Skip to main content

Please note: this event has passed

Taking Nigel Biggar’s recent book Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning as a case in point, this talk will examine the role that the history of the British Empire has come to play in the current culture war, and the forms that denials of its violence and racism take.


This lecture is part of our Engelsberg Applied History Programme, which seeks to interrogate the meanings, uses, and limits of the concept of ‘applied history’; to explore how and by whom history is used to shape understandings of the present; and the ways that understandings of history and ‘thinking in time’ can inform better public policy and statecraft in the present day.


The event will be chaired by Dr. Maeve Ryan (KCL).


Following the talk, there will be a Q&A session followed by a drinks reception. Please RSVP so we can plan catering.


About our speaker

Prof. Alan Lester is Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Sussex and an internationally renowned scholar of empire. He has been researching, writing about and teaching the British Empire for over thirty years. His books include Imperial Networks (2001), Colonial Lives Across the British Empire (ed. with David Lambert, 2006), Colonisation and the Origins of Humanitarian Governance (with Fae Dussart, 2011), Ruling the World (with Kate Boehme and Peter Mitchell, 2021) and his most recent book, Deny and Disavow: Distancing Britain's Imperial Past in the Culture Wars, published in 2022.


He has held visiting lectureships at Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare, an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury and an inaugural fellowship in humanities at La Trobe University. He has also been Research Professor (Historical Studies) at La Trobe. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the co-editor of the Manchester University Press Studies in Imperialism series, which has published well over 170 research monographs.


At this event

Maeve ryan 540

Reader in History and Foreign Policy