World History/Global Empires



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World History/Global Empires

The History Department sits at the centre of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy; its students are uniquely placed to benefit from the scholarly cross-currents generated by this position. The fruitful interdisciplinary linkages of the department are shown by active staff involvement in centres such as the Centre for Early Modern Studies, the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, the Centre for Scandinavian Studies and the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law.

World History/Global Empires

World history at Aberdeen covers a wide variety of subjects, including cultural history, modern Russian and Soviet History, French History, and modern European history (including Jewish/non-Jewish relations).

The study of global empires at the University of Aberdeen has a particular strength in the ‘British world’, and its thematic areas of emphasis cover connections and networks, impacts, cultures, politics, and the ends of empires.


We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in World History/Global Empires at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.

Dr Alessandra CecolinSupervision is offered in topics connected to the modern history of the Middle East, including wider conflict between national and religious groups living in Middle East; Islamic and Judaic shared history in Middle East, history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Applications are particularly welcome on the social, political and cultural histories of the Middle East.

Dr Andrew Dilley: Supervision is offered in topics connected with the history of the British empire and the Commonwealth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the impact of the empire on Britain. Applications are particularly welcome on the economics and business histories of the empire, the politics of the Commonwealth, and on the history of settler societies. Dr Dilley will also consider other topics in the fields of global and British history.

Professor Marjory Harper: Supervision is offered in emigration within the British Empire since the 18th century; modern Scottish history; oral history; medicine and migration.

Professor Anthony Heywood: Supervision is offered in any aspect of Modern Russian and Soviet history, and also transport history, particularly in relation to the role of railway transport in warfare in Britain and Europe; British railway history.

Dr Ben Marsden: Supervision is offered in cultural history, especially of science, technology and medicine in Britain from the eighteenth-century to the present.

Professor Thomas Weber: Supervision is offered in international and global political history and a wide array of modern European history; Jewish/non-Jewish relations and historical methodology.

PGR Students

Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:

  • Theresa Antoff, Lust, Marriage and Murder in 18thcentury Scotland: Interpretations of the trial of Katherine Nairn and Patrick Ogilvie for incest and murder
  • Borja de Arístegui, Spanish Diplomatic History, with a focus on Near and Middle East foreign policy
  • Jeremy Higgins, ‘Industrial Truce’: The British Economy, World War and labour relations on the railway, 1911 -1921
  • Sandi Howie, The changing face of veterinary practice in Scotland in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the impact of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1881
  • Kolja Kröger, Radical Identities: Inside the Nazi Party 1919-1923 
  • Ellen Packham, Literary Engineers: Engineers as Authors and Readers, 1750 - 1900
  • Eleanor Peters, Mediators: Female Electrical Educators and Consumers in Britain 1910-1940
  • William Strachan, The Development of Meat Inspection in Great Britain Since 1914

The following are some selected publications relating to World History/Global Empires by staff at the University of Aberdeen:

Dr Ben Marsden

  •  'Ranking Rankine: W. J. M. Rankine (1820-72) and the making of ‘engineering science’ revisited'. History of Science, vol 51, no. 4, pp. 434-456.
  • 'Superseding Steam: the Napier and Rankine Hot-air Engine'. Transactions of the Newcomen Society, vol 76, no. 1, pp. 1-22.    
  • ''The progeny of these two "Fellows''': Robert Willis, William Whewell and the sciences of mechanism, mechanics and machinery in early Victorian Britain'. British Journal for the History of Science, vol 37, no. 4, pp. 401-434.    
  • 'Re-reading Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Engineering literature in the early nineteenth century', in B Marsden, H Hutchison & R O'Connor (eds), Uncommon Contexts: Encounters between Science and Literature, 1800-1914. Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century, vol. 22, Pickering & Chatto, London, pp. 83-109, 206-214.
  • Watt's Perfect Engine: Steam and the Age of Invention. Icon, Cambridge.

Professor Marjory Harper

Professor Anthony Heywood

  • Engineer of Revolutionary Russia: Iurii V. Lomonosov (1876-1952) and the Railways  (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).
  • (co-edited with Jon Smele)  The Russian Revolution of 1905: Centenary Perspectives  (London: Routledge, 2005).
  • Catalogue of the I.A. Bunin, V.N. Bunina, L.F. Zurov and E.M. Lopatina Collections (Leeds: Leeds University Press, 2000).
  • Modernising Lenin's Russia: Economic Reconstruction, Foreign Trade and the Railways  (Cambridge: CUP, 1999).
  • (with I.D.C. Button)  Soviet Locomotive Types: The Union Legacy  (Malmo: Stenvall, 1995).

Dr Elizabeth Macknight

  • 'Dining in aristocratic households of nineteenth-century France: a study of female authority'. Virtus. Journal of Nobility Studies, vol 23, pp. 105-123.
  • 'Archives, Heritage, and Communities'. Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques, vol 37, no. 2, pp. 105-122.    
  • 'A 'Theatre of Rule'? Domestic Service in Aristocratic Households under the Third Republic'. French History, vol 22, no. 3, pp. 316-336.   
  • 'Credit and community', in D McDonnell & E Macknight (eds), The Co-operative Model in Practice: International Perspectives. Co-operative Education Trust Scotland, Glasgow, pp. 19-28. 
  • Aristocratic Families in Republican France, 1870-1940. Studies in Modern French History, paperback edn, Manchester University Press, Manchester.

Professor Thomas Weber

  • Becoming Hitler: The Making of a Demagogue. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • 'Hitler im bayerischen Heer: Eine politisch-soziale Binnenperspektive seines Weltkriegsregiments, 1914-1945'. Historische Mitteilungen der Ranke-Gesellschaft, vol 28, no. 2016, pp. 135-144.
  • 'Anti-Semitism and Philo-Semitism among the British and German Elites: Oxford and Heidelberg before the First World War'. English Historical Review, vol 143, no. 475, pp. 86.
  • Adolf Hitler und der Erste Weltkrieg: Erfahrungen und Konsequenzen. in E Piper (ed.), Das Zeitalter der Weltkriege: Deutschland und Europa 1914 bis 1945. Federal Center for Political Education, Bundeszentrale fuer politische Bildung, Bonn.
  • British Universities in the First World War. in T Maurer (ed.), Kollegen – Kommilitonen – Kämpfer: Europäische Universitäten im Ersten Weltkrieg. Pallas Athene, no. 18, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, pp. 75-90.

Dr Andrew Dilley

  • 'After the British World'. The Historical Journal, vol 60, no. 2, pp. 547-568.  
  • 'Empire, Globalisation, and the Cultural Economy of the British World'. Journal for Maritime Research, vol 14, no. 1, pp. 45-55.      
  • 'Financial centres as fields: Reflections on habitus and risk in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries', in K Schönhärl (ed.), Decision Taking, Confidence and Risk Management in Banks from Early Modernity to the 20th Century. Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
  • 'Trade after the Deluge: British Commerce, Armageddon, and the Political Economy of Globalization, 1914-1918', in S Mollan, A Smith & K Tennent (eds), The Impact of the First World War on International Business. Routledge, pp. 25-46. 
  • Finance, Politics, and Imperialism: Australia, Canada, and the City of London c.1896-1914. Cambridge Imperial and Postcolonial Studies Series, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.     

Some helpful links for further information and resources in World History/Global Empires include: