Department of History

Modern history

Black and white illustration of factory workers in an industrial setting

Modern history at the University of Nottingham covers the period 1800–1945

This period spans from the Napoleonic wars of conquest to the atomic bomb, through industrialisation, nationalism, colonialism, genocide, revolution, and relativity. 

This epoch lay the foundations - political, economic, cultural, social and scientific - of the contemporary world, and its legacies still profoundly shape our present-day lives. 
Dr Nick Baron, Associate Professor in modern history

The department has a significant number of modern historians who address the key moments, movements and processes of the era, taking place in Britain, Europe and globally, from a wide range of different perspectives. Individually, their projects examine the most important and relevant themes and questions concerning the modern era. Collectively, we ask ‘what was modernity?’, ‘how do historians research and understand change and continuity in the modern age?’ and ‘what is it to be modern?’.

Recent and current projects

You can read more about many of our exciting recent and current research projects on the modern period below. The Department has particular ‘clusters’ of research including:

  • histories of visual culture (art, cinema, maps, photography);
  • histories of landscape, environment and space (topography, travel and tourism, soil science, cartography, urban culture and governance, ‘motor cities’, green spaces, transnational activism);
  • histories of industry, de-industrialisation, and labour (gender and work in Nazi Europe, the rise and fall of British coal mining, Southwell workhouse, John Player’s advertising, Raleigh cycles);
  • and local and regional history (including community projects with former miners, on the Nottinghamshire anti-Apartheid movement, on Nottingham Castle, Victoria County History).
Modern history projects
 Project nameAcademic staff involved
Ambassador David Bruce, the London Embassy and Diplomatic Practice, 1961-69 John Young
British amateur topographical art and landscape in North West Italy 1835-1915 Ross Balzaretti
British travellers in Liguria Ross Balzaretti
Centre for Hidden Histories – World War One Engagement Centre John Beckett,
Michael Noble
Cinema and medicine in Early Soviet Russia  Anna Toropova
Coal and steelworkers study group Jörg Arnold
Coal Mining in Nottinghamshire David Amos
Collaboration with The Workhouse at Southwell Sarah Badcock
Curating Online Resources for Engagement and Learning (COREL) project Nick Baron
Digital urbanism and diasporas: walking the cultural heritage of Calcutta's riverfront Maiken Umbach
Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020

Anna Greenwood,
Richard Bates

Historicizing trauma in colonial and post-colonial contexts Onni Gust
History of anti-Apartheid activism in Nottinghamshire Kate Law
Inherited Soil Surveys, Transdisciplinary Approaches in Zambia (InSTAnZa) Anna Greenwood, Maurice Hutton
John Player’s Advertising Archive Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Elizabeth Harvey,
Chris Wrigley

Making women work: gender, race and labour in Nazi-occupied Europe

Elizabeth Harvey

Mapping the Soviet: Cartography, Culture and Power from Lenin to Stalin, 1917-1953 Nick Baron
Motor Cities: Automobility and the Urban Environment in Birmingham, England, and Nagoya, Japan, c.1955–1973 Susan Townsend
Nottingham Castle project Richard Gaunt
Photography as Political Practice in National Socialism Maiken Umbach,
Elizabeth Harvey
Press and Politics in West Germany: The papers of Marion Countess Dönhoff, 1946–2002 Elizabeth Harvey,
John Young
"The public opinion of the world": transnational citizen activism and diplomacy, 1890-1920 Daniel Hucker
Obscene Reading in Britain and France c.1900-1960 Harry Cocks
The Raleigh Project Philip Riden
Remaking Fear City: The Crisis of Crime and the Transformation of New York City, 1965-1985 Joe Merton
The Social World of Nottingham's Historic Green Spaces: follow-on for impact and engagement project John Beckett
Theories, Ideologies and Politics of Spatial Planning in Russia and Germany, 1890s to 1945 Nick Baron
The United States, Great Britain, and Intermestic Politics, 1977-85
Aaron Donaghy
The Victoria County History
John Beckett,
Philip Riden
Understanding and Improving Public Engagement with Holocaust Photography

Maiken Umbach,
Elizabeth Harvey

Writing our History, Digging our Past: a Connected Communities Project Various


Find out about all of our research projects

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Research degrees

Find out more about our research degrees, funding, facilities and support.

Related research networks

Centre for Hidden Histories

 Image: Section from Hartmann Maschinenhalle 1868, Wikimedia Commons

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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