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Dr Jean Smith

Dr Jean Smith

  • Research fellows
  • Visiting

Lecturer in British Imperial History

Contact details

Biography

I studied history and politics at the University of Virginia and completed my doctorate in history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at King’s for the project, Empire in Motion: Conflict and Co-operation during the Second World War. I have also held research posts at the University of Leeds and the University of East Anglia.

Research Interests

  • Migration
  • Decolonisation
  • Race

My research is driven by an interest in the racialised politics and experience of migration in twentieth-century Britain and the (former) British Empire. I have worked on emigration from the United Kingdom, the deportation of British migrants from inter-war Australia and South Africa and the social history of mobility in the British Empire during the Second World War.

Selected Publications

  • Settlers at the End of Empire: Race and the Politics of Migration in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Rhodesia, Manchester: Manchester University Press, forthcoming.
  • ‘Persistence and privilege: Mass migration from Britain to the Commonwealth, 1945-2000’ in Christian D. Pederson and Stuart Ward (eds), The Break Up of Greater Britain, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021, 252-271.
  • Race and hospitality: Allied troops of colour on the South African home front’, Special Issue: Marginalised Histories of the Second World War, War and Society, 39, no.3 (2020): 155-170.
  • From promising settler to undesirable immigrant: The deportation of British-born migrants from mental hospitals in interwar Australia and South Africa’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 46, no. 3 (2018): 502-523.
  • ‘“Transformation to paradise”: Wartime travel to southern Africa, race and the discourse of opportunity, 1939-1950’, Twentieth Century British History, 26, no.1 (2015): 52-73.

Teaching

I teach undergraduate and MA modules on British imperial history and the history of migration, including the undergraduate module, Investigating the Colonial Past of King’s College London.

Expertise and public engagement

I contributed to a lesson plan on the ‘Mangrove Nine Protest’ in collaboration with the National Archives.

I was an advisor to the Departures exhibition at the Migration Museum, London, which opened October 2020. My research was featured and I wrote an essay for the exhibition guide.