LJMU History’s research is as diverse in its subject matter and as dynamic in its forms as the staff who produce it. Our historians regularly publish books, edited collections and articles in world-class journals, in addition to delivering their research to the wider public through exhibitions, talks and media appearances. 

Two broad research clusters exist within LJMU History, each providing effective peer support amongst researchers for the production of articles, books, online projects and funding bids.

Social and Cultural Identities and Representations

This cluster has recently produced books and Impact Case Studies from Gillian O'Brien (The Darkness Echoing and "Presenting the Past" case study) and Emma Vickers ("Dry Your Eyes Princess" case study), as well as David Clampin's research-informed public history project, "She Wanted To See A Soldier". The cluster also houses Susan Grant's Welcome Trust-funded project, "Growing Old in the Soviet Union, 1945-1991".

Politics, Economics and Ideas in International History

Recent books from this cluster include James Crossland's edited collection, The Red Cross Movement: Myths Practices and Turning Points , Tom Beaumont's Fellow Travellers: Communist Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations on the French Railways, 1914-1939 and Nick White's In Trust: A History of PNB. This cluster also houses Chris Vaughan's AHRC-funded project "Regionalism in East Africa, c. 1900-present"


The following are some of the key publications that will feature in LJMU History's 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission   

Gillian O'Brien, The Darkness Echoing (Penguin: 2020)


From war to revolution, famine to emigration, The Darkness Echoing travels around Ireland bringing its dark past to life. Ireland is a nation obsessed with death. We find a thrill in the moribund, a strange enchantment in the drama of our dark past. It's everywhere we look and in all of our beloved myths, songs and stories that have helped to form our cultural identity. Our wakes and ballads, our plays and famine sites, all of them and more come together to tell ourselves and the world who we are and what we have suffered to get here.

Tom Beaumont, Fellow Travellers: Communist Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations on the French Railways, 1914-1939 (University of Liverpool Press: 2019)


Fellow Travellers examines the shifting practices and strategies adopted by Communist militants as they sought to build and maintain support on the railways. In a period in which the Communist party struggled to establish a foothold in many French workplaces, activists on the railways bucked the trend and set down deep and lasting roots of support. They maintained this support even through the sectarian period of the Comintern’s shift to class against class, deepening their participation within railway industrial relations and gaining the experience of engagement with managers and state officials upon which they would build during the years of the Popular Front. Here France’s railway employees joined alongside their fellow workers in shaping a new social contract for workers, extending the principle of democratic representation into the workplace. While the Popular Front experiment proved shortlived, its influence was long lasting. In the post Liberation period, the key tenets of the Popular Front experience re-emerged within the nationalised SNCF, shaping the particular character of railway industrial relations – the peculiar mix of collaboration and hostile confrontation between management and workforce that continues to make the French railways one of the most contested sectors of the modern French economy.

James Crossland, War, Law and Humanity: the Campaign to Control Warfare, 1850-1914 (Bloomsbury: 2018)

War, Law and Humanity tells the story of the transatlantic campaign to either mitigate the destructive forces of the battlefield, or prevent wars from being waged altogether, in the decades prior to the disastrous summer of 1914. Starting with the Crimean War of the 1850s, James Crossland traces this campaign to control warfare from the scandalous barracks of Scutari to the shambolic hospitals of the American Civil War, from the bloody sieges of Paris and Erzurum to the combative conference halls of Geneva and The Hague, uncovering the intertwined histories of a generation of humanitarians, surgeons, pacifists and utopians who were shocked into action by the barbarism and depravities of war. By examining the fascinating personal accounts of these figures, Crossland illuminates the complex motivations and influential actions of those committed to the campaign to control war, demonstrating how their labours built the foundation for the ideas – enshrined in our own times as international norms – that soldiers need caring for, weapons need restricting and wars need rules.

