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Hannah Elias

Dr Hannah Elias is Academic and Digital Engagement Officer for the IHR, an Associate Research Fellow, and a Course Tutor for our MRes Programme. She also leads the IHR's 'inclusive histories' projects and initiatives and is Co-Director of the History Now summer school. 

She is a historian of Modern Britain, religion, propaganda, and the transatlantic history of race and social protest in the 20th century.; + 44 (0)207 862 8844

Institute roles

Hannah joined the Institute in December 2017 as Academic and Digital Engagement Officer, and a Course Tutor for the IHR's M.Res programme. She is responsible for the IHR's communications and engagement strategy, and is part of the IHR's Steering Group. Hannah also leads the IHR's 'inclusive histories' projects and initiatives, aimed at promoting diversity within the historical profession, and encouraging new approaches to the study, research and teaching of history that provide intellectual space for previously 'silenced' or marginalised perspectives. Hannah also serves as the Co-Director of the IHR's History Now summer school, launching in 2020.  

Hannah is an experienced practitioner of public history, and has led some of the IHR's key public engagement initiatives, including 'Where do we fit in?' Black and Asian British History on the Curriculum, co-hosted in partnership with the Runnymede Trust. She is also the host/producer of the IHR's podcast History in Conversation, and editor of the IHR's digital magazine, On History.

Hannah studied for her PhD in History at McMaster University, Canada, where she received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her doctoral project 'Radio Religion: War, Faith and the BBC, 1939-1948' (completed 2016). Prior to working at the IHR, Hannah was an Associate Lecturer in the Department of History at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she taught modern revolution in comparative and global perspective. Between 2015-2018, Hannah served as Editor of History Workshop Online and was an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. Hannah is currently a Raphael Samuel History Centre team member, and part of the History Workshop Online Advisory Board. She was recently shortlisted for the 2020 AHRC/BBC3 New Generation Thinker scheme.

Hannah is a co-convenor for the Modern Religious History Seminar and the Black British History Seminar

Research interests

Hannah is a cultural historian of religion in Britain and the Atlantic World in the twentieth century. Her primary research interest concerns the relationship between religion and public life, and the negotiation and mutation of religious beliefs and customs as individuals and communities migrate, interact and experience crisis. Her recent research has focused on transnational networks of protest and resistance in religious communities in the 1960s, particularly those connected to global and national anti-racism campaigns. She has recently authored an essay on the relationship between Martin Luther King, Jr., St Paul's Cathedral, and anti-apartheid networks. 

Her research has also focused on the use of religion as tool of persuasion or coercion, particularly in the propaganda outputs and activities of Britain’s wartime Ministry of Information. She is currently writing a book and several articles based on her 2016 doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Radio Religion: War, Faith and the BBC, 1939-1948.’ Working with colleagues at Durham and Worcester, Hannah is also co-editing a collection of essays on Christianity and the Second World War.

Hannah is currently involved in a number of research and networking projects in collaboration with the RHS, Historical Association, and the Runnymede Trust, among others, which are aimed at exploring and redressing structural racial inequalities in the historical discipline, including diversifying and 'decolonising' history curricula and developing and strengthening the 'pipeline' of development for BME students to reach the highest levels of the profession in greater numbers. 

Key research areas of interest: 

  • Religion and public life in the twentieth century, Britain and Atlantic world 
  • Race, postcolonialism and decolonisation
  • WW2 propaganda and media history 
  • Transnational anti-racism and social justice campaigns in the twentieth century
  • Public history
  • Radical history 
  • Cultural history
  • Ecumenism and multi-faith collaboration
  • Christianity, social Christianity and Christian feminism

Selected publications, press & multimedia outputs