Dr Michael Collins


Michael Collins joined UCL in 2007 as a lecturer in modern British and imperial history after studying at Oxford, Cambridge and the LSE.

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 (‘structure versus agency’ would be one way of thinking about this) form the main focus of his work. He is also interested in how political ideas and actions are ‘legitimated’ in the eyes of the wider public.

The historical problem within which Dr Collins explores these themes is decolonisation: the end of the European empires in the twentieth century, especially the British one. Having previously worked on imperialism, anti-colonial nationalism, the British-Indian relationship and the decolonisation of India, Michael is currently engaged in writing a book on the history of British experiments with federations, specifically in central and east Africa in the 1950s. His recent journal article on decolonisation and the ‘federal moment’ sketches some of the parameters of this project. In addition, he is writing a different book entitled Decolonization and Globalization Since 1945 (I. B. Tauris, 2017). This offers a historiographical analysis of the ways in which the end of the European empires intersected with the growth of international institutions, norms and networks, and pursues the international legacies of late imperialism.

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

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