Nick White, In Trust: A History of PNB (MPH: 2018)

"This is the first full-length study of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB; Malaysia's National Equity Corporation), marking the institution's 40th anniversary. A government-linked corporation, PNB is a unique 'hybrid' being both investment company and fund manager. The Corporation was formed with a specific mandate to raise income and savings levels through spreading corporate ownership more evenly throughout the Malaysian economy, particularly amongst the lower income indigenous Bumiputera communities. PNB runs what is reckoned to be the world's largest unit trust scheme, and manages investments which make up at least 10 per cent of Kuala Lumpur's Stock Exchange. This book charts PNB's fascinating history through its origins in the New Economic Policy; the growth and management of its vast investment portfolio; the evolution of its highly successful unit trust schemes encompassing millions of small-scale investors; the international reach of the Corporation's operations; and, PNB's contribution to the development of Malaysian Human Resources (as well as the role played by its own employees in forging this dynamic organisation).

Malcom Craig, America, Britain and Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons Programme, 1974-1980 (Palgrave: 2017)

w  This book analyses US and UK efforts to shut down Pakistan’s nuclear programme in the 1970s, between the catalytic Indian nuclear test of May 1974 and the decline of sustained non-proliferation activity from mid-1979 onwards. It is a tale of cooperation between Washington and London, but also a story of divisions and disputes. The brutal economic realities of the decade, globalisation, and wider geopolitical challenges all complicated this relationship. Policy and action were also affected by changes elsewhere in the world. Iran’s 1979 revolution brought a new form of political Islamic radicalism to prominence. The fears engendered by the Ayatollah and his followers, coupled to the blustering rhetoric of Pakistani leaders, gave rise to the ‘Islamic bomb’, a nuclear weapon supposedly created by Pakistan to be shared amongst the Muslim ummah. This study thus combines cultural, diplomatic, economic, and political history to offer a rigorous, deeply researched account of a critical moment in nuclear history.

Emma Vickers and Corinna Peniston-Bird, Gender and the Second World War: Lessons of War (Red Globe: 2016)

w  Showing how gender history contributes to existing understandings of the Second World War, this book offers detail and context on the national and transnational experiences of men and women during the war. Following a general introduction, the essays shed new light on the field and illustrate methods of working with a wide range of primary sources.  

Chris Vaughan, Dafur: Colonial Violence, Sultanic Legacies and Local Politics, 1916-1956 (James Currey: 2015)


This work engages with a fundamental question in the study of African history and politics: to what extent did the colonial state re-define the character of local politics in the societies it governed? Existing scholarship on Darfur under the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (1916-1956) has suggested that colonial governance here represented either straightforward continuity or utterly transformative change from the region's deep history of independent statehood under the Darfur Sultanate. This book argues that neither view is adequate: it shows that British rule bequeathed a culture of governance to Darfur which often rested on state coercion and violence, but which was also influenced by enduring local conceptions of the relationship between ruler and ruled, and the agendas of local actors.


Our historians produce research that is having impact beyond the world of academia, influencing pubic conversations, cultural interpretations and views of the past. Below are some of the Impact Case Studies, produced by LJMU History researchers, for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Emma Vickers - 'Dry Your Eyes Princess'

'Dry Your Eyes Princess' is an oral history/photography project that documents the experiences of trans veterans who served in the British Armed Forces after 1945. The research will feature in a peer reviewed article titled ‘Dry Your Eyes Princess’, oral testimonies, photography and co-creation in the journal Oral History, as part of a special LGBTQ-focused edition. The project has been featured in, amongst other places, in the Guardian, BBC, TES and in the Irish press. The 2015 exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool was viewed nearly 60,000 times, and the research has been shared widely at both academic conferences and public events in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Finland.

For more information, see the 'Dry Your Eyes Princess' website.

Gillian O'Brien - 'Presenting the Past: Creating Content for Historic Sites & Museums'

Spike Island

Over the past four years Dr Gillian O’Brien has been the historical consultant for three award-winning museums and heritage centres in Ireland – Fortress Spike Island Co. Cork, Nano Nagle Place, Cork and Kilmainham Gaol and Courthouse, Dublin. Her research expertise was used to inform the interpretation and display at these sites (which are visited by c.500,000 people annually). The underpinning research for these sites has been wildly acclaimed and there have been linked public presentations, op-ed articles and radio and newspaper interviews. In addition to museum development O’Brien has organised a series of workshops for museum and heritage professionals which have resulted in several open access reports, most notably ‘Inception, Development, Operation: A report on best practice for site-specific museums and heritage centres’.

Websites associate with this project:

Inception, Development, Operation Report

Nano Nagle Place

Spike Island

Kilmainham Gaol