The study of the History of War at Oxford is characterised by temporal and spatial breadth, as well as the multiplicity of approaches to understanding past conflicts. Chronologically, current research ranges from ancient world to the late twentieth century, with particular strengths in early modernity and the period after the mid-nineteenth century. The main areas for the middle ages are Byzantine and crusader warfare.
Geographically, Europe is the primary field with particular strengths for German, French, Belgian, Spanish, British and Irish history. Warfare in early twentieth-century China and India are also major fields, as well as nomadic warfare, and colonial and post-colonial conflicts especially those in New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East.
Important thematic interests include mobilising resources for war, military institutions, naval warfare, military-civil relations, war and gender, war and humanitarianism, disease, imperialism and war. The history of war is connected to other historical fields and to other disciplines through the research of many scholars who study the wider impact of conflict, as well as how war and violence are perceived and remembered. Particular areas of interest include the environmental impact of twentieth-century conflict, war and ideas of nation-building, and the relationship between the changing character of war and scientific and technological development.
The majority of staff pursuing this research are based in the Faculty of History, including the related Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine. Others are in the Department for Continuing Education and the Department for International Development. There are strong collaborative links through TORCH, notably the Globalising and Localising the First World War project, as well as with the Changing Character of War programme based in Pembroke College.
To find out more about the scholars in the History Faculty working on these issues, please click here, and to learn about upcoming events, please follow this link.