Home > Department of International History

Department of International History

How to contact us


Contact us

Department of International History
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street

Find us on campus
in Sardinia House (SAR)

Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6174
Fax: +44 (0)20 7831 4495

Read our International History Blog

Site Map

Follow us:

Facebook   Twitter Linkedin

History at LSE Highly Rated in Major World Rankings

The Department of International History has once again performed impressively in the QS World University Rankings. The QS World University History Subject Table for 2015 ranks History at LSE 6th overall in the world and one of three UK university in the top 10. Last year, the department had been ranked 7th in the world and 3rd in the UK. Other UK institutions featuring in the top 30 in 2015 are Cambridge (2), Oxford (3), Warwick (15) and KCL (27).

At the national level, History at LSE jumped from 8th place to 5th place in the Guardian's University Guide 2016, behind Cambridge and St Andrews, but ahead of Oxford, UCL and King's College London.

REF 2014 Results

The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) were announced on Wednesday 18 December. Taking into account the proportion of its eligible staff submitted for assessment, LSE History (Economic History and International History) was ranked sixth out of 83 submissions to the REF History panel for the percentage of its research outputs rated 'world leading '(4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) and ninth for its submission as a whole. On the basis of the combination of quality of publications and number of staff submitted, a measure of research power, LSE History ranks 4th in the UK. More information on LSE's impressive performance can be found here.

Dr Dayna Barnes Appointed the 2015 Pinto Postdoctoral Fellow

The Department of International History and IDEAS have the pleasure to announce that Dr Dayna Barnes is the new 2015 LSE IDEAS Pinto Postdoctoral Fellow. She completed her PhD in International History at the London School of Economics, where she also received an MSc in the Theory and History of International Relations. She recently served as the 2014-2015 Kiriyama Fellow at the University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies. Dr Barnes has also held positions at the University of Winchester, Tokyo University, and San Francisco State University. Her research interests include 20th century international history, American foreign policy, and US-Japan relations. She is currently working on a book project examining the development of American postwar planning for Japan during World War Two.

Donald Cameron Watt, Professor of International History, Passes Away

Professor Donald Cameron Watt passed away on 30 October 2014. He taught at the London School of Economics for nearly 40 years, joining the staff in 1954 and retiring in 1995 as Stevenson Professor of International History and Head of Department. He was a Fellow of the British Academy and the first LSE academic to be awarded the Wolfson History Prize in 1990 for his book How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938-1939.

Read Professor Donald Cameron Watt's obituary written by Dr Robert Boyce. Read the obituary published by The Daily Telegraph.


Recent Successful International History PhD Vivas

The last six months have seen the successful completion of a considerable number of PhD theses from students in the Department. Congratulations are extended to the following students (and their supervisors):

Supervised by Professor David Stevenson and Dr Heather Jones: Charles Sorrie, Censorship of the French Press, 1917–18.

Supervised by Professor Arne Westad: Natalia Telepneva, Soviet relations with National-liberation Movements, 1961–76.

Supervised by Professor Steven Casey: Aurelie Basha-I-Novosejt, Robert S. McNamara’s Withdrawal Plans from Vietnam: A Bureaucratic History; and Wes Ulrich, American Perceptions of De-Stalinisation, 1953–56.

Supervised by Professor Nigel Ashton: John Collins, Anglo-American Relations and Post-war International Drug Diplomacy: A “Special Relationship”?; and Aaron Rietkerk, In Pursuit of Development: The United Nations, Decolonization and Development Aid, 1949-61.

Supervised by Dr Kirsten Schulze: Laura Ryseck, The Search for National Identity in Postcolonial, Multi-communal States: The Cases of Eritrea and Lebanon, 1941–91; Tobias Thiel, Yemen’s Youth Revolution: Contentious Politics, Collective Memory, and Violence in Yemen sur la Longue Durée; and Corrin Varady, Fighting for Peace in the Consociational Democracy: US Peacemaking and the Multinational Force in Lebanon, 1982-84.

Video Series on International History and Dissertation Research

Madiha Bataineh, a recent graduate on the LSE-Columbia Dual Masters programme, has made a short series of videos about researching a topic in international history. The project, which draws on the experiences of a number of her contemporaries in the programme, explores their research topics and how they were drawn to investigate them in the archives. It is an exploration of the historian's work and its many twists and turns. The three short films can be found here: Projects in International History, Letters from the Archive, and A Thought on International History.


