Research projects

Some examples of current and recent research projects in History.

Alice Thornton's Books: Remembrances of a Woman's Life in the Seventeenth Century

The autobiographical writings of Alice Wandesford Thornton (1626-1707) were recently rediscovered by Dr Cordelia Beattie in Durham Cathedral.

Artisans and the Craft Economy in Scotland 1780-1914

This three year project, directed by Professor Stana Nenadic, takes a contemporary approach to craft, applied to Scotland, c. 1780-1914

Beyond Borders: The Second World War, National Identities and Empire in the UK

How did people define their national identity during the Second World War?

Cold War cartographies: Geographic knowledge and technology during the Guatemalan Civil War (1945-1996) (September 2024-March 2026)

Dr Julie Gibbings is the Principal Investigator on this research project, examining the history of geographic knowledge and technologies during the Latin American Cold War in Guatemala.

Colouring the Nation

This three-year research project, directed by Dr Stana Nenadic of the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with Dr David Caldwell of the National Museum of Scotland and with Dr Sally Tuckett as Post-doctoral Researcher, investigates the cultural and global impact of the Scottish textile industry since the nineteenth century.

Ireland and Modernity

This research project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through a Mid-Career Fellowship and investigates the Irish encounter with modernity from the mid-eighteenth century until the middle of the last century.

Komon Sajb'ichil for Ixil cartographies during the Cold War: Knowledge exchange for intergenerational justice (February 2023-August 2025)

Dr Julie Gibbings is the Principal Investigator on this research project, with co-investigator Feliciana Herrera Sitp’op, Postdoctoral Fellow Alejandro Flores, and project partners Ixil University and the Ancestral Authorities of the Ixil Region.

Mapping Edinburgh's Social History

MESH – Mapping Edinburgh’s Social History – is a path-breaking AHRC funded project that uses data based on addresses and areas to represent historical information. It provides a spatial dimension that enriches and enhances an understanding of the past.

A New Democratic (Dis)Order: Race, Identity, and Political Mobilisation in France and the UK, c.1970-Present

A British Academy-funded collaborative project that explores how identity politics has reshaped democracy in two distinct European societies.

No Great Wall

The history of republican China has been dominated by the assumption that the key to the Communist takeover of power was the incompetence of the government of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party.

Teaching Slavery in Scotland

Historians from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh are working with teachers and historians elsewhere to build a network to develop history teaching in Scotland about Atlantic slavery and Black history.

The Removal of Citizens’ Rights in France and the French Empire, 1789–1914

This British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship aims to help citizens today understand how far liberal democracies have fuelled inequality in a capitalist economy.

Visualising Urban Geographies

This AHRC funded project in partnership with the National Library of Scotland re-uses existing research data and re-presents it by means of user-friendly mapping tools.

Project archive

Staff and students of the department are involved in a wide range of research projects covering different themes of historical study.