Current PhD Research Projects

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StudentPhD Research FocusPhD Research Summary
Ranjdar Al-Jaf British policy towards the government of the Mosul vilayet from 1916-1926
Aaron Andrews
A History of Urban Decline in Britain: Glasgow and Liverpool, c. 1960-1990
Jamie Banks 'Up in Smoke': Opium and Indentured Labour in Mauritius, British Guiana, and Trinidad, 1834 - 1912.

Focusing on the case studies of Mauritius, British Guiana, and Trinidad, my research project considers the historical relationships between opium use and Asian indentured labour. In particular, the project questions how opium use was first introduced to the British Caribbean and Mauritius; how colonial officials attempted to regulate opium use; the supply and demand dynamics of the retail market in opium; the wider societal and criminal consequences of opium use; and finally how international anti-opium legislation fundamentally redefined colonial opium policies after 1912. In doing so, the intention of the project is to both chart the interlinking histories of opium and indentured labour and to explore how opium provides a prism through which to appreciate the broader experiences of Asian immigrants during and after indenture.

Helen Bates

The impact of John, 2nd Duke of Montagu’s colonial, industrial and commercial ventures on his national estates, with a particular focus on how his Northamptonshire estates were affected (1700-1770)

Richard Bates
Philip Batman A comparison of kinship family survival in York and  Swaledale in the nineteenth century.

Kinship, by which is loosely meant ties of family and communal interest, is a concept that changes radically over historical time and place.  Migration is an event that uproots families and impacts upon their survival.  This thesis is an attempt to marry these two notions with a study of kinship families caught up in some mass migrations of the nineteenth century.

The structure of kinship families and the factors that influenced their survival or decline are addressed in markedly contrasting regions of England, namely some districts of York and rural Swaledale throughout the nineteenth century.  It makes urban and rural Yorkshire comparisons over a period of marked agrarian and urban migration and change. Certain districts of Victorian York (representative of different social and industrial elements) are contrasted with Swaledale, to test theories about urban change, rural continuities, and the effects of migration upon community and kinship family persistence.

Stewart Beale The experience of war widows and orphans in the Midlands during the mid-seventeenth century
Sue Bishop

Mixed Romantic Relationships in post-war Leicester: Multiculturalism and the emotional complexities of Female Agency

Through the predominant use of new oral histories, this project is investigating the experiences of heterosexual women who entered into long-term mixed romantic relationships in Leicester between 1948 and 1985. The study will uncover how and where couples met and how their relationships developed. It will consider how their daily lives together evolved, with particular reference to concepts of space and place. It will identify where women found support for the relationships and the social strategies they employed to mitigate familial, religious and political objections. It will assess the impact of these relationships on women’s sense of self.

The project will also consider the women’s role in a historical movement for everyday multiculturalism in Leicester. It will reveal and evaluate how romantic mixing across national, religious and ethnic boundaries has contributed to the evolution of cultural identities in the British city.

Nicola Blacklaws The Twentieth-Century Poor Law in the Midlands and Wales 1900-c.1930

This project examines the nature of the poor law during the twentieth century. With a particular interest in outdoor relief provision, it explores how the poor law functioned ‘on the ground’ on a day-to-day basis. Taking a number of poor law unions as case studies from across the Midlands and Wales, it traces how aspects of local poor law policy changed over time and between regions. It also considers the impact of wider developments on local welfare policy, such as the First World War, the industrial unrest of the 1920s and liberal reforms such as the old age pension.

Elizabeth Blood The construction history of war memorials in Leicestershire and Rutland
Denise Bonnette-Anderson What makes a church or chapel redundant or marked for closure in the modern era in England?
Katie Bridger

The Leicestershire Gentry, c.1460-1560: Identity, Locality, and Landscape


My research investigates the relationship between the Leicestershire gentry and the natural and built landscape, c.1460-c.1550. It considers this relationship as both influencing and facilitating self-expression, in turn playing a key role in the creation and consolidation of gentry identity. This is undertaken in the context of the shire network and the wider implications of economic, political and religious transition at a local and national level.
Kevin Brown

Voices from the afterlife of Chartism: the interaction of radicals in the development of the Liberal party 1850-1870s.

