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

Katherine Arnold

Four International History students received Partnership PhD Mobility Bursaries

Four of the PhD students in the Department of International History have received Partnership PhD Mobility Bursaries. This scheme enables LSE PhD students to undertake research for two to three months at one of LSE’s institutional partners: University of California (Berkeley), the University of Cape Town, Columbia University (New York), Fudan University (Shanghai), National University of Singapore, Peking University and Sciences Po (Paris). The scheme offers a wonderful opportunity to visit another institution, to benefit from additional research resources (archival and advisory) and to experience the academic culture and professional networks of another country. Our International History PhD recipients for 2018-19 are: Katherine Arnold (pictured) who will be spending next term at the University of Cape Town. She is conducting research on ‘Between Europe and the World: German Naturalists, the Cape Colony, and the British Empire, 1781-1851’; Molly Avery, University of California, Berkeley, ‘Transnational Anticommunist Networks in Central America in the Late 1970s and Early 1980s’; Fadi Esber, Sciences Po, Paris, ‘The Politics of Partition in French Mandate Syria, 1920-1936’; and Tom Wilkinson, Columbia University (New York), ‘Youth in Colonial and Post-Colonial Northern India, 1885-1957’. They will each receive £2,500 towards travel expenses, accommodation, maintenance, educational materials and/or other education-related costs.


Professor Nigel Ashton in the Guardian: battle with Cabinet Office continues in new tribunal hearing

Professor Nigel Ashton, historian of Anglo-American relations and modern Middle East, was mentioned in an article in the Guardian on 15 May, reporting on a long-running Freedom of Information battle he has been fighting with the Cabinet Office. In 2014, Professor Ashton requested for copies of Downing Street files that covered the period from the Lockerbie bombing of December 1988 to the revolution of 2011 that resulted in Gaddafi being deposed and murdered. He subsequently narrowed his request to files from the years 1990 to 2002, but has said he may request more. At a hearing last year, the tribunal ruled that the documents should be handed to Professor Ashton. However, government lawyers are appealing against the ruling on the basis of being “vexatious” in a new hearing that took place on 16 May in London. Professor Ashton hopes ultimately to achieve a greater understanding of the role the British government played in creating Libya as it is today. “The public interest in understanding Britain’s policy towards Libya is overwhelming,” Professor Ashton told the Guardian. “It seems extraordinary that the Cabinet Office has resisted my freedom of information request at every turn.” Read the full article.


Dr Marina Perez de Arcos winner of Martin Abel Gonzalez Prize

Many congratulations to Guest Teacher Dr Marina Perez de Arcos for winning LSE Class Teacher Award, the Department’s Martin Abel Gonzalez Prize. PhD students Isaac Scarborough (pictured) and William King were also highly commended for the prize. The prize is awarded yearly to the Department's Graduate Teaching Assistants and Guest Teachers with the best TQARO teaching scores. The prize was set up in 2011-12 and is named in memory of  Martín Abel González, a Graduate Teaching Assistant who served for many years at the Department and who tragically passed away in the summer of 2011. It is a prize that recognises excellence in teaching and professionalism as these were qualities that distinguished Martín Abel González.


Dr Roham Alvandi in The Spectator Podcast, in the Independent and on Australia's ABC Radio National

Dr Roham Alvandi commented on the latest events in the Middle East in the British media. Joined by Christopher de Bellaigue he participated in an episode of the The Spectator Podcast on 10 May. They talked about the recent US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. "I think it’s unambiguous that the policy of the Trump administration", Dr Alvandi said, "very much driven by John Bolton but also by Pompeo and others is one of regime change." Listen to the podcast. On 11 May, he was quoted by the Independent newspaper on the Israeli-Iranian confrontation in Syria, which came just days after US President Donald Trump announced his country would withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers. Read the full article, "Did Iran attack Israel from Syria and why would they?" in the Independent website. On 14 May, Dr Alvandi appeared in Australia’s ABC Radio National. He joined presenter Phillip Adams in his show “Late Night Live” to discuss the US exit from the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran and regime change. Listen to the podcast.


