Amanda Behm
Lecturer in Modern History



AB (Dartmouth College), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (Yale)

Amanda Behm is a Lecturer in Modern British History. She joined York in 2016, having taught previously at Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Amanda’s work focuses on the intellectual and political history of imperial Britain and the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her first book examines the emergence of models of difference in late Victorian Britain rooted in historical scholarship and ideas about time, and explains how those models contributed to segregationist practices on a global scale. Further research interests include settler colonialism, social reform, and comparative imperial and anticolonial political thought.

Her projects have enjoyed support from the Institute of Historical Research, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Decolonization Seminar at the National History Center in Washington, D.C.



Amanda’s forthcoming book Imperial History and the Global Politics of Exclusion: Britain, 1880-1940 examines the potent exchange between historical thought and racial politics in the modern British Empire. Specifically, it explores the rise of the field of imperial history in Britain and related webs of policy advocacy, as intellectuals and politicians designed new fields of knowledge and deployed historical models to promote Anglo-Saxon settler colonialism at the expense of subject empire. Ultimately, those efforts relegated vast populations to the shadows of the past and laid a precarious political and moral framework for late imperial rule and decolonization.

Amanda’s ongoing projects include article-length elaborations on anticolonial challenges to settler historicism and competing visions of imperial belonging. She is also working on a second monograph, Albion Pacific, which takes up the surprising but integral relationship between California and the British world, c.1850-1950. Tracing strategic, social reformist, and anticolonial connections, this research illuminates ideas of progress and difference contested far beyond the Atlantic, as British imperial subjects and Californians schemed and clashed in the face of new horizons and disappearing frontiers.




Contact details

Dr Amanda Behm
Vanbrugh College V/N/118
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: Internal 3617, External (01904) 323617