Faculty of Arts

Why Asian history matters for our global university: a conversation with Nottingham historians

Five historians from the University of Nottingham’s three global campuses discuss why the history of East, South and Southeast Asia matter for Nottingham, and for the broader field of history itself.

They explore:

  • the challenges involved in conducting research on Asia
  • the importance of the region to the University of Nottingham (with our successful campuses in China and Malaysia)
  • some of their own work and consider how this speaks to wider debates about the past in Asia, the UK and elsewhere

As historians they work on different parts of the region, and are at varying career stages, so provide a spectrum of views and insight.

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The historians

Dr Andrew Cobbing

Andrew is associate professor and head of department at the Department of History, University of Nottingham (UK). He works on the history of cultural relations between Japan and the West, initially with a focus on the experience of samurai travellers and the diaries they kept during their explorations abroad. His books include "The Satsuma Students in Britain: Japan’s Early Search for the Essence of the West" (2000) and "Hakata: The Cultural Worlds of Northern Kyushu" (2013). 

Dr Nagatomi Hirayama

Nagatomi is assistant professor in modern Chinese history at the University of Nottingham Ningbo. He works on the political and intellectual history of modern China, Sino-Japanese relations, and the history of socialism and socialist movements. His new book "The Making and Unmaking of the Chinese Radical Right, 1918-1951" is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. 

Dr Sumit Mandal

Sumit Mandal is associate professor at the School of Politics, History and International Relations at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, and is an historian interested in the transregional architecture of Asian societies. His research focuses on Muslim societies in the Malay world, in relation to the Indian Ocean, as well as contemporary Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. His 2018 book "Becoming Arab: Creole Histories and Modern Identity in the Malay World" was awarded the Harry J Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies for 2020.  

Professor Jeremy E. Taylor

Jeremy is professor of modern history at the University of Nottingham (UK). He works on the cultural history of the Chinese-speaking world, and is the director of the European Research Council-funded ‘Cultures of Occupation in 20th century Asia’ project. He has published over 30 articles and chapters on various topics relating to the cultural history of East and Southeast Asia, and is the author or editor of six books, including "Iconographies of Occupation: Visual Cultures in Wang Jingwei’s China, 1939-45" (2021). 

Dr Kim Weir

Kim recently graduated with a PhD in history at the University of Nottingham (UK). She works on social memory, monuments and commemoration in the Philippines, with some of her research on this topic being recently published in the Journal of American Studies. She also serves as the secretary of the Association for Southeast Asian Studies in the UK. 

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