Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past
The following staff all either teach on the MA in Public History, supervise internships or conduct research with a public history element to it. Research in public history ranges from the more conceptual (such as a focus on ethics or memory and history), to the more practical (such as developing public particlpation in history) in partnership with a wide range of external practitioners.
Henrice Altink is a Professor in Modern History. Her work focusses on social equalities in the Caribbean from slavery to the present. She has published extensively on African-Caribbean women during slavery and the post-emancipation period, and on race and colour discrimination in Jamaica in the decades preceding and following independence. Her most recent work examines the impact of environmental change on vulnerable groups in the Caribbean since 1945. She has also written about health and medicine in the Caribbean, particularly nutrition. Listen to her talk about food and heritage, drawing upon interdisciplinary research that examined the rise of ‘unhealthy eating’ in Kingston, Jamaica, after World War II.
Professor Altink has supervised MA dissertations that explore issues of gender, race, or sexuality, including dissertations on the representation of slavery on British TV, LGBTQ+ history week in York, and ‘difficult histories’ on screen.
Oleg Benesch is a Reader in the modern history of East Asia, specializing in the history of Japan and China in a global context. His publications and teaching interests cover a variety of fields, and he is especially interested in modern uses of the premodern past. He has recently written monographs on the reinvention of the samurai and the modern history of Japanese castles. For further information about Oleg's research, please see his website.
Director of the Centre for Global Health Histories and Professor in the History of Medicine. Sanjoy specialises in the medical, environmental, political and social history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Asia, as well as the history of international and global health programmes.
Sabine Clarke is a Lecturer in Modern History. She works on the place of science and technology in the British imperial enterprise between 1914 and 1965 with a particular interest in colonial and post-colonial development.
David Clayton is currently co-writing on the economics and politics of mitigating water stress using case evidence from Hong Kong in the 1960s, with policy implications to be drawn out in the future. He has already drawn out the policy implications on Buy British campaigns, arguing for their ineffectiveness; considered the political lessons from British economic history for climate change mitigation; and observed how those arguing for Brexit mis-read the lessons from Britain’s imperial trading past. He continues to work on the implications of imperial trade on working lives in Hong Kong, Britain and beyond.
John is a Lecturer in Early Modern History. His research focuses on the political, religious and cultural history of sixteenth-century England, whilst his interests also encompass the history of early colonial America and Ireland.
Jeremy is a Reader in the Department of History and a member of the Medieval Urban Household Research Project. A native of Hull, he has been passionate about the Middle Ages since childhood. His research focuses upon later medieval English social and cultural history; women’s and gender history.
Hannah is a Lecturer in History, and a member of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies (CECS). Her research interests lie in the social, political and material history of Britain in the long eighteenth century (c.1688-1830).
Senior Lecturer in History. Research interests in social, political and cultural change in Iran in the 19th- and 20th-centuries, and how this relates to developments elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Empire and history writing 1750-2012 (MUP 2013) available in pb.
Sarah Hall is Public Engagement and Events Officer on the AboutFace project. Her research and practice focus on promoting effective knowledge exchange between academic researchers and public audiences. She has managed a diverse events profile for the Department of History and the AboutFace project, and is currently developing a virtual Museum of Faces. This project addresses pressing social issues pertaining to the face in historical and contemporary contexts.
Professor of Medieval History. Guy's interests encompass the ethics of history and the relationship between archaeology and documentary history, and focus on: the history and archaeology of Merovingian Gaul; warfare in early medieval society; the Barbarian Migrations in western Europe c.350-c.650.
Reader in Early Modern History and a member of both CREMS and CECS. Wide research interests in the social and cultural history of Britain c.1550-c.1780 including the history of medicine and of the body. Committed to interdisciplinary work relating archival research to theoretical concerns and current work in anthropology, literary studies and social theory.
Catriona Kennedy is a lecturer in the history department and member of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. She works on modern British and Irish history with particular interests in the cultural history of war, politics, gender and national identity.
Dr. Joseph Mujere recently joined the Department of History, University of York. He previously worked at the University of Zimbabwe and the National University of Lesotho. His research interests include land, migration, the politics of belonging in Africa; mining and environmental history; urban informality and visual history. He has published several articles in refereed journals that include Journal of Southern African Studies, Critical African Studies, Review of African Political Economy, Labour, Capital and Society and Journal of Peasant Studies, among others. His first monograph is titled: Land, Migration and Belonging: A History of Basotho in Southern Rhodesia c.1890-1960s. (Suffolk: James Currey, 2019). His current research titled ‘Claim-holders, tributors and cooperatives: the political economy of artisanal and small-scale chromite mining in Zimbabwe’ is generously funded by the Volkswagen Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs ‘Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities’ (2020-2023). Dr. Mujere has a keen interest on collaborative documentary film productions. His first production is titled ‘Waiting in a Platinum City’.
Lecturer in Medieval History. Research into the religious and intellectual history of the central Middle Ages, broadly concerned with conflicts between different systems of medieval thought and belief, and the cultural transfer and encounters that those conflicts generate; exploring these questions in the context of medieval heresy and its repression, and focused on the histories of Italy and southern France.
Lizzy Spencer is a historian of the gender, social, and material history of early modern England, and in particular of the lives of women. Before joining the Department of History in 2018, she held short-term research fellowships at The John Rylands Research Institute, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and The Royal Archives. Her ongoing research explores women and accounting across the long eighteenth century.
Lizzy completed her MA in Public History at the University of York in 2014 and has since maintained strong teaching, research, and practical interests in public history, specifically in the areas of materiality and embodiment, re-enactment and living history, and visual media. She is currently working on research into the material culture of the Netflix drama Bridgerton. She has also worked with museums and has offered historical consultancy services for television, most recently working on series four of the BBC drama Poldark.
Sarah Rees Jones was Director from 2012-15 and 2016-17 and founded the first MA programme in Public History including the first assessed ‘industry’ placements in the Humany at York. Her public history projects are based in urban history and expanding access to hard-to-reach archives in partnership with The National Archives and many local/regional partners including York Minster, York Museums Trust, York Archaeological Trust, York Liberal Jewish Community, Borthwick Institute for Archives and English Heritage. As a Trustee of Historic Towns Trust she is currently interested in working with local community groups on developing new historical maps and atlases for Yorkshire towns. Through The Northern Way project she is supporting the development of new materials for the teaching of medieval history in the school curriculum.