Skip to main content

This page highlights our research environment including our current and past projects, collaborations and resources


Current Projects


Jewish Collectors and Donors at the National Gallery (c.1830-1930)

Dr Thomas Stammers (Principal Investigator)

  • Explores the role of Jewish collectors in shaping the collection and administration of the National Gallery, London.
  • Asks how a Jewish minority, whether as collectors, donors, dealers or trustees, intervened in metropolitan institutions and helped to construct Britain's artistic heritage.
  • Brings the National Gallery into alliance with the major AHRC project (2019-23) on 'The Jewish Country House: Objects, Networks, People'.

Supported by The National Gallery, Studentship (2020-24)

Love in the Time of Capitalism: Emotion & Making the British Working Class

Professor Julie-Marie Strange (Principal Investigator)

  • Integrates the history of emotion with the history of class to advance a new understanding of what it meant to be working class, and know it, in the late nineteenth century.
  • Offers an expanded, more inclusive, conception of the working class as a politically conscious body capable of advancing sophisticated critiques of capitalism from heterodox standpoints.
  • Develops new methods to analyses class consciousness, identifying emotion as a form of capital, and populating the study of emotions with a broader, more diverse, range of emotional agents.

Supported by Leverhulme Trust, Major Research Fellowship (2020-23)

Meeting the challenge of mass politics in Britain: the Liberal caucus, 1875-1914

 Dr Naomi Lloyd-Jones (Leverhulme Fellow)

  • Asks whether internal democracy within political parties good for democracy, focusing on how the organisation of mass parties affected the development of mass politics.
  • Looks at the ‘caucus’ innovations of the British Liberal party in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Uses a ‘four nations’ approach and digital methods.

Supported by Leverhulme Trust, Early Career Fellowship (2021-24)


Past Projects


Cultural Heritage 360

Professor Stephen Taylor (Principal Investigator), Professor Giles Gasper (Co-Investigator) Professor Ivana Evans (Co-Investigator) Alan Fentiman (Partner), Animmersion UK Ltd (Partner), The Projection Studio Ltd (Partner)

  • Scopes the potential for Arts and Humanities-led interdisciplinary research into cultural heritage and its record – that is, artefacts, widely conceived, from manuscripts to ceramics and textiles to sculpture.

Supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council, Research Grant (2020-21)

Augustine and the Making of Christian Practice (400-1000) 

Dr Matthieu Pignot (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow) 

  • Offers a thorough and innovative examination of the surviving manuscripts produced before 1000 of a set of Augustine’s lesser-known works 
  • Shows how, on the basis of these material remains, Augustine’s works were used and adapted over time and in different geographical and historical contexts 
  • Sheds light on the concrete impact of inherited written traditions from North Africa in the development of religious practices in Europe and beyond 
  • Contributes to the study of late antique and early medieval manuscripts, reading and writing practices and material culture

Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, Early Career Fellowship (2020-2023) 

Petitioning and People Power in Twentieth-Century Britain

Professor Richard Huzzey (Principal Investigator) Dr Henry Miller (Co-Investigator)

  • Explores how the practice of harvesting contact details and personal data on petitions for future mobilisation developed alongside the professionalisation of political parties and pressure groups, as well as how they evaded successive data protection laws.
  • Using quantitative social survey data, it investigates the shift to digital activism, connecting the history of petitioning to contemporary research on e-petitioning.
  • Reveals the dynamics of representation, voluntary association, and popular sovereignty over a century of reinvention and change in British citizenship.

Supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council, Research Grant (2020-23). For more information please visit the project website here


Collaborations with other Disciplines and Institutions


Ordered Universe, led by Professor Giles Gasper, combines the approaches of medieval specialists and modern scientists. Focused on the scientific works of the 13th-century English polymath Robert Grosseteste, ‘Ordered Universe’ to date has involved over 165 scholars in disciplines from medieval history to computational cosmology, education to classics, Arabic studies to computer engineering.

Medieval Pigments is led by Professor Richard Gameson in conjunction with experts from Chemistry at Northumbria and Durham and from Cambridge University’s Fitzwilliam Museum, to study and conserve medieval manuscripts. Funded by an interdisciplinary AHRC grant (2018-21), the project uses a mobile Raman Spectroscopy unit.

The impact of elections in sub-Saharan Africa, led by Professor Justin Willis with political scientists from University of Birmingham and University of Warwick, researches the impact of elections in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana, and the effectiveness of international interventions intended to improve governance through enhanced electoral integrity.

Dr Kevin Waite and Professor Stephen Taylor have established a Faculty-wide partnership with the Huntington Library (California), which consists of an annual exchange for researchers. The Department of History is committed to building on the Durham-Huntington Library collaboration to forge new international partnerships with research institutions in North America.

Dr Alex Barber is the academic lead on an international public project, run in conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington DC), to investigate and translate the Newdigate manuscript letters.

The AHRC project on Jewish Country Houses with Dr Thomas Stammers, in collaboration with Oxford University, has led to further collaboration with the National Trust, and the Centre des Monuments NationauxDr Cherry Leonardi is collaborating with the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and with other museums across the UK and continental Europe to present and interpret collections from South Sudan.

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.

History staff are also co-investigators on projects based in other departments and institutions, including: