Our Research

Established as recently as 1994 from members of what had previously been a body of English and European historians scattered across multi-disciplinary schools, the School of History supports a series of research clusters ranging in time from the early middle ages to the modern era and in theme from landscape history through social history, gender history, medical history and ecclesiastical history to political and diplomatic history. The Centre of East Anglian Studies, the first regional centre of its kind, is also located in the School.

In the field of medieval history, the school supports several major research projects. One involves editing and contextualising the charters of the Plantagenet kings, including Magna Carta. The project has several strands sponsored by the AHRC, Leverhulme and the British Academy. Other areas of particular strength include the study of the Norman Conquest, the study of kingship more generally, and a British Academy sponsored edition of Anglo-Saxon charters.

In the field of Landscape History, the school supports a major GIS-aided project on the landscape of Northamptonshire, as well as publicly-funded projects on Sutton Hoo, the landscape and agriculture of East Anglia, 1870-1950, and a characterisation of the Suffolk coastal marshes. The school is also noted for research on the history of parks and garden and the history of castles. In the field of Medical History, in collaboration with the universities of Valencia and Bergen, the school is actively involved in a comparative project on European Rural Health Care, c. 1800-1945. It is also supporting a project on the Concepts of Health and Cleanliness in Medieval England.

In the field of Early Modern history, the school supports four major research initiatives. The first is funded by the AHRC and focuses on custom and perceptions of the past through a study of early modern England. The second is a JISC-funded project on the history of political discourse before 1800 and the third a British Academy funded Virtual Reading Group, which fosters electronic discussion about primary and secondary texts. The British Academy currently supports the ongoing project to publish all the Bacon papers. Research is also undertaken in Spanish social history, Italian gender and religious history, and the history of popular culture.

In the field of modern history, the school is producing an AHRC-funded edition of the Letters of Richard Cobden. The school also supports a project on free trade and globalisation. Research work is also undertaken in the field of diplomatic and political history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the field of imperial history of the twentieth century. The history of popular sports and pastimes is another area of research activity. The European historians concentrate on late nineteenth and twentieth century history, where the British Academy and AHRC have funded a project on the Documentary History of the Soviet Union. Research also focuses on the history of the Balkans, on ethnic cleansing in central and southeastern Europe, work which is supported by the British Academy, on the history of Austria, and on the social history of Bavaria.

New Interpretations on the Angevin World

For the very first time in the history of the study of the European lands that made up the empire of King Henry II (1154-1189), we plan to bring together a network of researchers who currently work in the field of Angevin studies.