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School of History

Professor Matthew Hilton




I am a social historian with interests in the history of humanitarianism, consumer society and social activism, both in Britain and globally. I did my PhD at Lancaster University before spending nearly twenty years at the University of Birmingham. I joined Queen Mary in 2016 as Vice-Principal for Humanities and Social Sciences. I am a co-editor of Past and Present.


Research Interests:

My research interests are in the general area of modern British history. I initially worked on popular culture and consumer society, before moving on to study the history of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs)

With Nicholas Crowson I ran a Leverhulme-Trust funded project, NGOs in Britain (link is external). This project built on the online Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations (link is external) and its principal findings are contained in The Politics of Expertise.

With Kieran Connell, I created an archive of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (link is external), established in 1964 by Richard Hoggart and Stuart Hall. We subsequently went on to exhibit the photographic work of Janet Mendelson, a student at the CCCS in the late 1960s. Her images were shown at the IKON and published as Varna Road (link is external)

Currently I am working on a history of British humanitarian charities, particularly their role in the alleviation of global poverty at a time of decolonisation and development. 



Edited books and special issues:

Exhibition catalogues

Selected articles:

Editorial Positions 


I welcome applications from candidates wishing to pursue doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Modern British social history Humanitarianism and development
  • Consumption and consumer culture
  • Social movements and NGOs
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