World

The modern world cannot be studied without examining the course, impact and legacy of two world wars, the resources in this section set out to look at both the First and Second World Wars in their global context. The section also includes the Cold War and its impact in Latin America, South-East Asia and parts of Africa. This period also sees the rise and fall of European imperialism and the changing nature of global politics and economics as technology brings different stories from so many parts of the world directly to us. Read more

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  • The cultural biography of opium in China

    Article

    Zheng Yangwen shows that despite its association with trade, war and politics, opium was first of all a history of consumption. Opium has fascinated generations of scholars and generated excellent scholarship on the opium trade, Anglo-Chinese relations, the two opium wars, and Commissioner Lin. The field has diversified in the post-Mao...

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  • Real Lives: The Russian hermit of Cornwall’s caves

    Article

    Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily...

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  • Film: How new is Asia’s ‘new era’?

    Article

    The 2021 Medlicott Medal recipient was Professor Rana Mitter, expert on Modern Chinese history and politics. Professor Mitter's Medlicott lecture was on the subject of ‘How New is Asia’s “new era”?’.

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  • Out and About in Cairo

    Article

    Nicolas Kinloch guides us round the fascinating city of Cairo. Cairo has always been a traveller’s destination. That indefatigable explorer, ibn Battuta, arrived there in 1326, and declared that it was ‘boundless in its multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour...extending a friendly welcome to strangers’. Most of this is...

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  • The British Empire on trial

    Article

    In the light of present-day concerns about the place, in a modern world, of statues commemorating figures whose roles in history are of debatable merit, Dr Gregory Gifford puts the British Empire on trial, presenting a balanced case both for and against. In June 2020 when the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston...

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  • ‘Zulu’ and the end of Empire

    Article

    In this article, Nicolas Kinloch examines the 1964 film Zulu. He suggests what it might tell us about the reality of the British Empire and asks if it has anything to say about the era in which the film was made. One of the most successful British films of 1964...

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  • Legacies of the Cement Armada

    Article

    Steven Pierce writes about Nigeria, long known for its flamboyant corruption, some of which stems from accidents of history. Its true international notoriety emerged in 1974–75, when half the world’s concrete supply was mysteriously diverted to the port of Lagos, paralysing it for a year. This article examines how the press coverage...

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  • History Abridged: Language and the African continent

    Article

    History Abridged: This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). Africa is a huge continent with an expansive geography and...

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  • Real Lives: Robert and Thomas Gayer-Anderson

    Article

    Wendy Barnes describes the real lives of identical twins, Robert and Thomas Gayer-Anderson, who collected a vast quantity of paintings and art objects, much of which was donated to museums around the world. The twins’ final home, Little Hall, Lavenham is now a museum and the headquarters of The Suffolk...

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  • Women’s friendship in late eighteenth-century America and its relevance to lockdown

    Article

    Rowan Cookson offers us the opportunity to compare our contemporary anxieties with a stressful era in American history. Eighteenth-century women’s friendship is worth considering at this time. In my undergraduate dissertation, I concluded that white wealthy women’s friendship in eighteenth-century America equired long distance communication, involved labour and perpetuated race and class...

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  • ‘Power to the people’? Disputed presidential elections in US history

    Article

    Michael Dunne reveals the complex background to the modern elaborate constitutional process of electing a United States President. On Wednesday, 20 January 2021, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America.  In years to come these simple words may seem prosaic and...

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  • Glowing in the Dark

    Article

    The twentieth century celebrated many new technologies and just like many of those from the industrial revolution we now know them to be edged with danger and potential long-term damage. Here we learn about the effects that radium, bolstered by its advantages in war time, had on the civilian factory...

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  • Volunteers to a man: an industrial workplace goes to war

    Article

    In this article Edward Washington explores how the Royal Mint in Sydney, Australia was affected by the First World War, through the loss of professional staff and the legacy of experiencing conflict. The Royal Mint, Sydney, which opened in 1855 in response to the Australian gold rushes, was the first...

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  • History Abridged: The Berlin Conference 1884–1885

    Article

    History Abridged: This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). In 2020 there was lots of talk about decolonising society...

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  • Film: China's Good War

    Article

    In this lecture Professor Mitter uses film and other propaganda works to explore how key events of global history are being represented in China to develop a different understanding of its own past. The talk addresses a number of the factors for this change in how China is reflecting on...

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  • History Abridged: POTUS - President of the United States

    Article

    This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). Described as the most powerfully elected office in the world, the President of the United States (POTUS) has...

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  • Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs

    Article

    David Smith investigates how the USA made such a big mistake in the Bay of Pigs. In his inaugural address, President Kennedy attempted to balance the demands of Cold War rhetoric with setting out a vision of a post-Cold War world. Praise for the speech came across the political divide, with the Republican minority leader Senator...

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  • A (non-Western) history of versatility

    Article

    Waqās Ahmed broadens our perspective on where in history we might find polymaths, those who embody versatility of thought and action. While Western scholars might identify the likes of Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin as the archetype of the polymath, they have in reality existed throughout history and across...

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  • Exploring Twentieth-Century History

    Article

    For a long time, history curricula on the 20th century prioritised the narrative of a slide from World War I to World War II and fascism above many other topics. But the history of the 20th century is both far more complicated and far more interesting than that. For the historians writing here, the...

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  • On Black Lives Matter

    Article

    2020 has been an interesting year in many ways – both as a year to make history and one that has sought to tackle many representations of the past. The Black Lives Matter campaign that has taken on new energy across the globe in response to the killing of a...

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