State, Society and Conflict

The relationship between state, society, and conflict is a key area of interest in research across the department.

Birmingham scholars investigate historical constellations leading to sudden and disruptive, as well as more subtle and gradual, forms of conflict across a broad span. We seek to disrupt and destabilize container-like national histories that still persist across the historical field. We are concerned with the social, political, and cultural roots and implications of conflict and violence, seeking to frame the history of conflict within mainstream historical narratives. 

In addition, Birmingham historians play leading roles in research on functions of violence in the formation of personhood, societies and states with projects on ethnic, religious and racial violence from the medieval to the contemporary period. Moreover, our expertise in research on revolution, military occupation, state formation and state collapse, within a broader context of social, political and cultural change, puts us at the forefront of methodologically innovative research on disruptive transformative moments.


Staff especially engaged with this research theme

Dr Jonathan Boff; military historian of the two world wars, British strategy from Gladstone to Churchill, morale and combat motivation. 

Dr Thomas Brodie; researches Modern German and wider European History, with strong thematic interests in the histories of religion and war.

Dr Tom Cutterham; historian of Revolutionary America and the late eighteenth-century Atlantic world.

Dr Steve Hewitt; security and intelligence, counter-terrorism, anti-Americanism, Canadian history and politics.

Professor Sabine Lee; historian of British-German relations since 1945, European integration, international relations, the cold war, children and war.

Dr James Pugh; historian of the social, cultural and military history of the two World Wars, including a focus on drug culture, consumption and control.

Dr Klaus Richter; researches the modern history of East Central Europe and the Baltics, history of nationalism, statehood and war and occupation.

Dr Manu Sehgal; historian of colonial South Asia with particular interest in the role of territorial contestation in shaping colonial rule during the long eighteenth century and articulations of sovereignty in colonial South Asia. 

Dr Daniel Whittingham; researches conduct of war, British military history, military thought and strategy.


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