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International History

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The LSE Department of International History (IH) conducts ground-breaking work extending the breadth and depth of historical research, especially as it relates to international relations and government.

These achievements were reflected in the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework: assessors graded 33 per cent of the research submitted jointly by IH with the LSE Department of Economic History 'world-leading' (4 star); a further 45 per cent was designated 'internationally excellent' (3 star). 

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.

IH explores historical dimensions of relations between states, peoples and cultures. Alongside traditional political, diplomatic and military approaches it works with related disciplines to set the history of international relations in its broadest comparative context. Its core thematic research areas are: State, Space and Culture in the Early Modern World; War and Peace in Europe, 1800-1945; World and Imperial History in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; and Contemporary History and the International History of the Cold War, in which field it is widely considered the major European research centre. The LSE IDEAS think-tank, co-founded by IH (with the LSE Department of International Relations) was identified in  the University of Pennsylvania’s 2012 Think Tank and Civic Society Program report as one of the world’s top three university Cold War think tanks.

The Department prioritises the production of world-class academic research but also responds to substantial interest in its work from outside academia through a comprehensive programme of public events and its work with the media. To that end it engaged extensively, for example, with activities commemorating the World War I centenary.

The Department’s interdisciplinary Cañada Blanch Centre also provides a hub for flourishing public as well as academic interest in contemporary Spanish history, politics and culture. Work by its Director, Professor Paul Preston, has had significant impacts on public engagement with and understanding of the causes, course and legacy of the Spanish Civil War and on the activities of NGOs and civic associations working to quantify, catalogue and commemorate its victims. The impacts of the research extend well beyond Spain itself, including through its influence on university curricula in Europe and the USA.

As well as public audiences, IH researchers share their expertise with organisations such as the British Library, Imperial War Museum and the Museum of the Great War in France, and with international education professionals. Seminars developed and delivered by Professor Arne Westad, Dr Tanya Harmer and Dr Svetozar Rajak, for instance, informed changes in the teaching of Cold War history in schools across Europe and the USA, helping to improve the understanding of global history and contemporary international affairs.

IH research also makes important contributions to the development of evidence-based policy. Examples include the use of work by Dr Kirsten Schulze, an expert on the contemporary history of the Aceh conflict in Indonesia, to inform both the broad development of European human security policy and specific improvements in EU peacekeeping policy and practice.

Departmental results: History|

Department homepage: http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalHistory/home.aspx|

LSE Impact: www.lse.ac.uk/researchImpact|

See also:

Impact Case Study Summaries

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