Modern History Research Centre

The platform for Winchester modern historians and all those with an interest in the recent past.

About us

Since its establishment in 2010, the mission of the Modern History Research Centre (MHRC), based in the School of History, Archaeology and Philosophy, has been to support and encourage the world-leading, rigorous and independent research of established academic staff, early-career colleagues and students working on topics and issues relating to modern history (early modern, modern and/or contemporary) in its widest interpretation.


Our experts have a wide range of research strengths including in the global Age of Napoleon, American civil rights, Modern Japan, British youth and youth culture, the Modern Hispanic world, Latin American and Caribbean history, Modern French and British imperialism and post-colonialism, environmental and rural history, the high-speed society, ethnographic approaches to the languages and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, diasporas, the Holocaust, histories of sexualities and disabilities, death, bereavement and religion – to mention just a few. Explore the staff profiles below for more details.

The centre is also home to the Hispanic Anglosphere project, an international research network funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with National Trust-Tyntesfield.

Explore History research projects

Postgraduate research

The MHRC provides opportunities for modern history research students to discuss their work at the highest levels of scholarship and more widely. Applications from prospective students are most welcome; for details of the staff who are available to undertake research supervision, please visit the staff profiles below.Find out more about research degrees at Winchester.

Public Engagement

Engaging with the public is at the very heart of our work. Our well established series of regular public events (seminars, conferences, webinars) attracts leading scholars from the UK and all around the world to share their work, often in conversation with leading figures from outside academia.

Our experts are also available to offer consultancy services such as the provision of expert advice to individuals, companies, print media, broadcasters and NGOs.

Want to stay informed? Subscribe to MHRC!

With an annual MHRC subscription, you will have free entry to all our public events (minimum 5 per academic year, on campus and online), such as seminar talks, roundtable discussions, webinars and conferences with both internal and external scholars sharing their cutting-edge research. Talks may also be organised with speakers from the heritage, environmental and publishing sectors. You will also have free access to all recorded meetings in full (on request) and through our YouTube Channel.

You will be part of a vibrant academic research community where your views for shaping the future of the MHRC will be always welcomed.

To subscribe, please visit our online store.

Contact us

For any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing

Meet our Modern History experts

Follow the links below to find out more about our research interests, areas of supervision and latest publications.



Discover our Modern History News and Events

MHRC organises an annual series of research seminars as well as academic conferences and other events such as exhibitions, and we develop media material. Our seminar series sees scholars from around the world and closer to home present their research alongside Winchester modern historians. We also support student events. MHRC seminars are free and open to the public. They start at 16.30 and finish at 18.00.

2024 News and Events

Photography under difficulties: stereoscopic photography and colonial exploration in south-west Africa in the 1860s

A hybrid talk by Prof. James R. Ryan, Professor of History, University of Portsmouth

6 March, 4:30-6:00 pm, St Alphege Building room 202, King Alfred Quarter, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR, and via MS Teams.

This talk will relate the attempt to use stereoscopic photography to visualise environments as they came within the orbit of colonial power. Prof. Ryan will consider colonial expeditionary stereoscopic photographs made in southwest Africa (today Namibia and Botswana) in 1860-4 by the explorer and trader James Chapman and their relationship with the paintings of his fellow explorer, the artist Thomas Baines.  In 1861 James Chapman joined forces with the experienced expeditionary artist Thomas Baines in a failed attempt to cross south central Africa from Walvis Bay (in today’s Namibia) on the Atlantic coast to the mouth of the Zambesi on the Indian Ocean on the east. The resulting sketches, paintings, photographs as well as the separate published and unpublished accounts by both men show the close association between these two individuals and their chosen respective visual arts. Prof. Ryan will argue that photographers did not operate the new technology in a cultural vacuum and that photographs produced on the colonial frontier were not wholly projections of colonial discourse - they were complex co-productions produced with rapidly evolving colonial environments. Finally, his research shows how photographs became meaningful as colonial discourse in a variety of ways, including through circulation and display in a range of spatial settings.

All welcome. Book your tickets here (including for access to the Teams link).

Migration: Why it matters, a hybrid panel discussion

Wednesday 20 March, 4:40-6:00pm, St Alphege Building 202, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR, and via MS Teams

Dr Anna McGuire (UCL) in conversation with MHRC members Dr Emily Stiles, Dr Xavier Guégan and Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers.

