Our discovery-led research in the fields of slavery, disaster risk reduction and indigenous environmentalism has delivered significant impact.
Research projects in the department have been supported by over £3 million in competitive funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy.
We work closely with the University’s Wilberforce Institute, making a significant contribution to the critical investigation of the history of transatlantic slavery and driving social responses to modern-day slavery and exploitation.
Through the Heritage Consortium and in AHRC-funded partnerships with the British Library, we help shape heritage sector policy.
Our research has informed the decolonisation of national collections and enhanced public understanding of the UK’s complex maritime and colonial histories – and their resonance in the present.
Our work also shapes policy in communities most affected by climate change and natural disaster – whether typhoons in the Philippines or earthquakes in Kazakhstan.
We’re leading the way in shaping future research agendas, through the global and collaborative ‘Treatied Spaces’ research group.
Treatied Spaces is the first group to deepen historical understanding of treaties as dynamic historical documents that remain central to contemporary debates on social and environmental justice in American and transnational contexts.
The group hosts one of the initial 10 Global Professorships awarded by the British Academy. It is also engaged in a large AHRC-funded collaborative re-assessment of the British Crown’s role as a diplomatic sovereign, and shapes academic and public debates through podcasts and innovative series Cambridge Elements in Indigenous Environmental Research.
The department’s research engagement is global in scope. Our research on historic and contemporary slavery works with a wide range of non-government organisations as well as legal and policy communities. Our work has shaped the ways that children learn – and changed how museums, galleries and archives interpret and present their holdings in ways that raise awareness of the diversity and complexity of the past. Using digital platforms – from data visualisations to soundscapes, podcasts and social media – we have created digital spaces in which new audiences can engage with our research.