The Department of History is home to a number of research projects funded by organisations such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

Featured project

Understanding Insurgencies: Resonances from the Colonial Past

In spite of increasing interest in the history of counterinsurgency and empire, we lack comparative studies of colonial responses to armed insurrection, civil disorder, anti-colonial paramilitaries and other irregular forces. This project seeks to redress this imbalance by analysing colonial counterinsurgency and its contemporary legacies from a comparative perspective.

More than simple comparisons of violent insurrections in individual colonies at the end of European Empire, this network project begins from the proposition that insurgencies, revolutionary social movements, their propaganda and methods of action were inherently transnational and inter-connected. Transnational activism, popular mobilisation, and the targeting of civilians by ethnicity or communal attachment are apparent in the actions of numerous contemporary insurgent movements. So, too, intelligence-led counter-insurgency, punitive aerial bombardment, and patronage of loyalist militias have guided – or misguided – government responses to numerous contemporary civil conflicts from Latin America, through Africa North and South of the Sahara, to the Middle East and South East Asia.

Understanding Insurgencies project page

Research partners

Coordinated by Martin Thomas and Gareth Curless of Exeter’s Centre for the Study of War, State and Society (CWSS), the network brings together seven University partners: Exeter, Oxford, Warwick, Glasgow, CNRS Paris, Université de Québec, and KITLV Leiden.


  • Testing the hypothesis: repression compared
  • The laws of war and targets of violence
  • Punishments and rewards
  • Political economies of colonial violence and counter-insurgency
  • Colonial insurgencies as transnational phenomena
  • Ending insurgency: ruptures and reconciliations


The eight Network workshop events will allow specialist scholars from the UK and overseas to refine ideas about the nature of late colonial conflict, the ways in which colonial security forces responded to it, and the ensuing patterns of violence, rights abuses, and legacies of inter-communal distrust that resulted.

Details to be released


All projects

Major research projects

For research projects not listed here, please visit the research centres pages

Title PIAwarding BodyAmount in £sStart and finish yearResearch Centre
AveTransRisk – Average – Transaction Costs and Risk Management during the First Globalization (Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries) Maria Fusaro ERC - Consolidator Grants scheme (n.724544)  €1,854,256.00 2017-2022 Centre for Maritime Historical Studies
On the Frontiers of Islam: Cross-border Relations in Medieval Iberia and Africa, c1000–1500 Simon Barton Leverhulme Trust     123,899 2007-2010 Medieval Studies
Citation and Allusion in the Ars Nova French Chanson and Motet: Memory, Tradition, and Innovation Yolanda Plumley AHRC 231,359 2007-2010, though parts ongoing Medieval Studies
Forms of Law in the Early Modern Persianate World, 17th-19th centuries

Dr Nandini Chatterjee European Research Commission 1,200,000 2017  
Script and forgery in England to A.D. 1100 Julia Crick Leverhulme Trust       34,981 2008-10  
Britons and Their Past Anna Green European Commission 37,346 2008-10  

Connecting Cornwall: Telecommunications, Locality & Work in West Britain 1870 - 1918

