Our research is characterised by three core components:

  • Innovative and powerful projects that range widely by period, geographical region, and theme
  • Creative partnerships with organisations and people beyond academia
  • Productive collaborations with our students at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels

The School also welcomes postdoctoral fellowship applications - please see the postgraduate section for more information.

We have developed research groups to support collaboration both within and beyond the School. These include:

Medieval Studies

In Medieval Studies we assess the nature of the historiography of the medieval period and its manipulation in the modern world; international religious organisation and local pieties; the crusades and identities.  We run one of the world's largest International Medieval Conferences.
We are grateful to our funders: the AHRC; the Wellcome Trust; the Leverhulme Trust; the British Academy; the Economic and Social Research Council and the Economic History Society.

Health, Medicine and Society

In Health, Medicine and Society we examine the social and cultural history of health and medicine, focusing particularly on the demographic history of East Africa; psychiatric interventions in white Kenya; death and urban decay in the early modern Venice; religion and medicine in medieval Portugal; medical care and masculinity in the First World War; men and family life in twentieth-century Britain; and welfare and citizenship in modern India.

Identity, Power and Protest

In Identity, Power and Protest we explore colonial and post-colonial citizenship in India and Pakistan; incarceration cultures in north America; patterns of activism and protest in modern America; slavery in the British Raj in India and Britain's experience of empire.


This research cluster brings together historians and people from other disciplines working in or on cities and urban culture and society.  It is not simply, a forum for ‘urban history’, but covers the interests of a range of people exploring the city, for example from urban public health, to demography, popular protest, civic culture and activism and processes of urbanisation.

In addition the University of Leeds’ new Culture ‘theme’ and Cultural Institute is going to be very much based around thinking about urban spaces in terms of cultural production, especially the relationship between Leeds and other cities.  The Cities research group may also have an involvement in the Leeds bid for ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2023.  

Enterprise and Cultures of Consumption

In Enterprise and Cultures of Consumption, we analyse the history of business firms; labour movements; the fashion industry, from fibre production to high street retailing; and food production, distribution, and consumption.  Some of our research projects engage with resources at the Marks & Spencer Company Archive, which opened in the new Michael Marks Building on the University of Leeds campus in 2012: and with regional heritage organisations, such as the Leeds Museums and Galleries.

War and Peace

In War and Peace we have people working on European defence policy; military intelligence; experiences of population transfer; soldiers and soldiering in the Napoleonic Wars; commonalities and differences in surrender; transnational military mobilization; and atrocities in Europe.