History

Political History Research Group

Edinburgh is one of the most active centres for the study of political history. Our members research within every historical period (from ancient to contemporary) and within a wide range of geographical contexts, covering all aspects of the subject from intellectual history to the study of elections. Our links with political scientists in the School of Social and Political Science provide interdisciplinary perspectives.

1928 election, party workers handing out ballot papers outside a polling station in Göteborg
1928 election, party workers handing out ballot papers outside a polling station in Göteborg (WikimediaCommons)

Our links with political scientists in the School of Social and Political Science provide interdisciplinary perspectives.

Is it useful to think of 'political history' as a distinctive intellectual endeavour? Or is all history 'political history'? This group brings together researchers in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology with diverse geographical and chronological focuses, but with common interests in a range of areas relating to past politics. It provides a meeting point for scholars at different career stages who are interested in concepts such as power, legitimacy, authority; in the cultural dimensions of political life and practices such as rhetoric and political violence; and in political actors ranging from Kings, Queens and international leaders to the disenfranchised and marginalised.

The principal aim of the group is to provide a space for scholars at all career stages and with diverse geographical and chronological focuses, but with shared interests in researching past politics. One key early objective is to open up discussions around political history themes with colleagues in cognate disciplines, especially within the School of Social and Political Science.

The Politcal History Research Group has a blog, research.shca.ed.ac.uk/political

Research areas

Research in the following broad areas is being undertaken by members of the group:

  • Modern British, Scottish and Irish politics. Work includes: the editing of the Oxford Handbook of Modern British Political History, 1800-2000, research on the late-seventeenth-century revolution in Scotland, an exploration of the political cultures of unionism and nationalism in post-1945 Scotland, and research into political mobilization across the Irish diaspora.
  • American political history. Work includes: an examination of the political rivalry between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, research on the nature of the domestic debate on the Vietnam War, and a study using the life and career of Spiro Agnew as a lens onto American politics in the 1960s and 70s.
  • African History. This includes collaborative work with political scientists on citizenship in Africa.
  • European history. Work encompasses: postwar French politics and political culture, politics and violence in twentieth-century Spain, and emperors and high-office holders in the late Roman Empire.

Seminars and events

The Group runs occasional seminars and events to which all are welcome - Political History Research Groups seminar

Membership

Co-ordinators

Academic staff members

 

PhD Students

We also have PhD student members.