Department of History

Contemporary history

Section from an illustration of Chinese farmers

Contemporary history at the University of Nottingham covers the period from the end of World War II (1945) to the present day

This period encompasses many of the major social, political, economic, intellectual and cultural developments that have shaped our world in recent decades, and which continue to shape it today.
Jeremy Taylor, associate professor in modern Asian history

These developments range from processes, such as de-colonisation to the Cold War and the emergence of new regional and world powers, from the United States to the People’s Republic of China, as well as conflicts in regions such as Indochina, South Asia and the Middle East.

In the United Kingdom, contemporary history covers the major changes that were experienced in British life, from the immediate postwar years of austerity to the rapid social and economic upheavals of the 1970s and 1980s. The department is home to a significant number of scholars who work on contemporary history, with a particular focus on the United Kingdom, covering topics such as British foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Asia; social change and de-industrialisation in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s; and consumption, gender and identity in postwar Britain.

The department is also home to researchers looking at contemporary history from a more international perspective, with topics such as nation-building and refugee rehabilitation in post-partition India; the political culture of Chinese communism in the 1950s and 1960s; the cultural Cold War in east and Southeast Asia; and social change and urban identities in the United States during the 1970s; and gender and race in southern Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.

We also have a lively community of research postgraduate students working on topics such as the role of public diplomacy in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War; spaces of consumption in the public housing estates of postwar Hong Kong; memoryscapes and monuments to American power in the independent Philippines; the Democratic Left and the making of the ‘rainbow coalition’ in 1980s America; decline and the cultural politics of immigration in post-war Britain; and Trans activism and the politics of recognition before the GRA.

You can read more about some of our recent and current research projects in contemporary history below.

 Image: Section from The future of the Rural Village from the Stefan R. Landsberger collection []

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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