D Jeppe Mulich on the change of international systems for the Review of International Studies

Dr Jeppe Mulich, one of our LSE Fellows, has a new article out in the journal Review of International Studies. "Transformation at the Margins: Imperial Expansion and Systemic Change in World Politics” seeks to provide a framework for addressing the question of how and why international systems change over time. Empire provides a particularly illuminating window into the topic of systemic change, in part because a major driver of historical transformations has been the expansion of empires and their encounters with other heterogeneous polities across the globe, and in part because a focus on imperial interactions highlights the limitations of existing unit-centric perspectives. LSE users can read the article for free.

Dr Ronald C. Po

New publication by Dr Ronald C. Po

Dr Po published a chapter on the topic of Chinese exports to the West in the early modern period in David Ludden’s edited volume, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History (OUP, 2018). Tracing the social lives of tea, porcelain, and silk in 18th and 19th centuries, Dr Ron argues, it is discernible that the world had been living with commodities made in and exported from China for a fairly long period of time. Conceivably, China has played a crucial role in the global history of the dissemination and consumption of commodities since the early modern period. Read the chapter for free.


International Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War

The Department of International History was pleased to co-sponsor the International Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War, hosted this year at LSE from 3-5 May. The annual conference is jointly organised by the IDEAS Cold War Studies Project at LSE, the Centre for Cold War Studies and International History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Cold War Group at George Washington University. The conference was convened this year by Dr Roham Alvandi, Associate Professor of International History and Director of the IDEAS Cold War Studies Project. A number of students and faculty from the Department participated in the conference, including Professor Vladislav Zubok, whose keynote lecture was entitled, "The Bear That Never Barked. Soviet Estimates of the Iranian Crisis, 1953." Next year’s conference will take place in Washington DC.



International History student wins LSE Volunteer 2018 Award

We are incredibly proud of Alex Selway, BSc in International Relations and History, who won the Outstanding Contribution to the LSE Community Award for his work with LSESU Raising and Giving (RAG) Society. On 26 April, the LSE Volunteer Centre and the LSESU RAG Society hosted their annual event to celebrate volunteering and fundraising at LSE. Over 60 people attended representing the student body, including LSE Students’ Union and various parts of the School. In attendance were also charities that have recruited students over the past year as volunteers and fundraisers, as well as LSE staff from LSE Careers and other professional services and academic departments. “It’s been wonderful to volunteer in so many different ways”, Alex said upon winning his Outstanding Contribution to LSE award. “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter with RAG next year as President, which I’m sure will be very fun.” We also congratulate Saskia Roberts (BA History), who was  nominated for a LSE Volunteer of the Year award for her work Action Tutoring.


LSE History ranked 7th in the Complete University Guide for 2019

History at LSE retained its 7th place in the UK in the independent 2019 Complete University Guide for the history subject. LSE ranked behind Cambridge, Durham, Oxford, St. Andrews, Exter and UCL, but ahead of Birmingham, Warwick and KCL, making it a top two university for the study of History in London. The rankings of the Complete University Guide are based on student satisfaction, entry requirements, research excellence and employment prospects after graduation. History at LSE  ranked 5th in the UK for graduate prospects. Over the years, History at LSE has twice topped the Complete university Guide Tables and never finished lower than seventh.


LSESU Student-Led Teaching Excellence Awards winners announced

We are delighted to announce that the LSE Student Union's final student panel has now chosen the winners. They have recognised Associate Professor Dr Kirsten Schulze (pictured) as a runner-up in the Inspiration Teaching category, LSE Fellow Dr Daniel Strieff as a runner-up in the Research Guidance and Support category, and Guest Teacher Dr Giovanni Graglia as a a runner-up in the Mentoring and Personal Development category and also highly commended him on the Welfare and Pastoral Support category. Overall, the awards this year led to over 900 individual nominations, with over 400 members of staff across LSE being nominated in 7 categories of awards. After careful consideration the panel  recognised 1 winner, 2-5 runners-up and 4-10 highly commended staff members in each category.


Dr Roham Alvandi gives lecture at Stanford University

On 17 April, Dr Roham Alvandi gave a lecture for the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University on “Amnesty International and the Origins of the Iranian Revolution”. Dr Alvandi explored the role of the "human rights revolution" of the 1970s and the origins of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Watch the lecture on YouTube.

