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

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in Sardinia House (SAR)

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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.
Cumberland Lodge
Cumberland Lodge Weekend

Each year the Department of International History organises a weekend event for our students at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. The aim is to allow students and staff to explore a broad historical theme in a relaxed, relatively informal atmosphere. This year's subject is 'Freedom and Subjugation in History'. The event will take place from 30 October to 1 November and the key speakers are Professor Janet Hartley, Dr Tim Hochstrasser, Dr Roham Alvandi, Professor Matthew Jones, Professor Anita Prazmowska, Dr Padraic Scanlan. Read more about the Cumberland Lodge Weekend here.
New Vacancies in the Department

The Department of International History has the pleasure to announce two vacancies starting from 1 September 2016. Applications are invited for an Assistant Professorship in International History (Conflict and Society: Europe c. 1930- c. 1950) and for an Associate/Assistant Professor in International History (China and the Modern World). The closing date for receipt of applications is 31 October 2015 (23.59 UK time). More information can be found here.
Publications by our Faculty

The months of September and October have seen a prolific number of publications by our academics coming out. Here's a full list:

In the past two months, Dr Antony Best published two books. One 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). Translated from the original English-language essays by Dr Tomoki Takeda it was published in September. The other book, co-edited with Oliviero Frattolillo, Japan and the Great War, came out in October and was published by Palgrave MacMillan. Dr Best is the department's expert on Anglo-Japanese relations and the history of modern Japan.

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."

Professor Nigel Ashton has a new article in the The International History Review (2015), called "Searching for a Just and Lasting Peace? Anglo-American Relations and the Road to United Nations Security Council Resolution 242". His article analyses the Anglo-American diplomacy at the United Nations which led to the passing of the Security Council Resolution 242. If you have an LSE account, you can read the article for free here.

Dr Taylor C. Sherman has a new book coming out in September, called Muslim Belonging in Secular India: Negotiating Citizenship in Postcolonial Hyderabad (Cambridge University Press). Dr Sherman's book surveys the experience of some of India's most prominent Muslim communities in the early postcolonial period. Drawing on detailed new archival research, Dr Sherman provides a thorough and compelling examination of the early governmental policies and popular strategies that have helped to shape the history of Muslims in India since 1947.

Dr Heather Jones has a new co-edited book out. The book, published in French with Nicolas Beaupré and Anne Rasmussenis, focus on the First World War, her area of expertise, and it's called Dans la guerre 1914-1918. Accepter, Endurer, Refuser.
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.

Recent Successful International History PhD Vivas

The last 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 David Stevenson: Mahon Murphy, Prisoners of war and civilian internees captured by British and Dominion forces from the German colonies during the First World War.

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.

Supervised by Dr Joanna Lewis: Benjamin Greening, This Island's Mine: Bermuda's Strange Oligarchy and Power-Sharing with the British during the Period of Decolonisation 1964-1977


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.



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."
New publication by Dr Heather Jones

Dr Heather Jones has a new co-edited book coming out on 14 September. The book, published in French with Nicolas Beaupré and Anne Rasmussenis, focus on the First World War, her area of expertise, and it's called Dans la guerre 1914-1918. Accepter, Endurer, Refuser. Read more about it here (in french).

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:

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 full list of publications by our staff

LSE - Columbia University Double Masters Degree in International World History