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Department of History

Research projects

Current projects

British state prayers, fasts and thanksgivings, 1540s to 1940s

Professor Philip Williamson, Dr Natalie Mears and Professor Stephen Taylor, Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project

For nearly 500 years, from the 1530s to the 2000s, the governments and established churches of the British Isles summoned the nation to special acts of public worship, in times of crisis or celebration. Few of these special acts of national worship have been studied, and their full history has never been investigated. This project is the first extended study of special worship in the British Isles.

History of the Book

The city of Durham has one of the most important and substantial holdings of medieval manuscripts, incunabula, and rare books in Britain. This project includes a range of research projects, lectures, courses and publications.

Traditional authority in South Sudan

 This research focuses on both the continuities and the adaptation of local forms of authority and justice since the mid-nineteenth century, and particularly on the emergence and evolution of institutions for mediating relations with the state, namely the 'chiefs'.

The impact of elections: voting, political behaviour and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa

This research project analyses the chequered history of elections in sub-Saharan Africa. Combining the techniques of history and political science, the project will re- examine the relationship between an individual's experience of elections and their political attitudes and behaviours, and asks why it is that elections work better in some places and times than others.

Preaching Politics: Debating Governance Mosques and Churches in Coastal Kenya

This project brought together a team composed of academics and a group of postgraduate students from Kenya and the UK. This team undertook a trial programme of research on the way that Islam and Christianity were involved in political debates on Kenya’s coast around the time of the 2013 election 

The Ordered Universe

The Ordered Universe Project is run from Durham and has both UK and International partners. It is dedicated to interdisciplinary reading of the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste (c.1170 – 1253). The aim of the project is to re-edit, translate the scientific treatises, and present them from the perspective of their own intellectual history, and to analyse them functionally, using where appropriate the insights and conceptual tools of modern science. An interdisciplinary reading is able to identify fresh and invigorating insight into the scientific works of this remarkable thinker.

Translating cultures: Diplomacy between the early modern and modern worlds

This AHRC network reflects the vibrant interest in the practices of diplomacy in the early modern period, and also in its points of contact with issues of current practice. We understand 'translating cultures' in terms both of how European powers sought orderly ways to engage with each other and the wider world through diplomacy, and of the ways that academic researchers and practitioners from different disciplines and perspectives can discuss these issues.

Social relations and everyday life in England, 1500-1640

The ‘social relations and everyday life’ project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores the multiple ways in which inequalities of wealth and power were experienced, understood, accepted and contested in the 140 years before the English Revolution.