Professor Marc David Baer

Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship awarded to Professor Baer

Professor Marc David Baer has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for 2018-19. This award will allow Professor Baer, a scholar of the connected histories of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Europe and Middle East, from the early modern era to the modern, to complete his work on the project “Guided by Goethe: German-Jewish Gay Muslim Writer Hugo Marcus, 1880-1966”. German Jew Hugo Marcus (1880-1966) is the only man to have played an important role in the world’s first gay rights movement and in establishing Islam in Europe. His life and work shed new light on the history of Islam in Europe, Muslim-Jewish relations, and the gay rights struggle. Despite his significance, Marcus is relatively unknown. What is published about him does not incorporate his being German, Jewish, Muslim, and gay. Professor Baer plans to utilise his twelve-month Leverhulme Research Fellowship to write the first biography of Marcus, based on his German-language publications, speeches, private correspondence, and personal documents.


Professor David Stevenson on BBC Radio 4

Professor David Stevenson and Professor Anne Applebaum (LSE Institute of Global Affairs) were interviewed by Mishal Hussein at the close of Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday, 14 April, about the historical precedents for the current international crisis over Syria. Listen to their interview on the BBC Radio 4 website, starting at 1h55m.


Professor Matthew Jones in the US for talks on research for his latest books

On 9 April, Professor Matthew Jones gave a talk to the Non-proliferation forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC on his work for the official history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent; he also lectured on the same theme at an in-house colloquium held on 11 April at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.



Professor Stevenson at Sandhurt for Operation Reflect commemoration

On 22 March, Professor David Stevenson gave a presentation at a conference at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, on “The Strategic Context of 1918: the British Empire”. This event formed part of Operation Reflect, the British Army’s commemoration of the final year of the First World War, and was attended by the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter.


Dr Joanna Lewis's Empire of Sentiment Book of the Week

Dr Joanna Lewis’s new book, Empire of Sentiment: The Death of Livingstone and the Myth of Victorian Imperialism, released by Cambridge University Press in January, is book of the week in the Times Higher Education (22 March). Joanna Bourke reviews the manuscript while giving an account of Dr Lewis’s analysis of Livingstone’s mythologised death, as well as Livingstone’s legacy in post-imperial contexts. “Her new book on the ‘myth of imperialism’", Bourke argues, “is an enthralling analysis of the cult of Livingstone”. Read the full review in the THE website


New virtual special issue on the Cold War in Latin America edited by Dr Tanya Harmer

Dr Harmer has organised a virtual special issue for the Journal of Latin American Studies (JLAS), entitled “The Cold War in Latin America" (open access). “This virtual special issue highlights some of the exciting directions that scholarship on the Cold War in Latin America has taken over the last decade”, Dr Harmer tells us in the Introduction. New interest in Latin America’s Cold War “have provided new insights into the way that the conflict affected – and was shaped by – Latin Americans’ international, transnational and global interactions as well as their domestic politics”. As a result, our understanding of the conflict has moved well beyond simplistic ideas of a distant bipolar superpower battle over the region. “The Cold War in Latin America” showcases some of the best new scholarship on the Cold War published by JLAS in previous years with articles on women, gender and morality; the “politicization and internationalization of everyday life”; and on interactions of Latin America’s revolutionary left.


Professor Matthew Jones invited for discussion at Royal United Services Institute

On 15 March 2018, Professor Matthew Jones spoke at the Royal United Services Institute on the subject of his recently published two volumes dealing with the history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent, 1945-70. His talk focused on the strategic, political and diplomatic considerations that compelled British governments, in the face of ever-increasing pressures on the defence budget, to persist in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and to deploy a credible nuclear force, as the age of the manned bomber gave way to the ballistic missile. Read more about the event in the RUSI's website.


Dr Kristina Spohr's on the scramble for the arctic

The new Cold War: The race to conquer the arctic, the world’s final frontier” is Dr Kristina Spohr’s newest analysis, published on 9 March as a cover article in the New Statesman (9-15 March). Dr Spohr, a historian of the global ending of the Cold War and author of The Global Chancellor (OUP, 2016) and Transcending the Cold War (OUP, 2016), argues that in the least regulated place on earth - the polar region - all the Arctic states are now jockeying for position while several non-Arctic states, are seeking influence, with the big money and real strategic vision coming from Beijing. Over the past decade, Putin has restored political and economic stability at home, while testing the West in its quest to transform Russia into a world power. “The Arctic is a keystone of that policy", asserts Dr Spohr, "because only here – as Putin said last December – is there real scope for territorial expansion and resource acquisition.” “At the end of the 19th century the great powers engaged in a scramble for Africa”, Dr Spohr continues. “Now, in the 21st century, a scramble for the Arctic is unfolding. Across one of the bleakest landscapes of the world, the race is on for gas, oil and fish and to control the emerging shipping lanes of the High North. (…) It’s time for the West to pay attention”.


