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Strategy | A global outlook

The Department of History’s global outlook arises from the geographical breadth of its research and teaching, the international composition of its staff (with colleagues from countries such as Germany, Hungary and the USA), and the proportion of EU and Overseas students in its Honours cohort, roughly one-sixth of whom come from countries as diverse as Japan, USA, Canada, Russia, Finland, China, Turkey and Peru (2018 - 2019).

We have increased significantly the number and diversity of the Department’s research students, through the interdisciplinary appeal of the new MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and through a carefully directed internationalisation strategy. This strategy funds dedicated PhD scholarships in distinct areas of history (such as East Asian and South Asian history), and that, in the context of continuing Covid-19 uncertainties, enables distance-learning for international postgraduates and offers the possibility of international supervision for Durham-based postgraduates.

An annual postgraduate workshop for postgraduates in the Department of History held jointly with the University of Münster, forms part of a deeper international collaboration between the two institutions. The Durham-Münster Conference runs over a three-day period and grants students from both institutions the opportunity to present and discuss their research within an international network.

Read more about our Student Exchange and International Engagement.

We have successfully sponsored visiting scholars from all over the world for university-wide schemes. Read more about our Fellowships with the Institute of Advanced Study and the IMEMS Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site Fellowships.

We are always happy to host international researchers. You can read more about our policy and procedures for visiting researchers.

Durham History engages with university-wide programmes. Read more about our Global Networks and Consortia, including the Matiriki and Coimbra networks.

Research | World-class Resources and World-wide Collaboration

Durham History’s world-leading research is grounded in its outstanding collections (such as the Oriental Museum, the largest collection of East Asian artefacts outside London, or the Sudan Archive housed in Special Collections), and in extensive international research networks of its staff. We aim to extend our use of Durham’s libraries, archives, and museums to show the national and international significance of its distinctive collections to a more diverse public audience.

Through individual and collective initiatives, the Department of History at Durham have built new relationships with research libraries, collections, and institutes. Dr Kevin Waite and Professor Stephen Taylor have established a new, faculty-wide partnership with the Huntington Library (California), which consists of an annual exchange for researchers. This collaboration saw Waite deliver a keynote address at the Huntington for the Library’s centennial celebrations in January 2020. Professor Andy Wood will hold the FletcherJones Distinguished Fellowship at the Huntington Library in 2022. The Department of History is committed to building on the Durham-Huntington Library collaboration to forge new international partnerships with research institutions.

We are currently developing close partnerships with Peking University and WWI Munster, and we welcome proposals for further strategic partnerships. Enquiries can be addressed to:

The Department of History at Durham has sought to position itself as an international centre of historical research. Past and current doctoral students collaborated with Dr Cherry Leonardi and the world-leading Sudan Archive to hold an international postgraduate conference on ‘The Ethnographic Archive’ in 2016. Researchers from across the UK, US, Europe, and from Sudan and South Sudan came together to discuss new research and reflect on shared methodological, theoretical, ethical and practical issues across history and anthropology in Eastern Africa and the Sudans.

We have been very responsive to outward-facing national and international priorities and initiatives. Dr Cherry Leonardi and Professor Justin Willis have organised ‘Sudan Study Days’ for the HMG Sudan Desk to share Durham-based research and the Sudan collections. The ESRCDFID Development Frontiers grant for ‘Energy on the Move’, of which Leonardi is the Co-Investigator, supports innovative research with the potential for making a radical impact on sustainable development and the reduction of poverty. Dr Chris Courtney is a collaborator on a multidisciplinary grant, ‘Heat in Urban Asia’, which is funded by the Singapore Ministry of Education and which explores the issue of heat in Asian cities. It will create a number of public-facing web resources for citizens of several key Asian cities to learn about the past, present, and future of heat alleviation.

Research in the Department of History has received international recognition. Professor Andy Wood’s 2013 book, The Memory of the People, won the 2014 Leo Gershoy Award from the American Historical Association, while Dr Chris Courtney won the 2019 American Historical Association John K. Fairbanks Prize for his 2018 book, The Nature of Disaster in China. Professor Justin Willis’ project on elections in sub-Saharan Africa won an ESRC Excellence Award for International Impact in 2019.



History Department Building

Visiting Researchers Programme

The Department of History at Durham offers a Visiting Academic Programme and applications for visits of up to one year are welcomed from researchers at all stages of their careers.

Find out how to apply here