements Section of NATO as part of NATO’s continuing interest in developing student’s interest in their work, particularly in cyber security. They were given the opportunity to question NATO staff on aspects of NATO organisation and policy, giving our LSE staff and student attendees a unique experience and an opportunity to gain insight into a highly successful organisation which has helped maintain peace in Europe since 1945.


Dr Spohr's latest events

Dr Kristina Spohr, currently the Inaugural Helmut Schmidt Distinguished Chair at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), has recently participated in two events of note. The first was a symposium commemorating Helmut Schmidt from 25-27 March called “Entangling the Pacific and Atlantic Worlds: Past and Present”, organised by the German Historical Institute Washington and ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin, und Gerd Bucerius, in cooperation with the Institute of European Studies & Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. On the second day, she discussed “Helmut Schmidt: The Global Statesmean” with Christoph von Marschall and with Schmidt’s companions Ronny Chan (Hang Lung Properties Hong Kong), Theo Sommer (former Editor-in-Chief of Die Zeit), and Manfred Lahnstein (former Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Germany). Read more about this symposium. The second event of note was a panel discussion on International Institutions, as part of a conference entitled “The Future of Statecraft” on 2 April, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Henry A Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS. The conference was part of the Future Strategy Forum, an initiative to connect scholars who research national security with its leading practitioners. More details on this conference and a recording of the proceedings can be found here. Dr Spohr's upcoming book Post Wall, Post Square: Rebuilding the world after 1989 will be released later this year.

March 2019


Staff news

Dr David Motadel has successfully passed Major Review with promotion to Associate Professor, effective from August 2019. He has also been awarded the Promotions Teaching Prize, given for outstanding teaching performance above and beyond that required to pass Major Review.

Ronald C. Po

Dr Ronald C. Po at AAS Conference

Dr Po organised a panel at this year’s Association of Asian Studies (AAS) conference in Denver, Colorado from 21-24 March. The panel, entitled “The New Qing History: A Maritime Approach”, proposed to study the Qing dynasty in the long eighteenth century from a maritime angle in an approach framed as the new Qing maritime history (haishang xin Qingshi). Together with five senior and junior scholars from Stanford University, Northwestern University, Brandeis University, University of Akron and the University of Birmingham, Dr Po contended that the Qing administration was attentive and deliberate in developing maritime policy.


The Global Interior wins book award

Dr Megan Black's new book The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power (Harvard University Press, 2018) has won the annual British Association for American Studies (BAAS) prize for best book. The prize committee commented that this was an accomplished account of the US Interior Department’s support for extractive capitalism in the US and the wider world, offering a highly original analysis of how federal bureaucrats employed by the US Geological Survey, the Bureau of Mines, and other Interior agencies served the needs of the state, settler colonialism, and corporate capital on the expanding mineral frontier.


Islam and Nazi Germany's War French translation released to rave reviews

The French translation of Dr David Motadel’s book Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (Harvard University Press, 2014) was released in February 2019. Dr Motadel has already received positive reviews, including in Le Figaro (13 February), L’Obs (14 February) and in Libération (20 February). The book was also cover story in Tel Quel (1 March), which published a dossier of articles on the book. Islam and Nazi Germany’s War is the first comprehensive account of the history of Muslims under Nazi rule in the Second World War. It reveals Berlin’s ambitious attempts to build an alliance with the Islamic world.


Dr Imaobong Umoren’s book shortlisted for prize

Race Women Internationalists: Activist-Intellectuals and Global Freedom has been shortlisted for a Pauli Murray Book Prize in Black Intellectual History by the African American Intellectual History Society. Released in May 2018 with University of California Press, the book explores how a group of Caribbean and African American women in the early and mid-twentieth century traveled the world to fight colonialism, fascism, sexism, and racism.

February 2019


Dr Roham Alvandi quoted in The New York Times

Dr Alvandi, historian of Modern Middle East, was quoted in The New York Times on 27 February in an article about the “resignation” of Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Dr Alvandi comments that the role of the Foreign Ministry “has been sidelined to such an extent when it comes to Syria and Iraq and all the regional security issues that it’s really embarrassing”. In the Trump era, the Foreign Ministry’s remit has grown even smaller, as their function “has essentially been cut down to managing Iran’s relations with Europe”. Read the full article.


History at LSE 6th place in the world

We are extremely pleased to announce that the Department has improved its rank in the QS World University Rankings. In the latest QS World University History Subject Table for 2019, History at LSE jumped one place to 6th overall in the world (in 2018, it ranked 7th place), ahead of Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, UCLA and Chicago. In the UK and in  Europe, History at LSE continues to rank third, behind Oxford and Cambridge, but ahead of UCL, KCL and Leiden.


Staff news

The Department is thrilled to welcome Dr Dina Gusejnova (University of Sheffield) as our newest faculty member. She will join us as Assistant Professor of Modern European History starting 1 September 2019. Her research focuses on German political thought in transnational perspective. In her first monograph, European Elites and Ideas of Empire, 1917-57 (Cambridge University Press, 2016, she explores the cultural afterlife of fading empires. In a recent article, "Changes of status in states of political uncertainty: Towards a theory of derecognition" in European Journal of Social Theory, she proposes a theoretical framework for thinking about ways in which political transitions involve former holders of power. Her current interests include the cultural and intellectual history of migration and conflicts in twentieth-century central Europe, and the intellectual history of statelessness.


International History students featured on BBC2

Our undergraduate students were featured on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys (series 10, episode 13), which aired on 20 February. They chatted with Michael Portillo about the founding principles of the LSE. Watch the full episode on BBC iPlayer. Our students' segment starts at 19m18s.

Ronald C. Po

Dr Ronald C. Po participates in LSESU HKPASS Forum

Dr Po served as the Academic Chair for the 2019 LSE Forum organised by the Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society on 17 February. The LSE Forum is an annual debate competition hosted by the LSESU HKPASS, where students from universities across the UK gather to discuss and debate on some of the most contentious challenges faced by Hong Kong.

January 2019


Professor Steven Casey book award interview

Professor Casey was interviewed in the January issue of Historiography in Mass Communication (5:1) about his American Journalism Historian Association Book of the Year Award received last year for The War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War against Nazi Germany (Oxford University Press). The book provides new insights into what American war correspondents witnessed, what they were allowed to publish, and how their reports shaped the home front’s perception of World War II. Read the interview.

Dr Imaobong Umoren

Dr Imaobong Umoren wins AHRC Network Grant

Dr Imaobong Umoren has won funding as a Co-Investigator on an AHRC Network Grant on Black Female Intellectuals in Historical and Contemporary Context. The project will facilitate interdisciplinary and cross-national dialogue among scholars and activist in the fields of literary studies, history, politics, and visual culture from the UK, US, Australia, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa working on transatlantic black female intellectuals (both from an historical and contemporary perspective) in the black diaspora. The project will also work with race equality ThinkTank, the Runnymede Trust and the partnership project, History and Policy. Dr Umoren will be working with Dr Becky Fraser from UEA who is the PI.


New publication by MSc student Emily Gregg

MSc History of International Relations student Emily Gregg, published a chapter in new book, Voices of Latin America, released by Latin America Bureau. “The Student Revolution” addresses the legacy of the region's dictatorships on its education systems and how students are changing that. Over the past three years, Emily has been volunteering for the Latin America Bureau, a charity made up of a group of journalists, academics and activists who write about human rights issues and grassroots activism in the region to provide a platform for voices who do not usually get heard in UK.