Few topics generate so much heated debate as that of migration. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, we are currently experiencing the largest increase of international migration on record, with this trend set to continue as the world faces increasing pressures from climate change, warfare, and demographic growth. 

This event will focus on the UK reaction to the phenomenon from a historical perspective, opening with a talk by Dr Anna Maguire, Lecturer in Public History at University College London, who will question the role played by Britain as a sanctuary, particularly during the period 1951-2000. Her talk will open a wider conversation with three members of the MHRC who have also been investigating the subject from different perspectives.

All welcome. Book your tickets here (including for access to the Teams link).

27 Jan: Holocaust Memorial Day

Once again the University marked Holocaust Memorial Day with a varied programme highlighting the breadth of our expertise on this important topic. Explore the Holocaust Memorial Day page to find out more, from projects to podcasts.

2023 News and Events

22 Nov: Atomic Agriculture and Insects in Mexico (1950s-1990s)

with Dr Thomas Rath (UCL)

After WWII, atomic agriculture exerted great appeal. Scientists around the world tried to use radiation to hone research, improve seeds, eradicate pests, and fight hunger. In this talk, Dr Thomas Rath examined this neglected history through an exploration of the international campaign against a notorious pest: the 'screwworm' fly, whose flesh-eating larvae kill livestock, wild mammals, and occasionally humans. Mexico's experience can help explain why some projects of atomic agriculture succeeded, and others did not.

8 Nov: Hampshire Days (1903) wildlife & rural activism from the Hispanic-Anglosphere

with Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers (University of Winchester) and Conor Mark Jameson (author).

This year marks the 120-anniversary of the publication of a book hailed as a ‘highly influential rural classic’. It was penned by William Henry Hudson (1841-1922), the wildlife activist considered to be the world’s first literary environmentalist. In this event ,Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers argued that Hampshire Days is not a bucolic account of a bygone era, but a rallying call to defend biodiversity and rural heritage shaped by Hudson’s experiences in the Hispanic world - and with strong echoes in the present day. The argument was presented in conversation with Conor Mark Jameson, author of Finding W. H. Hudson: The Writer Who Came to Britain to Save the Birds (London: Pelagic Publishing, 2023) praised by The Wall Street Journal for being a ‘creative blend of detective work and narrative intuition’ as well as an ‘impeccably researched book’.

10 May: Unlocking Modern History in the Hampshire Archives

with Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers and Dr Emily Stiles

In this webinar organised with the Hampshire Archives Trust, two leading MHRC members offered tips and ideas on how to make the most from researching the Hampshire Archives to discover hidden stories and specific material from the sixteenth century to recent years. The speakers shared some of their experiences in finding sources relating to the entanglement of Hampshire with the global Hispanic world and the settlement of refugees in and around Winchester since 1800.

14 Mar: The BBC: Entertaining the Nation, Speaking for Britain, 1922-2022, with Professor Simon Potter (University of Bristol) 

In this talk, Prof. Simon Potter looked back over a century to ask whether the BBC is really the 'voice of Britain', exploring its role in changing wider culture and society and promoting particular versions of British national identity, both at home and overseas. 

15 Mar: Slavery and Abolition: A Napoleonic Blind Spot?, with Professor Alan Forrest (University of York) 

Professor Alan Forrest is one of the world's leading authorities on the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon. In this talk, he explored the longstanding pro- and anti-slavery debate that divided opinion in France and across the Atlantic world, with some dreadfully enduring consequences.

27 Jan: Holocaust Memorial Day

We were proud to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 with a varied programme highlighting the breadth of our research and teaching on this important topic. Explore our Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 page to find out more.

Holocaust Memorial Day banner 'We're marking Holocaust Memorial Day'

2022 events

14 December 2022: The importance of 19th-century Spanish American emancipation in forging the political cultures of Spain and the UK

Dr Rodrigo Escribano Roca, Director of the Centre of American Studies at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile, introduced his latest book, a study of the impact of Spanish American independence on the political cultures of Spain and the United Kingdom. This online event was organised by the MHRC in partnership with the Hispanic Anglosphere project.

2022 news

May 2022: modern historian and Russia specialist Dr Natalya Chernyshova brings her expertise to bear in the three-part Channel 5 documentary series The Chernobyl Disaster. 

