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.



When Soldiers Fall
Professor Steven Casey Wins the 2015 Richard E. Neustadt Prize

Professor Steven Casey has won the 2015 Richard E. Neustadt Prize for his book, When Soldiers Fall: How Americans have Confronted Combat Casualties, from World War I to Afghanistan (Oxford University Press). This is the second time he has won the prize, which is awarded annually by the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association for the best book in American Politics. In 2009, Professor Casey's book, Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion, 1950-1953 (Oxford University Press, 2008; paperback 2010), also won the Neustadt Prize.
Another Honorary Doctorate for Professor Paul Preston

On 26 October 2015, the Universitat de Valencia awarded Professor Paul Preston his fourth Honorary Doctorate. This honour was preceded by three other Honorary Doctorates awarded by British and Spanish Universities this year alone in recognition of his outstanding academic achievements. On 15 May, Professor Preston was made Doctor Honoris Causa in the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona). Another Honorary Doctorate followed on 21 July, awarded by the University of Liverpool, the city of his birth, where other doctorands included the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of Ireland. A third Honorary Doctorate was awarded on 28 September at the Universidad de Extremadura in Cáceres. The latest Honorary Doctorate by the Universitat de Valencia has been widely reported in the Spanish press, including in the newspapers, El Pais, El Mundo and Vanguardia. Professor Paul Preston is due to receive a fifth Honorary Doctorate in the coming months from the Universitat de Barcelona.


Upcoming events sponsored by us and/or featuring our academics. Read more about these and other events in our Events section.
26 November 2015, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE
LSE Annual Gulf History: End of Empire: Britain's Withdrawal from the Persian Gulf
Speaker: Professor Wm Roger Louis
Chair: Dr Roham Alvandi
15 December 2015, Tuesday, 18:30, German Historical Institute London
Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture: Life Cycle and Industrial Work. West German and West European Patterns in Times of Globalization (1975-2005)
Speaker: Professor Lutz Raphael

Media Appearances

Dr Kristina Spohr on Helmut Schmidt's Death in the Guardian and in the German and Finnish Press

Dr Kristina Spohr, our expert in International History of Germany since 1945, marked the death of Chancellor Schmidt on 10 November 2015 with an opinion article in the Guardian. In her article, entitled "Helmut Schmidt – a German leader with a global vision", Dr Spohr claimed "his reputation is understated at home, but the West German chancellor’s brilliance on the world stage made him one of Europe’s greatest leaders”. "As a historian I would argue that Schmidt, who was chancellor from 1974 to 1982, ranks alongside the best global leaders. Schmidt’s achievements were not so much in the national arena but as what I have called a “global chancellor”. "Helmut Schmidt deserves to be remembered as West Germany’s “global chancellor”. Dr Spohr, who was with Helmut Schmidt in October 2015, explains the concept of Helmut Schmidt as a "Global Chancellor" in her upcoming book published by Oxford University Press, called The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order. Her book will come out in March 2016 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon. Dr Spohr's reference to Helmut Schmidt as "the global chancellor" has been referenced extensively in the German media. Namely in the Der Spiegel, Zeit, Express, Focus Magazine (online video), web.de, Deutschlandfunk, Hamburger Abendblatt and in the Westdeutsche Zeitung. She also wrote a commentary for the Finnish newspaper, Iltalehti.

Dr Kristina Spohr Interviewed by L.I.S.A.

Dr Kristina Spohr was interviewed about the late former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt for L.I.S.A, the Science Portal of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, on 24 November 2015. The interview, which can be read here, is in German and is entitled: "Helmut Schmidt hat Weltpolitik betrieben”. The Department of International History and and the Gerda Henkel Foundation co-operate to host the yearly Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship which aims to promote awareness in Britain of German research on the history of the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic, and to stimulate comparative work on German history in a European context.
Professor Anita Prazmowska
Professor Prazmowska on BBC World Service, Haaretz and TVN Warszawa

On 26 October 2015, Professor Anita Prazmowska was on BBC World Service, Newshour. She commented on the recent Polish elections, saying "this was an election where people voted for emotions rather than policies". Listen to her analysis here.