Richard Noakes AHRC 288,527 2008-10  
The History of Stress: Medical Research and Contested Knowledge in the Twentieth Century Mark Jackson Wellcome Trust 454,118 2008-12 Medical History
Environments, Expertise and Experience: The Transmission and Boundaries of Medical Knowledge and Practice Mark Jackson Wellcome Trust 833,945 2008-14 Medical History
Remembering Communism James Mark AHRC 23,007 2008-8  
Penlee House Gallery and Museum: Connecting with the Local Community Alan Booth AHRC 103,134 2008-9  
Pilot Project: A Case Study of the Influenza Pandemic 1889-90 Mark Jackson Wellcome Trust 12,746 2008-9 Medical History
Health, Heredity and Environment 1850 - 2000 Mark Jackson Wellcome Trust 25,549 2008-9 Medical History
The Origins and Impact of Churchill's Imperialism Richard Toye Leverhulme Trust 31,645 2008-9  
Consumption and Gender in the Early Seventeenth-Century Household Jane Whittle AHRC 28,120 2008-9  
Truro Historical Project Anna Green AHRC 105,109 2009-10  
Interpreting Medieval Liturgy, c500-1500 AD: Text and Performance Sarah Hamilton AHRC 40,822 2009-11  
Empire Protest and Police Repression: Political Economies of Colonial Violence Martin Thomas Leverhulme Trust 134,359 2009-12  
Landscape and Memory in Early Modern Wales Nicola Whyte Leverhulme Trust 20,850 2010-10  
Waste Tim Cooper Wellcome Trust 19,146 2010-11  
The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945, the product of the Bombing States and Peoples research project Richard Overy Leverhulme Trust 35,907 2010-11 War, State and Society 
People's Memories and Experiences (Oral History) Garry Tregidga  Heritage Lottery Fund 23,700 2010-11  
Mental Health and Institutional Care in the Twentieth Century Joseph Melling Wellcome Trust 100,168 2010-12  
Children and Sex in early Modern England Sarah Toulalan Leverhulme Trust  81,226 2010-12  
The Works of Guillaume de Machaut: Music, Image, Text in the Middle Ages Yolanda Plumley Leverhulme Trust 223,795 2010-14 Medieval Studies
The Rhetorical Culture of the British House of Commons, 1918 - 1940 Richard Toye AHRC 22,653 2011-11  
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Visiting Scholar Staffan Muller-Wille Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 32,400 2011-12  
The State Versus The People: Revolutionary Justice in Russia's Civil War 1917-22 Matthew Rendle Leverhulme Trust 42,536 2011-12  
Infertility in Medieval England Catherine Rider  Leverhulme Trust 30,939 2011-12 Medieval Studies
Health and Masculinity in Britain 1945 - 2000 Alison Haggett Wellcome Trust 123,450 2011-13 Medical History
This Weather Always Gets Me Down Nicole Baur Wellcome Trust 15,639 2012-12  
Sexual Knowledge: Uses of the Past Kate Fisher British Academy 86,480 2012-12 Medical History
University of Jena Fellowship James Mark University of Jena 20,358 2012-12  
Rewriting the System of Nature Staffan Muller-Wille Wellcome Trust 28,000 2009-2013; 2012-13 Medical History
Farming Stories Garry Tregidga Heritage Lottery Fund 40,230 2012-13  
Sailing into Modernity: Comparative Perspectives on the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century European Economic Transition Maria Fusaro European Research Council 606,276 2012-14 Maritime Historical Studies

Subjects of Law: Rightful Selves and the Legal Process in Imperial Britain and the British Empire

and Privy Council Papers

Nandini Chatterjee AHRC 44,997 2012-14 Imperial and Global History 
The Rhetoric of Empire: Managing Imperial Conflict between Britain and France Martin Thomas Leverhulme Trust 148,556 2012-15 Imperial and Global History
Afterlives of the Empire: Thinking forward through an Imperial Past Andrew Thompson AHRC 544,459 2012-16 Imperial and Global History
The Medical World of Early Modern England c.1500 - 1715 Jonathan Barry Wellcome Trust 923,122 2012-17 Medical History
Sex & History Kate Fisher AHRC 11,079 2013-13 Medical History
Transnationalism and the Communist Bloc 1958-1980 James Mark British Academy 89,086 2013-13  
The West Country's Ancient Bench Ends Todd Gray The Pilgrim Trust 19,511 2013-14 Early Modern Studies
ESRC Future Research Leaders Award Gareth Curless ESRC 136,522 2013-2016 Imperial and Global History
The First World War in the Classroom: Teaching and the Construction of Cultural Memory Catriona Pennell AHRC 18,886 2013-14 War, State and Society 
Lifestyle, Health and Disease: Changing Concepts of Balance in Modern Medicine Mark Jackson Wellcome Trust 867,410 2013-18 Medical History
Backing Britain?: Imagining a nation's global economic future since 1900 David Thackeray AHRC 117,813 2014-15  
1989 after 1989 James Mark Leverhulme Trust 974,058 2014-18 Imperial and Global History
Imperialist Humanitarianism: tracing colonial connections in post-colonial interventions in Africa and Asia Martin Thomas Independent Social Research Foundation 46,500 2015-2016 War, State and Society
Understanding Insurgencies: Resonances from the Colonial Past Martin Thomas and Gareth Curless Leverhulme Trust 116,833 2016-2019 War, State and Society