This is a grassroots approach into the radical contribution to the working-class Liberal tradition within local and regional politics from the 1850s to the 1870s, a key to electoral success which had implications for party cohesion. It will challenge views that scientific socialism displaced the English radical tradition, teasing out the dynamics at work as a clearer working-class consciousness emerged. It will seek an understanding of any sense of Individual liberty within a sense of collective radical identity. It will use three local case studies – Leicester, Barnsley, and the East End of London, each area having substantial radical histories. It will identify individuals involved, trace family genealogies, work and social lives using local and national sources to reveal what led to their radical responses. It will include Local political associations and electoral agreements. This exciting adventure will seek out the real “people”, men and women, their languages and cultures. It will also enquire into emerging secularist causes, the nonconformist conscience and Christian socialism?


Jill Caine The migratory patterns of people in four settlements in Lincolnshire, 1851 - 1901 This research involves tracking as many males as possible who were resident in four specified villages - Addlethorpe in the Outer Marsh of Lincolnshire, Burgh let March in the Middle Marsh, Ulceby in the southern Lincolnshire Wolds, and East Ville  in the Fen a Margin. The research uses the events of the wider world (i.e. agricultural depression, industrial revolution, emigration to other countries etc) in order to compare life and events in the chosen communities.
Ash Carter

The Church in a State: How Richard Baxter's theology of the Visible and Invisible Church impacted his philosophy of Church and State


Congje Cheng

Reconstructing China's Local Clique: A Case Study of the Geopolitical Network of the Guangxi Clique, 1920s - 1940s

During the Republic China era, in addition to being partially occupied and supported in its independence by the West, the Soviet Russia and Japan, the majority of China’s territory was dominated by various KMT local cliques. The Guangxi Clique was one of the most representative and strongest, which was one of the first to conduct cooperation with the KMT central government, and participated and influenced numbers of major political events. To some extent, the history of the KMT central government and the Guangxi Clique, were two sides of the same historical progress. The research on the Guangxi Clique is therefore not a new field, but the most direct problem, Guangxi Clique’s organization and development model during the clique period, have rarely been touched. As the name has suggested, Guangxi is not merely a geographical concept for the clique, but is a collective native-place consciousness. The different dimensions of geopolitical network extended from the Guangxi-native place consciousness to determine the direction and space for the development of the clique government. The element of geopolitical network was ignored by most previous scholars. This research will, discover how the Guangxi Clique interacted with its subordinate network units, and how their interaction affected the process of the Guangxi Clique’s history in modern China.

Maria Christodoulou Politics and Everyday Life in a Divided City: Nicosia, 1955 - 1974
Joshua Cohen 'Never Again!' - a command not a slogan: The impact of the Holocaust on British anti-fascism, 1945-67
Carrie Crockett Penal Sakhalin: Forging identity in the Euro-Asian Borderlands
Nicholas Cummins The '"cork" in the bottle':Explaining Reagan's failure to confront Iran
Kevin DeYoung The Problem with John Witherspoon: Reassessing the Presbyterian pastor-president and his relationship to the Scottish Enlightenment
Abigail Eiceman
Trixie Gadd Survival Strategies of the Clergy of Dorset in the Seventeenth Century This research examines strategies adopted by the clergy of Dorset to survive the fluctuating political and social contexts of the seventeenth century. It examines changes in clerical patronage and sources of income, and the extent to which available choices were impacted by location, ecclesiastical and state legislation, local allegiances and social movements, loyalty to patrons or parishioners, religious conviction or economic necessity. This is a non-factional study of clergy within a single county, seeking to examine clerical experiences and careers across the religious spectrum, and the extent to which religious views or practices were affected by local contexts
Michael Greasley Propaganda and the British provincial press in the Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1923.

This study will be the first to analyse in detail the influence on the public of the coverage in the British provincial press of the Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922.  With the help of newly available archive material, it will to debunk some of the myths which have grown around a time that 'Englishmen strive to forget, and Irishmen strive to remember'.  Major provincial British newspapers will be analysed in order  to try and determine to what extent public opinion influenced the stance of a wavering British government. By investigating these issues through the prism of the provincial press, the research will add  a new 'bottom up' perspective to this still controversial period in modern British history.

Jordan Harris

The Mixed Race Experience in Victorian Britain.

This research project is an examination of mixed race people of West Indian/African and British descent, and their experiences in Great Britain during the Victorian Age. I am looking at mixed race people who were born in, emigrated to, or spent a considerate amount of time in Great Britain. I will to provide evidence as to how these people viewed themselves racially as well as how society viewed mixed race people from a racial standpoint. There is an examination of the terminology/language used, and the impact of Social Darwinism, colonialism and racism had on racial attitudes in British society.