On 4 November 2015, Professor Prazmowska was featured in the Haaretz newspaper for the donation she made to the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. The article, entitled "Rare Postcards From Warsaw Ghetto Surface in Poland", explains how Professor Prazmowska came into possession of a collection of postcards that eluded Nazi censors and crossed enemy lines to tell the story of a Jewish family's struggle for survival. Read the article here. Furthermore, apropos of the same event, Professor Prazmowska was featured on Polish-speaking TVN Warszawa. Watch it here.


Konrad Adenauer Foundation and LSE Agree on Fellowship in 20th Century European History

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Berlin, and the LSE concluded an agreement to establish a post-doctoral "KAS–LSE Fellowship in Twentieth-Century European History". Applications can be made at the beginning of 2016. The fellowships will give post-doctoral fellows access to higher education and enable research and teaching at the prestigious LSE for twelve months. Both institutions are committed to European and international cooperation. The aim is to open opportunities in higher education and to forge the institutional and academic relationships to enable post-doctoral students to undertake innovative research. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation promotes excellence in modern history, contemporary history and political science through its post-docoral fellowships which support the values of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation; the fellows will go on to prestigious posts in universities or in the non-university sector. Contact for application, Dr Susanna Schmidt, Konrad Adenauer Foundation.


Works Published by our Faculty during Michaelmas Term 2015

For a full list of our faculty publications since 2012, visit Staff Publications.
Dr Antony Best published two books, one in September and one in October. Respectively, Daiei Teikoku no Shin-Nichi Ha: Kaisen ha Naze Sakerare Nakattaka [British Japanophiles: Why Could Britain and Japan Not Avoid War?] (Chuo Koron Shuppansha, Tokyo, 2015) and a co-edited volume with Oliviero Frattolillo, Japan and the Great War.
Professor Janet Hartley, Dr Paul Keenan and Emeritus Professor Dominic Lieven edited a volume called, Russia and the Napoleonic Wars (Palgrave 2015), which came out on 15 September.
Professor Nigel Ashton's new article, "Searching for a Just and Lasting Peace? Anglo-American Relations and the Road to United Nations Security Council Resolution 242", was published in The International History Review. If you have an LSE account you can read the article for free here.
Dr Taylor C. Sherman's new book came out in September and its called Muslim Belonging in Secular India: Negotiating Citizenship in Postcolonial Hyderabad (Cambridge University Press).
Dr Heather Jones's new co-edited book also came out in September. The book, published in French with Nicolas Beaupré and Anne Rasmussenis is called Dans la guerre 1914-1918. Accepter, Endurer, Refuser. The following month, Dr Jones's chapter, “A Prince in the Trenches? Edward VIII and the First World War”, was published in the book, Sons and Heirs: Succession and Political Culture in 19th Century Europe, by Heidi Merkhens and Frank Lorenz Müller.

PhD Graduates

2015-16 Successful International History PhD Vivas

Supervised by Dr Joanna Lewis: Rosalind Coffey, British Media and Decolonisation in Africa between 1957 and 1960.

Supervised by Dr Kirsten Schulze and Dr Taylor Sherman: Sara Al-Qaiwani, Nationalism, Revolution and Feminism: Women in Egypt and Iran, 1880-1980.

Professor Donald Cameron Watt


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.



Other News

Professor Anita Prazmowska
Professor Anita Prazmowska Donates Rare Collection of Postcards

Professor Anita Prazmowska was in Warsaw on 3 November 2015 to donate rare postcards written between a Jewish friend, Tamara Frymer, based in London, and the latter's family, trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War. "Professor Prazmowska only found out about the postcards after her friend's death, when her son, Martin, showed them to her. After his death in March this year, Prazmowska, fearing these historical artifacts might be lost, asked the executor of Martin's will to let her take them to Poland. The postcards will now go on display at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and be included in the Central Jewish Library, an online collection of digitized Jewish documents from the Institute's archives". Read more about this incredible donation which tells a deep emotional story of a Jewish family's struggle for survival as reported by the Haaretz Newspaper. Watch Professor Prazmowska on Polish-speaking TVN Warszawa talking about her donation.
Dr Kristina Spohr at the Churchill College's Political Leadership Symposium