Dr Roham Alvandi on BBC World News

Dr Roham Alvandi, the department's expert on Iran, Modern Middle East, and the Cold War, was interviewed by BBC World News on 24 August 2015 about the opening of the British and Iranian embassies in Tehran and London. Watch the interview here.
Cees Heere
International History PhD Student wins Institute of Historical Research's Pollard Prize

Cees Heere, a PhD student at the Department supervised by Dr Antony Best, is this year’s recipient of the Institute of Historical Research’s Pollard Prize for the best paper given to one of the Institute’s research seminars by a doctoral student. As a result he will have his paper published in the IHR’s peer-reviewed journal Historical Research and be given books to the value of £200. Mr Heere’s paper, which is entitled ‘The Imperial Politics of Asian Immigration 1900-1914’, was presented to the International History seminar at the IHR in January this year. The Department wishes to congratulate this extremely pleasant and talented individual on this wonderful achievement.
Dr Kristina Spohr on The Guardian

Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor Christopher Clark wrote a comment for The Guardian, published in May 2015. The comment entitled "Moscow’s account of Nato expansion is a case of false memory syndrome" asserts that it's time for a reality check. "Russia’s grievances today rest on a narrative of past betrayals, slights and humiliations". The comment can be read here.


Dr Tanya Harmer Wins Student-led Teaching Excellence Award for Research Support and Guidance

Dr Tanya Harmer has won the Award for Research Support and Guidance at this year’s student-led Teaching Excellence Awards. The awards are run by the Students’ Union, supported by the Teaching and Learning Centre and sponsored by the Annual Fund. This year, competition was particularly hard, as students made 1362 nominations for 555 individual members of staff. This is a terrific achievement for Dr Tanya Harmer who last year won the Major Review Award.


Dr Heather Jones Contributes to RTÉ Documentary

Dr Heather Jones contributed to a documentary broadcast by RTÉ on Tuesday, 21 April 2015, called 'Gallipoli-Ireland's Forgotten Heroes'. In the documentary, David Davin-Power travels to Turkey to commemorate the 3,000 Irish soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

The Department will introduce the following new courses in 2015-2016:

Undergraduate Courses:
HY200: The Rights of Man: A Pre-Modern History of Rights-Based Discourse in the West

Dr Tim Hochstrasser

Human Rights are often assumed to have a precise twentieth-century origin in the 1948 Universal Declaration or in the succeeding decades of increasing activism. However, the history of human rights discourse and its practical impact emerged as only the latest stage of a sequence of intellectual debates and real-life struggles in specific historical settings over political, religious, economic rights, broadly defined. Different cultural milieus have produced a variety of contexts for working out tensions between claims by individuals or minorities for autonomy on the one hand and the rival demands of collective obligation and identity on the other. This course seeks to explore an (inevitably selective) range of these historical contexts in order to demonstrate the continuity of perennial themes of conflict between the claims of individual actors and corporate institutions, whether states, churches, empires or other institutions, while also showing how and when key changes take place in the recognition of rights of political action, conscience, property ownership, gender identity and workers’ rights etc. The growth of toleration and free speech, the abolition of slavery and torture, and the role of Declarations of Rights are all examined, but less familiar subjects also find their place. The contribution of the conceptual legacy and historical inspiration of Greece and Rome will be recognised as will the crucial role of the political thought of the High Middle Ages, and at the other end of the course specific connection will be made to the recent development of human rights organisations. In each session a contrasted selection of contemporary writings will be studied to recover the intellectual framework of the discussion and the role of the dispositive political, social, and economic circumstances of the debate are also considered.

Professor Matthew Jones

HY325: Retreat from Power: British Foreign and Defence Policy, 1931-68

Professor Matthew Jones

The period between the onset of the Manchurian Crisis of 1931 and the decision of the Wilson Government in 1968 to accelerate the withdrawal from East of Suez saw Britain’s position in the world transformed under the multiple pressures of economic decline, world war, nationalist opposition to colonial control, and the demands of Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union and international communism more generally. This course examines how this change occurred by studying several central episodes in British foreign and defence policy. Its focus is predominantly on high-level policymaking in the diplomatic, military and economic realms, but it will all give attention to shifts in popular attitudes, parliamentary debates, the influence of electoral considerations, and the larger-scale transitions taking place in the international system. In common with other Level 3 courses, it will include study and discussion of primary sources throughout. Specific topics include the Italian invasion of Ethiopia; the Munich Agreement of 1938 and appeasement; British strategy in the Second World War; Anglo-Soviet relations in the Second World War; the formation of NATO; the Korean War; the Malayan emergency; Suez crisis; the first application to join the EEC; and the withdrawal from East of Suez in the 1960s.
HY326: Slavery, Capital and Empire in the British World, 1700-1900