Interdisciplinary projects

Project titleCI in History PIAwarding bodyAmount in £sStart and finish year
Rethinking Sexology: The Cross-Disciplinary Invention of Sexuality: Sexual Science Beyond the Medical, 1890-1940
 Kate Fisher

Jana Funke

 Wellcome  850,000 2015-2020 
AveTransRisk – Average – Transaction Costs and Risk Management during the First Globalization (Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries) Senior Research fellows are specialists in: Law, Economics, Accounting Maria Fusaro ERC - Consolidator Grants scheme (n.724544) €1,854,256.00 2017-2022
- ticism, Myth and 'Celtic' Nationalism: A Case Study of Cornwall Garry Tregidga Marion Gibson AHRC 172,858 2008-11
Exploring Early Modern Discourses of Environmental Change and Sustainability Nicola Whyte Ayesha Mukherjee AHRC 24,446 2010-11 
Poltimore House Henry French Oliver Creighton AHRC 159,514 2010-12
1914FACES2014 Tim Rees; Catriona Pennell; Laura Rowe David Jones European Research Council 193,902 2012-15
The Past in its Place – Histories of Memory in England and Wales Sarah Hamilton; Nicola Whyte Philip Schwyzer European Research Council 707,500 2012-16
Magic in Malta 1605: The Moorish Slave Sellem Bin Al-Sheikh Mansur and the Roman Inquisition Dr Catherine Rider Dionisius Agius AHRC 233,831 2014-2016

Other research projects

Project title PIAwarding body Amount in £sYear of AwardResearch Centre
Religious Education in Medieval England: A 13th Century Priest's manual and its Manuscript Context Catherine Rider British Academy 1,386 2008  
Fraternal Organisations in 20th Century America Kristofer Allerfeldt Nuffield Foundation 3,320 2009  
The Good Works of Others Henry French British Academy 4,877 2010  
The John Tyndall Correspondence Project Richard Noakes Montana State University 2,373 2010  
Prisoners as Patients: Homosexuality and Same-Sex Desire in German Prisoner of War Camps in the United States during World War II Matthias Reiss Wellcome trust 1,370 2010  
Catastrophe, Community and Environment: The Impact of the Torrey Canyon Oil Disaster on Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Tim Cooper British Academy 6,945 2011  
Havelock Ellis Jana Funke British Academy 6,868 2011  
Excommunication formulae in medieval England and Frankia Sarah Hamilton British Academy 1,752 2011  
Anglo-Muhammadan Law Justin Jones British Academy 3,670 2011  
The National League of the Blind: A History Matthias Reiss British Academy 4,150 2011  
Arthur Henderson and British Methodism, 1880-1935 Andrew Thorpe British Academy 6,463 2011  
A Great Beneficial Disease: Colonial Medicine & Imperial Authority in J. G. Farrell s The Siege of Krishnapur Samuel Goodman Wellcome Trust 1,160 2012  
Translation and Edition of Carl Linnaeus's Biological Essays Staffan Muller-Wille Royal Society 4,400 2012  
War, Politics and Military Reputation: the 16th (Irish) Division, the 36th (Ulster) Catriona Pennell British Academy 9,700 2012 War, State and Society 
The French Connection: International Communism and France Between the Wars Tim Rees British Academy 9,998 2012  
The Role of Law and Internal Conflict in the Formation of the Soviet State, 1917-22 Matthew Rendle British Academy 6,377 2012  
Celtic Voices: Brittany and Cornwall Compared Garry Tregidga Celtic Research Trust Bursary 1,000 2012  
The Food Economy of Lords and Tenants 1328-1653: A Case Study Jane Whittle Economic History Society 3,519 2012  
Britain's Sea-Soldiers in the Twentieth Century: Representing the Royal Marines within British Naval History Henry French AHRC 5,000 2013  
Bishop John Grandisson of Exeter (1327-69): the bishop, the cathedral and the diocese  Sarah Hamilton AHRC 5,000 2013 Centre for Medieval Studies
Children at War: An Historical Analysis of Child and Youth Combatants in African Conflicts, c.1900-2010 Stacey Hynd British Academy 4,680 2013  
Negotiating law in Mughal India Nandini Chatterjee British Academy 9725 2014