LSE History ranked 7th in the world

The QS World University Ranking by Subject 2018 has placed LSE History in 7th place for the second year. Published annually since 2011, QS World University Rankings by subject are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. The rankings are based on an analysis of 198 million citations, and the insights of 40,000 hiring managers and over 70,000 academics.
History at LSE ranked 7th overall in the world ahead of Columbia (8th), Princeton (9th) and Chicago (10th). In the UK and in  Europe, History at LSE ranked third, behind Oxford (2nd) and Cambridge (3rd), but ahead of UCL (joint 15th), Leiden (joint 15th) and KCL (20th).



David Motadel reviews Arne Westad's  The Cold War in the Times Literary Supplement

Dr David Motadel published a new book review of Professor Arne Westad's The Cold War: A World History (Penguin, 2017) in the 23 February issue of the Times Literary Supplement, which also includes some more general reflections on challenges of writing a global history of the twentieth century. “With a brilliant ability to condense complex historical information", Dr Motadel argues in the review, entitled "Persistent Chill", "Westad offers an authoritative, elegantly written panorama of a divided world. He takes ideas and ideologies seriously, without ignoring material forces – at a time when the fashion among many historians is a new materialism, and this is refreshing.”


New article by Dr David Motadel in the Journal of Global History

Dr David Motadel and Professor Richard Drayton (Rhodes Professor of Imperial History, KCL) have written a programmatic article on the “Futures of Global History”, which has just been published in the Journal of Global History (13:1, 1-21). The article is a response to critics of global history. Read it together with replies from Princeton Latin American historian Professor Jeremy Adelman (Princeton) and historian of France Professor David Bell (Princeton), part of the same discussion.


Professor Anita Prazmowksa featured on BBC and CNN

In early February, Professor Prazmowska was featured in two articles regarding the Polish legislation to outlaw references to Polish death camps in Holocaust bill. The phrase, first used by Barack Obama in a 2012 speech, has led to a controversial bill which makes it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes. According to the BBC article, there is widespread agreement that Polish citizens participated in the Holocaust through the betrayal and murder of Polish Jews, but does that equal a larger Polish complicity? She responded: “this is history as a tool, as a means for a nationalistic government to accuse everyone else of betraying the nation while painting itself as the only true carriers of the Polish flag”. In the CNN article, she adds that legislation shouldn’t be used to force a particular historic interpretation, as this forms a broader attempt to revise negative aspects of history.

January 2018


New article in Asian Security by Dr Kirsten E. Schulze

Dr Schulze published a new article in the journal Asian Security with Professor Joseph Chinyong Liow (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), entitled “Making Jihadis, Waging Jihad: Transnational and Local Dimensions of the ISIS Phenomenon in Indonesia and Malaysia”. The article aims to explain how, where and why the transnational and local intersect as well as the role of religion, particularly in the ideological narratives and recruitment strategies of local jihadi groups. At the heart of their analysis is the question to what extent Indonesians and Malaysians were lured into joining ISIS as a result of its “universal” ideology and global recruitment strategy or whether they were instead propelled by local Indonesian and Malaysian dynamics into Syria and into “importing” and “indigenizing” ISIS to advance their own agendas. LSE users, can read the article for free.


Podcast with Professor Stevenson about 1917

Professor David Stevenson participated in an episode of New Books in History podcast. He talked with Dr Krzysztof Odyniec about his latest book 1917: War, Peace and Revolution, released by Oxford University Press at the end of last year. In the podcast, recorded in January 2018, Professor Stevenson discusses the causes, course, and effects of the events of the year 1917, a turning point in the history of WWI and the evolution of the modern world. He shares insights about judging historical forces and human agency, evaluating counterfactuals, and drawing comparisons between 1917 and subsequent events of the last 100 years, including the Second World War, the Vietnam War, and conflicts of the twenty-first century. Listen to the podcast in the New Book's webiste.