Sally Hartshorne The Heritage of Home:  the role of history in the socio-economic development of Leicester, 1945-2013
Ines Hassen Inner cities and globalisation: the example of Rheims and Leicester
David Helm The healthcare economy of Gloucester in the Age of Reform, c.1815 - c.1870

Through a detailed deconstruction of the healthcare economy of the city of Gloucester, this study contests the description of the early and mid-nineteenth century healthcare economy as a 'medical marketplace' characterised by plurality, diversity, choice and competition.  The study comprises quantitative and qualitative analysis of the suppliers of healthcare in Gloucester (institutional, commercial and amateur), medical advertising, chemists and druggists' prescription books, and a range for personal testimony and coronial records.  Taking a holistic view of healthcare provision, this study argues that the demise of the medical marketplace occured earlier than the historiography suggests and that by 1850 it had already been largely superceded by a more recognisably modern, stratified healthcare economy, in which the medical profession and chemists and druggists were the dominant providers.


Emilia Henderson Franco-Saxon Manuscripts in the Ninth Century

One of the most visually stunning legacies of the centuries of connections across the English Channel between Irish and Anglo-Saxon individuals and ecclesiastical centres and the elite of the Carolingian Empire is the style of manuscript art known as Franco-Saxon. This term refers to the combination of distinctly Insular decorative features (intricate interlace and stylised animal heads), with Carolingian tastes for sumptuous gold and silver and meticulously planned proportions of layout. My research aims to reconsider the geographical scope of where these manuscripts were produced, and closely examine its development out of earlier expressions of these features and the social and political networks that lie behind them.


Elizabeth Jones
Namak Khoshnaw
Sophia Kotzer Russian Orthodox Church between Russian nationalism and the state apparatus in the period of perestroika (1985-1991).
Elias Kupfermann The role of the Castle and Town of New Windsor during the English Civil Wars (1642 – 1650)
Alessandro Laverda Miracles, Magic and Incorruptible Bodies: Defining the Boundaries of the Natural in Post-Tridentine Legal-Medicine
Rebecca Lawton Anglo-Saxon perceptions of the city of Rome: correspondence and exchange in the 7th and 8th centuries. My research analyses how Anglo-Saxons experienced the city of Rome through text in the seventh and eighth centuries. Pilgrim itineraries and collections of inscriptions were an important way of remembering and sharing the experience of travel to Rome. Papal letters provided a textual bridge to Rome, and through written communication they facilitated a tangible relationship between the two places.  This thesis aims to understand how these texts facilitated perception of Rome, and the role of these texts in the developing relationship between Rome and Anglo-Saxon England in the first two hundred years after conversion to Christianity.
Peter Leonard Some Experiences of Poor Relief in Lincolnshire 1750 to 1834.

The history of poor relief under the Old Poor Law has been little researched in Lincolnshire. This project examines relief within the county exploring comparisons between the different parts (Lindsey, Kesteven, Holland), coastal and inland parishes and also between Lincolnshire and other counties. It aims to provide a whole county picture that will enable an assessment to be made of the level and types of provision made for the poor relative to other parts of England.


Jun Li Garden City in China

This research will review the development history of Garden Cities of China from the beginning of 20th century to today. Tracing the introduction and spread of Garden City theory and development and evolution of Garden Cities in China,  discussing  plans and  construction of Garden Cities of China, it will display the achievement of Garden City. In addition, researching on how the garden City theory has influenced the development of China cities, especially discovering the factors which improved or constrained it to develop, as well as the mechanization the Garden City theory worked in China and  its change of different periods, this will benefit for contemporary exploration of Garden Cities.

