Dr Michael Collins is Associate Professor of Modern British History. He joined UCL History as a probationary lecturer in 2007 and was awarded his PhD in History by the University of Oxford in 2009. He became a permanent member of UCL History staff in 2010 and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. He previously studied the history of political thought at Cambridge University and politics at the London School of Economics.
In addition to his role in the Department of History, Michael is Vice Dean for Advancement in the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences. In this capacity he works with faculty colleagues on strategic planning for matters such as alumni relations, external engagement, philanthropic donations and equalities, diversity and inclusion. He is also the founder and lead co-ordinator of the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Britain (CMCB) within UCL’s Institute of Advanced Study (IAS).
Dr Collins is a historian of twentieth-century Britain. He currently has two main research interests:
1. The historical development of political ideas in post-war Britain. This work focuses on how ideas are formed and used by ‘elites’ to respond to specific problems. Through this work, he aims to demonstrate the changing meanings and salience of concepts such as empire, nation, citizen, race, and multicultural identity.
2. The social and cultural history of immigration in post-war Britain. This research focuses more on the lived experience of immigrants. He is currently pursuing a project on the history of ‘Windrush Cricket’ and the way in which cricket formed an integral part of the Windrush generation’s efforts to settle and build communities in England after 1948.
Selected recent publications
- 'Nation, State and Agency: Evolving Historiographies of African Decolonization', in A.W.M. Smith and C. Jeppesen (eds.), Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa: Future Imperfect? (London: UCL Press, 2017), pp. 17-42
- 'Decolonization', in J. Mackenzie (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Empire: Volume 2 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), pp. 1-15
- Empire, Nationalism and the Postcolonial World London: Routledge, 2015
- 'Rabindranath Tagore and Nationalism: An Interpretation', in A. Fischer and C. Speiss (eds.), State and Society in South Asia: Themes of Assertion and Recognition (New Delhi: Samskriti, 2014), pp. 101-144
- 'Decolonization and the "Federal Moment"', Diplomacy and Statecraft 24/1, (2013), pp. 21-40
- ‘Rabindranath Tagore and the Politics of Friendship’, South Asia: The Journal of South Asian Studies 35/1 (2012), pp. 118-142
For a full list of publications, see Michael's Iris profile.
Dr Collins welcomes applications from students wishing to study for a PhD connected to the history of political ideas, the end of empire, immigration and identity in Britain after 1945.
Currently supervising: Saffron East, 'The Indian Workers' Association, the Southall Black Sisters and "black" politics in 1970s Britain'.
Recently completed: Jack Saunders, ‘The British motor industry 1945-77: how workplace cultures shaped labour militancy’; Kieran O’Leary, ‘From Birmingham to Bulawayo: The Labour government, race and decolonization, 1964-1970’; Kevin Guyan, ‘Masculinities, planning knowledge and domestic space in Britain, c.1941-1961’; Jack Taylor, ‘The Attlee Government and the collapse of British Power in Iran, 1945-1951’; Hana Qugana, ‘The cultural politics of Englishness: John Gordon Hargrave, the Kibbo Kift and Social Credit, 1920-1939’.
UG and PGT courses
- Writing History (first-year lecture core course)
- British History, 1850-1997 (first- and second-year undergraduate survey)
- Britain and Decolonization since 1945 (second-year undergraduate research seminar)
- London in the Twentieth Century (second- and third-year advanced seminar)
- Decolonization: Britain and the Afterlives of Empire (MA elective seminar)