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Dr Christopher Prior PhD, FRHistS, FHEA

Associate Professor in Colonial and Postcolonial History; Director, Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies

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A historian researching the British Empire and legacies of empire, with a particular interest in modern Africa

I am a historian of Britain and the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My research has tended to concentrate on the intellectual and socio-political networks that created and underpinned Britain’s colonial and post-colonial actions and sensibilities in the modern era.

My first book, Exporting Empire, looked at how domestic British social practices and attitudes shaped, and failed to shape, the ways in which empire functioned ‘on the spot’ in sub-Saharan Africa between the end of the 19th century and the Second World War. My second book, Edwardian England and the Idea of Racial Decline, considered the impact of the Second Anglo-Boer War on British ideas about race and identity.

I am currently researching British foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa in the wake of decolonisation, considering the roles that the British government tried to create for itself in this newly emerging postcolonial context. The resultant monograph will address key policy aims such as the management of external emerging actors such as the United States, key thematic concerns such as democracy and communism, and key policy actions such as military intervention and counter-espionage MI6 intelligence.


PhD, University of Durham 2007

MA, University of Durham 2003

BA, University of Durham 2002

Career History

Associate Professor in Colonial and Postcolonial History, University of Southampton, 2018-present

Lecturer in Twentieth Century History, University of Southampton, 2012-2018

Lecturer in Twentieth Century British History, University College Dublin, 2010-2012

Lecturer in Imperial History, University of Leeds, 2007-2010

Lecturer in Imperial History, Durham University, 2006-2007

Exporting empire cover
Edwardian England cover

Research interests

I’m interested in the ways that imperialism shaped Britain and the once-colonies of the British Empire, both during and after the era of formal empire. This work touches on topics such as race and identity, decolonisation and nationalism, the Cold War and military intervention, humanitarianism and aid, and communism and democracy.

PhD Supervision

I’d be delighted to take any enquiries from researchers interested in undertaking a PhD in a subject related to British, imperial or global history in the modern age.

PhD research

Dr Rob Joy, Cultivating the Colonial Mind: British Agricultural Officers in East Africa at the End of Empire, 1945-1966, completed in June 2019

Joe Higgins, Empire and Federation in South Arabia, 1952-1967

Charlotte Kelsted, Intimate Colonialism: British Women and the Population of Mandate Palestine, co-supervised with the University of Exeter through the SWW DTP scheme, completed April 2021

Will Law, Decolonising the Master's Gift: Britain's Railways, Decolonisation, and the International Market 1945-1975, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

Dora Vrkic, Federalisation as a tool of state stability in British foreign policy towards Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia 1918-1938, Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship

I am the Director of the Centre for Imperial and Post-colonial Studies, working with the vibrant community of imperial and postcolonial scholars of all levels working at the university. I am also the department's Head of Marketing.

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Publications listed below:



Book Chapters

Dr Christopher Prior
Building 65, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number : 65/2049

Dr Christopher Prior's personal home page
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