Hugo Zetterberg

Thesis title: Kenya, the Press and lack of Controversy: Why Decolonisation was Accepted as a Successful Outcome, c.1950-1963


Originally from Sweden, Hugo Zetterberg first moved to Scotland to study History and Political Science at the University of Strathclyde and obtained a Master of Letters in Modern History at the University of Glasgow before commencing his PhD studies at Edinburgh.

His interest research interest is in representations of colonialism in popular media, and the relationship between government and the media in shaping the fate of colonial empires.

His Masters dissertation “To What Extent Did Labour Oppose Empire in the 1950s?” used the Mau Mau Rebellion as a case study to show that the party’s attitude toward independence movements was ambiguous upon the eve of decolonisation, with the frontbench avoiding to speak out in opposition of British colonialism as late as 1959.

His PhD thesis investigates the discourse surrounding late British colonialism and decolonisation and, with Kenya and Mau Mau as a case study, shows how the press and government influenced each other and made decolonisation appear as a logical conclusion of colonial rule. Together with published articles, it uses the Manchester Guardian Archives, the private papers of the Observer’s Africa correspondent Colin Legum, the Colonial Office collection and Cabinet Office papers.


2018: MLitt Modern History (Merit), University of Glasgow (UK)

2017: History and Politics and International Relations (First), University of Strathclyde (UK)

2015: Programme d’Etudes Politiques Annuel, Sciences Po Aix-en-Provence (FR)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History (affiliated student)

Current research interests

History of Arab nationalism; history of African nationalism; decolonisation; independence movements in the 1950s; popular imperialism; history of the press; British political history 1930-1970; French political history 1930-1970

Affiliated research centres