Anna McKay War and Peace: The History of British Prison Hulks, 1776-1864 This doctoral project seeks to document the forgotten history of British prison hulks in the years of their operation, 1776-1864. Prior to 1775, transportation to American colonies had been one of the British government’s primary means of punishing its felons. However, the outbreak of the American Revolution was to halt this process and very quickly, a growing backlog of both domestic prisoners and prisoners of war put a huge strain on capacities in British prisons. Government officials turned to hulks as a means to solve the prison housing crisis; primarily decommissioned naval warships which were not fit to sail but still habitable, hulks were stripped of their masts and fittings and reborn as floating prisons which could hold well over five hundred prisoners at any one time. This short-term solution was to continue well after peacetime, with hulks not only positioned around naval bases in Britain but also further afield, in the outposts of Bermuda and Gibraltar.
Joshua McMullan

Defending Modernity? Communicating with the Public Nuclear Energy: Historical Perspectives

Examine how Government departments and state agencies that supported the development of nuclear power promoted and defended this commitment to the public from the late 1950s.  Exploring how organisations formulated their external communications strategies, collaborated with (and challenged) each other, the wider industry and international associates and how these strategies changed over time.  The project contributes to the history of science communication and of government science. It will also offer lessons for current policy makers interested in the formation and influencing of public opinion on major infrastructure projects and science and technology issues.

Sadie McMullon
Christopher Mitchell Astrology in England in the Twelfth Century

The twelfth century saw a resurgence of astrological and scientific knowledge in Christian Europe as a result of numerous works being translated from Arabic into Latin. This PhD looks at the twelfth century translation movement, and how astrological texts were received and used in England. Particular reference is made to the Hereford school and the application of astrology by Roger of Hereford, who compiled various sources into a single work for his students.

Adnan Mohammed British Representations of the Kurds and the Armenian Question 1877-1908

The British material is one of the most important sources for studying the relations between the Kurds and Armenians during the late of the Ottoman Empire. My research traces how do the British primary sources represent and describe the Kurdish roles in Armenian Question? How are the allegations of both the Kurds and Armenians analyzed in the main British sources? Are the British sources neutral in depicting the role of Kurds in Armenian Question or they biased on their writing.

Tamar Moore Household Cures and Female Charity: The welfare and well-being of the estate of the English Versailles in the long 18th century
Michael Morgan

‘The Tone of My Quarterly Payments’: The Clergy-Laity Relationship in Wilberforce’s Friendship Network (1783-1833)

It is the aim of this research to better understand the nature of the lay-clergy dynamic in William Wilberforce’s influential network through a thorough examination of Wilberforce's largely untapped journals and diaries. The thesis will include a series of case studies, arranged conceptually in concentric circles, beginning with those clergy in Wilberforce’s inner circle, and working out toward those ecclesiastical bodies largely peripheral to his life, revealing the ‘tone’ of this relationship in various contexts.

Janice Morris The role of elite women in the reception of French émigrés in England, 1789-1815
Kellie Moss Convict Connections: The British Empire and the Establishment of the Swan River Colony
Patricia Okuleye Selling Health on the World Stage
Paul Owens The social and ecclesiastical significance of church seating arrangements, 1700-1900
Bradley Phipps Motherhood and Manhood: Gender in the White Citizens' Councils

My research explores the role of gender in the White Citizens' Councils, a network of groups which were formed from 1954 onwards in the United States with the aim of maintaining racial segregation and halting the civil rights movement. First, the research analyses the role of gender in the tactics and activities of Council groups, including the roles of women in the groups. Second, the research assesses how of gender and sexuality were used in Council propaganda as tools for evoking reaction from their audience. Third, it establishes the role of gender in segregationists’ efforts to construct and control their public image, in terms of how they sought to be perceived and represented in public.

Adam Prime The British Officer in the Indian Army, 1861-1945
Kimberley Pullen The Old Poor Law, Enclosures and Social Change in Leicestershire and Rutland, c.1700-1834 My research examines the impact of enclosures and social change on the Old Poor Law in the period 1700-1834. I am looking at how enclosures affected rural poverty and how they were related to other major developments, including demographic growth, agrarian change and urbanisation. I am also examining the role of local changes for mitigating the worst effects of enclosures, especially the expansion of frame-work knitting in Leicestershire. My key aim is to assess the impact of enclosures in the context of these other developments, and to examine their contribution to the decline of the Old Poor Law
John Pullin

Railway Locomotive Drivers, 1850–1885

Piecing together the working and domestic lives of a distinctive mid-Victorian occupational group, the engine drivers

