Dr Michael Collins

Senior Lecturer

Dr Michael Collins is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in twentieth-century British and imperial history. He joined UCL in 2007 after studying at the LSE, Cambridge and Oxford.

He is a historian of politics, broadly defined, with a particular interest in the role of ideas. The intellectual and social contexts that shape elite political action form the main focus of his research. He is interested in how political ideas and actions are legitimated in national and international public spheres, and how imperial, international and transnational historical forces impact upon this.

The historical problem within which Dr Collins explores these themes is decolonization: the end of the European empires in the twentieth century. His work focuses both on the politics of decolonization in the empire, as well as on the way decolonization shaped or intersected with politics, public opinion and identity in the metropole, specifically with regard to questions of immigration, race and citizenship. Whilst Britain constitutes the primary focus of his research and teaching, he is also interested in comparative studies, particularly with the French experience.

Dr Collins welcomes applications from students wishing to study for a PhD connected to imperialism and decolonization, especially after 1945.

His recent publications include:

‘Nation, State and Agency: Evolving Historiographies of African Decolonization’


‘Decolonization and the ‘Federal Moment’: Ends of British Imperialism in the 1950s’

Empire, Nationalism and the Postcolonial World: Rabindranath Tagore’s Writings on History, Politics and Society

‘Rabindranath Tagore and Nationalism: An Interpretation’

Qualifications & memberships of professional bodies

2009  DPhil University of Oxford 
2001 MPhil University of Cambridge 
2000 BSc/MSc LSE 
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society 

Major Publications

IRIS Researcher Profile 

Dr Michael Collins


empire, imperialism, decolonization, decolonisation, British politics, international history