Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

Past events

A list of past events, including the seminar series and other events


For the academic year 2018-19, the CSMCH chose 'space' as its theme. As usual, many of our activities were built around this theme.

We opened the year - and our seminar series - with a very successful talk by the leading intellectual Corey Robin (Brooklyn College & CUNY Graduate Center), who gave a talk about some of his research on American conservatism to a packed crowd of more than 100 people. Corey's talk was followed by a wonderful variety of other papers, including Emily Brownell (Edinburgh) on infrastructure in postcolonial Tanzania, Davina Cooper (KCL) on reimagining gendered spaces, Vanessa Ogle (Berkeley) on the spaces of offshore capitalism, Michael Goebel (Berlin) on urban space and ethnic segregation, and Rebecca Madgin (Glasgow) on emotional attachments to the built environment.

The second semester saw talks by Alex Paulin-Booth (Université Libre de Bruxelles) on utopias, dystopias and the fin-de-siècle French left, Erika Hanna (Bristol) on the histories of an Irish field, Ben Smith (Warwick) on borderlands and the war on drugs in Mexico, Akhila Yechury (St Andrews) on borders and imperial sovereignty in French India, Stefanie Gänger (Uni Köln) on medicine and sociality in the Atlantic world, Alexander Geppert (NYU Shanghai) on the construction of outer space in postwar European politics, and Olivier Estèves (Université Lille-III) on the desegregation of English schools in the 1960s and 1970s.

The two final talks of the year were given by our two CSMCH-IASH Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows, Claudia Stern (Tel Aviv) and Ljubica Spaskovska (Exeter). They shared with Centre members their work on cultural trauma after the Chilean dictatorship and socialist internationalism respectively. They also organised an excellent workshop on youth politics in the 20th century, which was followed by a screening of the hit Chilean-Scottish film 'Nae Pasaran'. 

As ever, our hard-working student steering committee members continued to breathe life into the Centre's activities. Alongside the student-led CSMCH Discussion Group - which convened several times during the year, amongst other things to discuss the future of conservative politics and screen two films on mental health in twentieth-century Britain - they ensured that every event was covered on our blog, and that our social media and podcast channel flourished. If you'd like to catch up on any of our activities from last year, this should be your first port of call!

Most of all, the Centre played host to a wonderful range of conversations in seminars, discussion groups, workshops, film screenings, and down the pub. All of these have helped to keep Edinburgh's vibrant research culture alive. We hope you'll join us again this year, as we explore new political and historical battlegrounds.



The CSMCH had an exciting inaugural year, with a range of seminars around our theme of 'democracy'. 

In the first semester, these included Vincent Tiberj (Sciences Po) on French democracy, Malte Rolf (Bamberg) on Soviet visions of modernity, Lorena de Vita (Utrecht) on the German-Israeli reparations agreement of 1952, Esra Ozyurek (LSE) on Holocaust memory and Muslim Germans, Jake Blanc (Edinburgh) on dam protests in 1980s Brazil, and a double bill on the history and geography of South Asia with Rakesh Ankit (Jindal) and Nilanjana Mukherjee (IIT Delhi).

In the second semester, we got a chance to listen to Aditya Sarkar (Warwick) on the Hindu right in India, Peter Jackson (Glasgow) on interwar Franco-British relations, Sonja Levsen (Freiburg) on postwar education policy in France and Germany, Malcolm Petrie (St Andrews) on Scottish politics and the European question, and Rana Mitter (Oxford) on the reconstruction of postwar China.

Our seminar series was complemented by a range of other activities, from a Czech New Wave film screening series, to a major public event on academic freedom in Uganda, China, Turkey and Bangladesh. In addition, our enterprising affiliated students set up a CSMCH Discussion Group, which met several times throughout the year. Last but not least, we hosted our inaugural CSMCH-IASH Visting Postdoctoral Fellow, Rakesh Ankit (Jindal), who pursued his research on Indian Communism while he was in Edinburgh from November 2017 to January 2018.

Almost all of the events we organised or sponsored are documented on our blog. In many cases, there are also audio podcasts available - just search for the relevant talk or keyword using the blog's 'search' function. 

Thank you to everyone for making this first year such a success!



The origins of the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History lie in the Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict, which was one of the UK's leading centres for the study of war and violence in the twentieth century. The Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict was closed in 2017 but remained active until its final year, when it was co-directed by David Kaufman and Emile Chabal.

In the academic year 2016-7, the Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict hosted a seminar series, with talks by Peter Lieb (Potsdam), Linda Risso (IHR, London), Julie Gottlieb (Sheffield), Thomas Brodie (Oxford), Mark Jones (University College, Dublin), Alexander Korb (Leicester), Vikram Visana (Edinburgh), Andreas Eckert (Humboldt, Berlin), Jonathan Gumz (Birmingham), Jackie Clarke (Glasgow) and Ellen Crabtree (Durham).

The Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict also organised a number of exciting public engagement engagement events, inclu ding: