School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History seminars

The Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History is the University of Edinburgh's leading centre for research into the history of the modern world. It's seminar series welcomes everyone.

Time and location

Please check details below for individual events. 

Event schedule

Semester 2, 2023/24

Date Speaker Note
Mon 29 Jan

Book launch for 'States of Ignorance: Governing Irregular Migrants in Western Europe'

Co-authors: Emile Chabal (Edinburgh), Christina Boswell (Edinburgh), Mike Slaven (Lincoln) Discussants: Abdellali Hajjat (Université libre de Bruxelles), Cetta Mainwaring (Edinburgh), Enda Delaney (Edinburgh) States of Ignorance explores an aspect of contemporary society that most states choose to keep obscure: the presence and governance of irregular migrants. Tracing the evolution of state monitoring and control of irregular migrants from the 1960s to the present day across France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the authors develop a theory of 'state ignorance', setting out three complementary ways of understanding such oversights: ignorance as omission, ignorance as strategy, and ignorance as ascription. The findings upend dominant approaches, which tend to assume that states are preoccupied with producing knowledge about their populations, and argues that states have actually been keen to sustain ignorance about their unauthorised populations. Drawing on rich archival work, a wide range of interviews, and an interdisciplinary theoretical toolkit, this innovative and collaborative book offers fascinating new insights into the way states navigate controversial social problems. A short presentation of the book will be followed by responses from three discussants, drawn from different fields. For further details of the book, visit the Cambridge University Press website. The text of the book is available to institutional subscribers via Cambridge Core.

This event is hosted by the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History, and co-sponsored by the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy at Edinburgh (SKAPE). It may be possible to live stream all or part of the event; please contact Emile Chabal ( to register interest.

5-7pm, Meadows Lecture Theatre, Doorway 4, William Robertson Wing
Tue 12 Mar

'German Architectural Modernism, Spatial Perpetration and the Concentration Camp' - Jessica Cretney (De Montfort University)

This talk will explore tangible and theoretical connections between German architectural modernism and the Third Reich. These connections, and how the built environment functioned as a means of inflicting harm, will be illustrated through case studies of Dachau concentration camp and the architect Ernst Neufert. It will question how intention manifests in design, the role of architects and the significance of standardisation in replicating patterns of social inclusion and exclusion.

Architectural elevation of barracks at Dachau
5-7pm, LG.08, 40 George Square

Semester 1, 2023/24

Date Speaker Title Note
Wed 20 Sep  

Welcome Event

1pm, Room G:14 (William Robertson Wing, Doorway 4)



Latin American & Caribbean Seminar joint event


Tues 7 Nov Dr Jacob Bloomfield (Konstanz University) 

Roundtable & Book Launch

'Drag: A British History'

Panel members: Dr Jacob Bloomfield, Professor Louise Jackon, Dr Christian Illbury, Dr Rochelle Rowe & Dr Kate Davison (chair)

Joint event with Histories of Gender and Sexuality seminars  & Lighthouse Books

4-6pm, Meadows Lecture Theatre, Doorway 4, Old Medical School

**Drinks reception to follow**

Tues 21 Nov

Callum Macrae 


Film Screening: The Ballymurphy Precedent (2018)

Callum Macrae, the film's Director, will join us for a Q&A session after the film.

Joint event with Irish History Seminar


Further information

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The Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

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The School of History, Classics and Archaeology offers an exciting programme of seminars across many subjects areas. Visit the research seminars website to find out what else is happening.