Unit of Assessment
Research Assessment Exercise 2008



By percentage of research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard

UOA 62 History

FTE Cat A Staff submitted for assessment






London School of Economics and Political Science







'Was Dick Whittington taller than those he left behind?' is the title of just one of the many thought-provoking research papers submitted to the history panel of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise by LSE historians. This examination of migration and the quality of life in early nineteenth century London by Dr Tim Leunig is one of the many submissions by the two departments, Economic History and International History, that earned them a strong profile in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise|.

Together these departments provide the historical dimension to the social science work carried out at the School. Economic History complements research in economics and sociology while International History is closely linked to international relations and government.

With 35 per cent of their research activity deemed world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour, the RAE results place  LSE's history departments as joint fourth-best in the country based on the proportion of top-rated research. A further 30 per cent of research was deemed internationally excellent.

Professor Colin Lewis, head of Economic History at LSE and Professor David Stevenson, head of International History, said, "We are delighted that so much research activity within history at LSE has been deemed world-leading."

In the Department of Economic History, concepts and theories from economics and other social science disciplines are used as the starting point for studying how real economies developed in the past and understanding their social, political and cultural context. The multidisciplinary nature of LSE's economic history research is truly unique.

Since the last RAE, Economic History has developed major new research initiatives in global history and on the nature of evidence, and has secured substantial grants from the European Union, the Leverhulme Trust and the Economic and Social Research Council. 

The Department of International History focuses on the historical dimension of relations between states, peoples and cultures in both peace and war since 1500. There is a strong emphasis on the traditional political and military approach to studying international history, but the department's research also draws upon methodological advances in the study of culture and ideas to set the history of international relations in its broadest context. The Department is closely linked with two major research centres: the Canada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies and IDEAS: Diplomacy and Strategy@LSE (formerly the Cold War Studies Centre), both of which have been extremely successful in attracting research funding.

Overall, history projects at LSE have been awarded £3.6 million in grants from external sources.

Together, the departments are home to experts with an impressive range of intellectual interests. For example, Drs Tirthankar Roy and Debin Ma, who have particular knowledge of Asian economies, have been attracted to LSE in recent years. Dr Terry Gourvish works collaboratively with international partners to undertake high quality corporate research - notably several official histories of major state projects, including the Channel Tunnel. And Professor Albrecht Ritschl is conducting work on the origins and chronologies of financial crises. The International History Department and IDEAS have been delighted to welcome a number of outstanding international historians as Philippe Roman visiting professors. Professor Paul Kennedy of Yale University was attached to the Department in 2007-8 and Professor Chen Jian of Cornell University in 2008-9. Professor Niall Ferguson of Harvard University will be a visiting professor in 2010-11.

See Definitions of Quality| 4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and u/c

See RAE 2008 Analysis of Results| in the RPDD website for more detailed information.