Emma Purcell Houses and Homes: The Management of a Network of Great Households, c.1709-1827
Jeffrey Pym What made possible the first global import of liquefied natural gas from Louisiana into a new North Thames Gas cryogenic storage terminal on Canvey Island in Essex during the winter of 1959?
Julian Raynor Murder in the Metropole: the changing nature of homicide in London and Middlesex, 1750-1900
Katherine Roscoe Island Chains: a spatial history of Australian convict islands
Matthew Rowley Godly Violence: Providence, Scripture and Puritan Belief-Formation in War in England, Ireland, Scotland and Colonial America This thesis focuses on the process where by the Puritans came to believe that God was on their side in warfare against four different religio-ethnopolitical groups.
Mrunmayee Satam Governing the Body- Public Health and Urban Society in Colonial Bombay City 1914- 1945 This project explores the management of public health in colonial Bombay in the period between 1914 and 1945. The project attempts to evaluate the role played by the colonial state, the municipal government and the various voluntary organizations in addressing issues related to medical relief. With a particular focus on the gender and caste perspective, it explores the politics surrounding medical relief and public health in the city of Bombay
Anna Scanlon Postwar Theatrical Images of Anne Frank in Britain, United States and France
Christopher Side The rise and fall of Hathersage hacklepin making and its effect on the community.
Mark Smith The Life and Works of Samuel Chandler: 1693-1766 This thesis focuses on the published works of the Presbyterian minister Samuel Chandler in order to demonstrate the complex relationships dissenters had with Church and state during the mid-eighteenth century.
Ann Stones Charnwood Circles: the role of boundaries in the relationship between people and place in medieval Charnwood Forest This thesis seeks to answer several questions about the external boundaries and internal divisions of medieval Charnwood Forest. Circles of human activity around and within medieval Charnwood Forest are identified and related to cultural, social, economic and topographic boundaries. Consideration is given to the significance of boundaries in the Middle Ages and to the question of who precisely those boundaries were significant for. The means by which boundaries were defined and expressed in a non-cartographic society are examined and the nature and characteristics of boundaries in medieval Charnwood are explored.
Nadine Tauchner Otto Schulmeister- An Austrian Journalist between Nazism and Democracy. The thesis looks at the life and work of Otto Schulmeister, an Austrian journalist, who was employed in a Nazi-propaganda-group and continued working as a journalist after the war, while being closely affiliated with the CIA from 1950 until 1973. In the course of his career, he moved up to be the chief editor and later publisher of “Die Presse”. He died in 2001 as one of the most famous and influential journalists of the post war press, leaving an impressive paper trail. His personal estate (Nachlass) forms the foundation of this Ph.D. project, which includes letters, notebooks, autobiographic writing, official documents and a collection of his professional work. An analysis of the documents will provide the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the life, work and ideas of Otto Schulmeister during the course of his long career. The comparison of his professional work and his private correspondence and autobiographical texts allows to show continuities, discontinuities and parallels in his opinions and ideas and to estimate his influence on and positions in Austrian journalism, politics and society.
Working as a journalist in Amsterdam, Zagreb and Vienna over several decades in different political systems, an intellectual biography will contribute to transnationally inspired historical research on Austrian press, American media policies in Austria after the war and the role journalists played for the National Socialist Regime and later in the discourses about Austrian Nazi past.
Matthew Tuohy

Tracing the origins of settlement morphology and landscape character within the Hundred of Willey, Bedfordshire

My PhD project aims to investigate the landscape and settlement character of the Hundred of Willey, a collection of parishes in north-west Bedfordshire. It will apply historic landscape analysis to features in the Hundred such as manorial estates, trackways and deserted medieval settlement, in order to discern the origins and evolution of the individual parishes and their environs. The project will investigate the effect of manorial land ownership upon the study area parishes, and the degree to which the slow move towards nucleation and enclosure was driven by wealthy landowners versus more organic processes. It will also investigate the early medieval origins of the Hundred, and the influence of river and wold environments upon its historic landscape.

Scott Weightman The Outward Face of Segregation: Segregationists’ Media Strategies during the 1950s and 1960s

My project traces the development of segregationists’ utilisation of mass media in opposition to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. By examining the text and visual imagery of segregationists’ media campaigns, the study scrutinises how they adapted to changing attitudes, investigates the variety and expediency of their strategies, and explores the metamorphosis of southern resistance into the national conservatism of Nixon and Reagan. Such an analysis reveals the emergence of more palatable colour-blind arguments; approaches that were co-opted by Republican strategists from the late-1960s onwards and continue to appear in US media today.

David Yates An evaluation of the  criticisms of Grey’s Foreign Policy

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