LSE Student Union History Society and South London Cares event with Dr Roham Alvandi

On 24 January, the LSE Student Union History Society co-hosted an event with a charity called South London Cares, inviting Dr Roham Alvandi to speak over a pizza lunch. Dr Alvandi was joined by LSE students and some of our older neighbours from south London. He spoke with them about LSE and why we study history, as well as about his own research on Iran. The neighbours (one of whom was an LSE alumnus from the 1950s) got a chance to chat with the students over lunch and were then taken on a tour of the campus by the students. “The idea was to bring our neighbours out of isolation and encourage them to come on to our campus to participate in the events that go on here,” Dr Alvandi told us. Dr Alvandi thanks the History Society and Georgina Connah, who made a huge effort in helping organising the event. He was very pleased with the student turnout, mentioning, "it was one of those days when I really love my job!"


New essay in History Today by Dr Gagan D. S. Sood

Dr Sood has published a new essay in History Today (vol. 68, no. 2, Feb. 2018) entitled “A World Revealed”. Written using research conducted for his book India and the Islamic Heartlands: An Eighteenth-Century World of Circulation and Exchange (Cambridge University Press, 2016), the article is meant to appeal to a general audience of history students, teachers and aficionados interested in extra-Western, pre-modern history. The essay focuses on an 18th-century world, spanning the Middle East and South Asia, populated by a kaleidoscope of "ordinary" people. It was a moment “of remarkable changes, politically, intellectually, culturally, economically and demographically; it was a moment of unscripted possibilities”, says Dr Sood. This world was historically significant in its own time, but it suddenly vanished and was subsequently forgotten. The aim of the piece is to recapture a sense of this world in the manner of a detective story, and what is revealed is, in many ways, unexpected.


Dr Joanna Lewis's new book released by CUP

Dr Lewis’s new book, Empire of Sentiment: The Death of Livingstone and the Myth of Victorian Imperialism, was released by Cambridge University Press in January 2018. The book argues that one singular moment, the death of David Livingstone, shaped Britain’s perception of itself as a humane power overseas when the colonial reality fell far short. The images and myths surrounding Livingstone’s death were passed down through generations, inspiring waves of sentimental feeling and further colonial rule in Africa. Order the book on Amazon UK. Watch the promo trailed for the book on Vimeo.

Corina Mavrodin

Guest Teacher and PhD alumna offered Max Weber Fellowship

Dr Corina Mavrodin has been offered a Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence. She is currently teaching HY 116: International History since 1890 and HY 206: The International History of the Cold War, 1945-1989 in the Department of International History. Under the supervision of Professor Piers Ludlow, her PhD thesis, “A Maverick in the Making: Romania’s de-Satellization Process and the Global Cold War (1953-1963)”, passed the viva without corrections in May 2017. At the EUI, she will expand on her doctoral research by further exploring the economic and political roots of Romania’s de-satellization process within a global context. She says, “The EUI is an unparalleled centre of academic excellence in Europe. I feel both happy and privileged to be offered the Max Weber Fellowship, which will allow me to transform my dissertation into a monograph.” 


Dr Tanya Harmer's co-edited special journal issue out now

In 2016, Dr Harmer co-organised two international conferences in London and Mexico on Global and Transnational Histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left and on Intellectual Cultures of of Revolution in Latin America, respectively. Both conferences were hosted by the Latin America-Europe Cold War Research Network, coordinated by Dr Harmer and sponsored by the LSE International History Department. A special journal issue has now been released based on both conferences. Titled “Revolutionary Transnationalism in Historical Perspective: Militant Networks in the Americas”, the issue has been published in Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe (vol. 28, no. 2) with an introduction by Dr Harmer and by Dr Alberto Martin Alvarez (Instituto Mora). The whole issue is open access.


Dr Roham Alvandi on BBC Radio 4

Dr Roham Alvandi was on BBC Radio 4’s Briefing Room programme on 4 January, speaking about the historical context for the protests in Iran. Who are the protesters in Iran and what do they want? Listen to his contribution on BBCiPlayer.


LSE Summer School: New International History Course

We are thrilled to announce LSE Summer School's first ever course offered by the Department - IR106: From Sarajevo to Baghdad: Key Decisions on War and Peace, 1914-2003 with Professor David Stevenson. The course will offer an intensive investigation of a central set of topics over the last century of international politics. It will introduce students to the international history of the two world wars and the Cold War as well as the post-Cold War period. The material should be readily accessible to students with little previous background in the field, as well as rewarding for those who already have familiarity with the content.