Modern history at the University of Winchester: Chernobyl nuclear reactor

March 2022: In a new article for The Conversation, Dr Natalya Chernyshova, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, explains how the 2020 Belarusian revolution proved a pivotal turning point in the long and complicated history of the relationship between Misk and Moscow, ultimately facilitating Russia's attack on Ukraine.

On 2 March 2022, Dr Andrés Baeza Ruz, Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Social Sciences, Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Chile, presented The birth of primary schooling in Chile - the role of the Hispanic Anglosphere.

January 2022: Dr Emily Stiles has been working with the Imperial War Museum's Holocaust Exhibition, and we are delighted to announce that her book Holocaust Memory and National Museums in Britain is now out.

2021 News and Events

On 8 December, we welcomed Thomas French from Ritsumeikan University, Japan, who spoke about The First ‘Occupation’ of Japan – The British Garrison of Yokohama 1863-1875. 

17 November 2021: Virtual talk on Pandemics and Global Entrepreneurship. Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers explored the role played by pandemics in shaping the destiny of a man once described as ‘the richest commoner in England’: William ‘Guillermo’ Gibbs (1790–1875). Particular attention was given to his formative years in Spain and the measures he undertook with his brother George Henry Gibbs to transform the family company Antony Gibbs & Sons into a global commercial powerhouse.

July 2021: A discussion of the recently published book The Hispanic Anglosphere from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century – An Introduction (edited by Dr Graciela Iglesias Rogers, MHRC Convenor and and principal investigator of the Hispanic Anglosphere project) at the Centro de Estudios Americanos (Centre of American Studies) of the Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Chile. Speakers: Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers (University of Winchester), Dr Andrés Baeza Ruz (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez), Dr Manuel Llorca-Jaña (Universidad de Valparaiso). Watch the video:

May 2021: What is the Hispanic Anglosphere and what is it good for? An online discussion organized by the PECBAL (Programa de Estudios sobre la Comunidad Británica en America Latina – Study Programme on The British Community in Latin America) at the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina. Speakers: Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers (University of Winchester), Dr José Brownrigg-Gleeson Martínez (National University of Ireland, Galway), Juan I. Neves-Sarriegui (University of Oxford). The initial conversation was in Spanish followed by a Q&A both in Spanish and English. Watch the video on YouTube.

In 2021, Dr Natalya Chernyshova, an expert on recent Belarus history, was interviewed on several occasions as part of her British Academy-funded project to write the first scholarly biography of Soviet Belarus's charismatic former leader Petr Masherau, then a war hero, now a national hero. In a series of podcasts and webinars, she highlighted and explained the links with the current volatile situation in Belarus. Find out about more about the Masherau project, listen to the podcasts and watch the webinar video.

2019 News and Events

May 2019: public conversation at Winchester Cathedral on 'transition', hosted by MHRC. History is full of good and bad examples of how to get through periods of transition, and never was this topic more relevant than today, with Brexit and climate change looming large. The event saw five leading international modern historians engage in a round-table discussion, taking the long view of transitions and bringing them into the present. The podcast and videos of the event can be found on the Hispanic Anglosphere website.

2018 News and Events

2018 Events focussed on 'minority histories', celebrating diversity in modern history. The 2018 Minority History Annual Event was the 'People on the move' exhibition, a collaboration with Winchester Discovery Centre. This exhibition, which ran throughout March 2018, was an international exploration of historical perspectives, experiences and events linked to migration and communities in modern history.

June 2018 saw the launch of Youth Movements, Citizenship and the English Countryside: Creating Good Citizens, 1930-1960, by Dr Sian Edwards. The book, which is the new addition to the Palgrave series Studies in the History of Social Movements, explores the role and significance of the countryside in mid 20th-century youth movements. It looks at the way in which a rural setting was used for the development of 'good citizenship', through such activities as wholesome outdoor recreation and work on the land. Dr Edwards also looked at how these models of good citizenship were intrinsically gendered, highlighting tensions between domesticity, citizenship, gender and class in a rapidly changing world. Dr Edwards is currently investigating the modern rural teenager.

In May 2018, we hosted Physicians and cultural authority in 20th-century France, a talk by by Dr Joan Tumblety (University of Southampton). How do medical doctors acquire and maintain public trust, and what does that trust enable them to achieve outside the practice of medicine? Dr Tumblety addressed these and other questions.