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Politics and Contemporary History Research Group

The Politics and Contemporary History research cluster is interested in a variety of political and historical themes grouped around the field of International Security in its broadest sense. At the same time, members of staff also have research interests around European party politics, ideologies, intelligence studies (including the history of intelligence), military history (especially land warfare, air power and theories of war), counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, and several other aspects of international politics and security, covering Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Politics and Contemporary are viewed by the group as mutually reinforcing disciplines; Contemporary History is defined in the more traditional since of history since 1789. Our political scientists understand the importance of historical background; our historians are interested in applying historical knowledge and experience to contemporary problems and challenges. The group welcomes cross- and interdisciplinary research projects. The activities of the group fall most conveniently into ‘Area Studies’.

  • International Security (inter-state relations, security policies and future of conflict)
  • EU Politics (Eastern and Central Europe, women’s participation in politics)
  • Italian Politics (political system, personalities and elections)
  • British Politics (elections and the use of new media)
  • Intelligence History and Studies (British and German intelligence, media portrayals of intelligence activities, freedom of information and intelligence)
  • Military History in the 19th and 20th Centuries (land warfare, tactics, communications, organisation, air power, theories of war, doctrine)
  • Counter-insurgency (British and American experience, doctrine, interrogation techniques)
  • Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and organised crime (governmental policies, techniques and theories, drug cartels)
  • History of Ideologies (Communism, Fascism, left-wing movements, history of Socialism)

Recent and current projects (selection):

  • Cold War politics, culture and intelligence activities
  • The use of social media in British elections
  • The writing of military in Britain during the nineteenth century
  • Drones as a new form of conflict
  • International collaboration in the development of mechanized vehicles
  • The use of NATO airpower and the media
  • Ancient Chinese military theory in a comparative context
  • Drug cartels in Latin America
  • Controversial British interrogation techniques
  • Homosexuality and the British intelligence services
  • British and German influence in China in the long nineteenth century
  • The British Army during the First World War

In broad terms our research interests can be grouped under the following headings (although this list does not exclude other areas):

  • International Security  
  • European Politics  
  • Military History  
  • Terrorism Studies and Counter-insurgency  
  • Intelligence Studies (including history of intelligence)  
  • The History of the Cold War  

(Prospective students are also advised to examine staff members’ research specialisms and ask them whether they may be interested in a particular topic.)

Recent PhD research has been funded by a number of bodies, among them the University of Salford Pathways to Excellence Fund and the Graduate Teaching Scheme, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Monica Cockfield Trust.

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

Currently available funded PhD studentships for 2019-20

Prof Alaric Searle
Professor of Modern European History
Directorate of English, Politics and Contemporary History
School of Arts and Media
Maxwell Building
Salford M5 4WT

+44 (0)161 295 2853