Dr Padraic X. Scanlan

Salim, the narrator of V.S. Naipaul’s novel A Bend in the River, explains that Europeans, and especially the British, “wanted gold and slaves, like everybody else; but at the same time they wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves.” Salim’s caustic observation summarizes the historical puzzle at the heart of this course. From the late sixteenth century until the early nineteenth century, Britain was one of Europe’s most prolific slave-traders. British colonies in the West Indies and the colonies that eventually became the United States of America were among the most brutal and fully realized slave societies in world history. And yet, Britain was also the first major European state voluntarily to abolish its slave trade, and the first to resolve to emancipate its slaves. Using primary and secondary sources, this course explores the interconnected histories of slavery, empire, and capitalism in the history of Britain and the British world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The course explores how the British slave trade functioned both as political economy and as a system of everyday production and oppression, how it intertwined with trade in other commodities and financial products like bonds and insurance, how Britons profited by it, and how enslaved and free people endured and resisted it. The course interrogates the limits of ‘British’ history in the context of a global system of trade, and investigates the complicated history of the end of slavery and continuities before and after abolition – what did it mean to be ‘free’ in the British empire?
Postgraduate Courses:
Professor Matthew Jones
HY448: Living with the Bomb: An International History of Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Race from the Second World War to the end of the Cold War

Professor Matthew Jones

This course takes as a prime focus the nuclear policies pursued by some of the major powers in the international system from the initial use of nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It introduces and explores three main themes: how the advent of nuclear weapons came to influence national strategies and crisis behaviour; why the development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems fuelled an arms race that became one of the defining features of the Cold War; and how major powers have attempted to curb the testing of such weapons, the numbers contained in their arsenals, and their spread, through measures of arms control and non-proliferation. After examining the controversy over the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945, including the moral and ethical questions raised by nuclear use, the course includes consideration of some of the most important moments in post-war nuclear history – the course is not designed or intended to be a potted history of the Cold War, but rather looks at the influence and role of nuclear weapons (and the strategic thinking that accompanied their development). The impact of international public opinion is also covered – especially the nuclear test ban movement - and attention given to the Chinese, British and French national nuclear programmes, as well as those of the Soviet Union and United States. The last portion of the course offers close analysis of the international negotiations over arms control and non-proliferation that have featured since the late 1960s. Throughout the course students will engage with contemporary writings and study primary source documents which will accompany each topic.
Marc David Baer
HY459: The Ottoman Empire and its Legacy, 1299-1950

Professor Marc David Baer

The Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) was one of the longest lasting and most territorially extensive of all empires in history. Yet today few know about its nature, whether in Turkey or abroad. Who were the Ottomans? How did they run their empire? How did they manage diversity? How did their understanding and practice of Islam change over time? What was the secret of their success, and what ultimately caused the empire's fall? How do the Ottomans compare to other contemporary empires? What is the Ottoman legacy, especially in Turkey and Greece? What is the significance of the Ottoman Empire for world history? Students in HY459 explore a wide range of historical and historiographical sources to find answers to these and other questions about this fascinating empire.
HY460: Ideologies and Political Thought in Germany in the Era of Extremes (1914-1990)

Professor Lutz Raphael

Starting from the First World War academics and intellectuals strongly marked the particularities of German intellectual traditions and political thought in contrast to "western" ideas of democracy and liberalism. At the same time, the critical distance towards western "civilisation" encouraged an intellectual culture open to analyze the ambiguities of modernity, the crisis of historism and liberalism during the interwar period. During the Weimar Republic the intellectual debates were strongly intermingled with the political confrontation between left and right. Nationalsocialist dictatorship and exile contributed to give these intellectual trends and debates an even larger echo at the European and even global level (e.g. anti historicism, existentialism, neo-liberalism or new racism). After 1945, defeat of Nazism, the collapse of German imperialism and the discovery of the Holocaust lead towards a fundamental reorientation of German political and social ideas under the impact of the Cold War Ideologies of East and West. It opened a long period of Westernization (as a practice of intensified exchange of social and political ideas between Western Europe, Britain and the USA) embedding (West) German intellectual trends in the mainstream of western intellectual history.The course focusses on those aspects of German intellectual production that informed the development of social and political ideas and on those authors having a major importance for the orientation of public discussions in Germany. The course will combine the study of primary sources (in English translation) and secondary literature on these themes at the intersection of intellectual and political history of 20th century Germany.



International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond
3rd Edition

Dr Antony Best, Dr Kirsten Schulze, et al

The Uses of Space in Early Modern History

Dr Paul Stock



The Last Stalinist: The Life of Santiago Carrillo

Professor Paul Preston


Siberia: A History of the People

Professor Janet Hartley


Chile y la Guerra Fría Global

Dr Tanya Harmer


Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War

Dr Roham Alvandi

When Soldiers Fall

When Soldiers Fall: How Americans Have Confronted Combat Losses from World War I to Afghanistan

Professor Steven Casey



Restless Empire

Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750

Professor Odd Arne Westad

With Our Backs to the Wall

With Our Backs to the Wall

Professor David Stevenson


Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War

Dr Heather Jones

Allendes Chile Tanya Harmer

Allende's Chile & The Inter-American Cold War

Dr Tanya Harmer

St Petersburg and the Russian Court

St Petersburg and the Russian Court, 1703-61

Dr Paul Keenan


See full list of publications by our staff

LSE - Columbia University Double Masters Degree in International World History