Dr Kristina Spohr, our specialist in the International History of Germany since 1945, will be participating in the The Challenge of Political Leadership Symposium on Friday, 13 November 2015, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge. This one day symposium seeks to look at the challenge of understanding, assessing and improving political leadership. It seeks to bring together historians and political scientists with politicians and practitioners in a multidisciplinary and cross party approach. British Labour politician, Lord Peter Mandelson, and former Secretary of State for Education and Home Secretary, The Right Honourable Charles Clarke, are the keynote speakers. The event is a collaboration between the Churchill Archives Centre, The Møller Centre, Cambridge University Department of Politics and International Studies and the Faculty of History. The event is free but registration is essential. See more details, including full programme and registration, here.
New Publication by Professor Steven Casey

Professor Steven Casey’s new book, Mental Maps in the Era of Détente and the End of the Cold War, was published in October. The book, edited jointly with Professor Jonathan Wright, is the final volume of a trilogy that explores the ‘mental maps’ of key leaders during the twentieth century. It features thirteen studies, including chapters on Nixon and Kissinger, Brezhnev and Gorbachev, Allende and Deng, Nyerere and Mandela. Read more about the book from the publisher, Palgrave-Macmillan.
New Publication by Dr Antony Best

Dr Antony Best's new co-edited volume, Japan and the Great War, came out in October. The book, edited jointly with Dr Oliviero Frattolillo, gives emphasis to the "many ways in which the conflict shaped Japan both at the time and in its aftermath". The study features seven internationally renowned experts on Japanese and Asian history. Read more about the book from the publisher, Palgrave-Macmillan.
Dr Roham Alvandi's Book Event at the Nixon Presidential Library

Dr Roham Alvandi was at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on 17 September, talking about his book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah. His book was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best history books of 2014. It offers a new account of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's relationship with the United States by examining the partnership he forged with President Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. Watch the event here.
New Book by Dr Antony Best

Dr Antony Best has published a book in Japanase called Daiei Teikoku no Shin-Nichi Ha: Kaisen ha Naze Sakerare Nakattaka [British Japanophiles: Why Could Britain and Japan Not Avoid War?] (Chuo Koron Shuppansha, Tokyo, 2015). The book is translated from the original English-language essays by Dr Tomoki Takeda. Dr Best is the department's expert on Anglo-Japanese relations and the history of modern Japan.
New publications by Professor Hartley, Dr Keenan and Emeritus Professor Lieven

Professor Janet Hartley, Dr Paul Keenan and Emeritus Professor Dominic Lieven edited a volume called, Russia and the Napoleonic Wars (Palgrave 2015), which came out on 15 September. As the publisher tells us, "this volume brings together the most important and new research on Russia and the Napoleonic period by Russian and non-Russian historians. Their work demonstrates why this period is so significant both for internal Russian developments and for an understanding of Russia's relationship with Europe."

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. Read more

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. Read more
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? Read more
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. Read more
HY449: Long-Term History: The Patterns of the Past and the Shape of Things to Come

Professor Ian Morris, Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs, 2015-16

HY449 explores the big patterns that have played out across the last 15,000 years and investigates whether these give us any sense of where things might go next. The key areas covered are: broad theoretical and methodological issues; the global balance of power; violence; inequality; and a general discussion of the past as a guide to the future. By adopting a long-term approach to the study of history, this course complements the existing courses offered in the Department which tend to focus on more contemporary periods (i.e. since the Renaissance). This course is non-assessed and is taught over four non-consecutive weeks, with two weeks in the Michaelmas Term and two weeks in the Lent Term. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more


Books authored and edited by our faculty:
Mental Maps in the Era of Détente and the End of the Cold War (co-edited)

Professor Steven Casey

Japan and the Great War (co-edited)

Dr Antony Best

Daiei Teikoku no Shin-Nichi Ha: Kaisen ha Naze Sakerare Nakattaka [British Japanophiles: Why Could Britain and Japan Not Avoid War?]

Dr Antony Best
Russia and the Napoleonic Wars (co-edited)

Professor Janet Hartley, Dr Paul Keenan, Emeritus Professor Dominic Lieven
Dans la guerre 1914-1918. Accepter, Endurer, Refuser (co-edited)

Dr Heather Jones
Muslim Belonging in Secular India: Negotiating Citizenship in Postcolonial HYderabad

Dr Taylor Sherman

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 (edited)

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 a full list of publications by our staff

LSE - Columbia University Double Masters Degree in International World History