The LSE International History Department developed out of the Stevenson chair of international history, endowed in 1926 with the intention of informing public opinion and of teaching history "internationally and as far as practicable without [nationalist] bias". The Department’s specialization in international history remains appropriate to its LSE and London location, in a school of the social sciences at the heart of one of the most diverse capitals in the world.
Most of the early practitioners of international history were experts in diplomatic history: i.e. in inter-governmental relations, with an emphasis on alignments and realignments and particularly on crises and wars. More recently the research agenda has broadened to include the economic, strategic, social, and cultural underpinnings of international politics, the machinery of diplomacy and international organizations, and the interplay between foreign policy and its domestic context. International history has become more closely allied to military and to imperial history, whose scope has similarly expanded, while ‘global history’ has emerged as an investigation of very long-term developments. Finally, since the 1990s growing attention has been given to ‘transnational’ history, which analyses unofficial interactions between non-state actors ranging from peace movements to multi-national corporations. Although the original concern with inter-state relations and with war and peace remains an essential part of international history, the discipline now embraces cross-border exchanges of all kinds.
In recent years, the Department has greatly broadened its geographical range of expertise, which is now genuinely global. Although our academics are specialists within a particular geographical area, their academic focus is in the international rather than the domestic history of the area concerned.
The geographical scope covered by the department includes:
• Western and Eastern Europe
• Middle East
• West, South, and East Asia
• Caribbean and North and South America
Our academics are experts in African, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Russian, Indian, American, West and East European history.
In the last years, we have also strengthened substantially our coverage of the 1500-1900 period, achieving a balance between the coverage of geographical areas and of thematic approaches, including gender and ethnicity.
The Department’s permanent academic staff are concentrated on five major sub-fields of international history (some spanning more than one).
Pre-Modern East and West
Conflict and Identity in Europe since the 18th Century
Modern World History
The Americas in World History
Contemporary International History and the Global Cold War