Dr James Pugh

Dr James Pugh

Department of History
Lecturer in Modern History

Social, cultural and military history of the two World Wars, including a focus on drug culture, consumption and control.

Feedback and office hours

Office hours: Monday, 11:00 – 12:00 and Wednesday, 09:00 – 10:00


  • PhD in Modern History (Birmingham)
  • MA in International History (Wales)
  • BA in Contemporary Military and International History (Salford)


I have taught Modern History and War Studies at Birmingham since 2011, becoming a Lecturer with the Department of History in July 2017. I also have administrative experience of working in both national and local government and within Higher Education.


Module Convenor – Undergraduate:

  • Third Year Autumn / Spring Option – ‘a holiday from reality’: A history of drugs and drug use in the Modern Era

Module Convenor – Postgraduate:

  • Ethics of War
  • Dissertation Preparation (History)
  • Dissertation (History)

I also contribute to the following team taught modules:

  • First Year Core Module – Making of the Contemporary World
  • Second Year Core Module – Group Research
  • Third Year Core Module – Dissertation

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise or co-supervise a number of MA and PhD students. Subjects in which I am interested include:

The modern history of drugs, especially with a focus on Britain.
The modern history of drugs and warfare.
The history, theory and practice of air power, particularly during the era of total war.
The military history of the two World Wars, especially from a British perspective.

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My current research explores the history of amphetamines in Britain before, during and after the Second World War. I am interested in how specific cultures develop around drugs, and how societies, organisations and individuals encounter, negotiate and utilise psychoactives. Methodologically, I am concerned with how we excavate the hidden history of drug use and how we manage the fluidity and subjectivity inherent in evidence of drug experiences. My work includes a focus on social, cultural and military history, and I also have research interests in a number of air power history topics.

Other activities

Programme Convenor:


You can find me on twitter @psy_historian