Dr Hannah Elias

Staff details

Dr Hannah Elias


Lecturer in Black British History




h.elias (@gold.ac.uk)

Cultural historian of the twentieth century researching Black British histories, religion, media and public history.

Cultural historian of Britain in the twentieth century researching Black British histories, religion, media and public history.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in History, McMaster University 2016
  • MA in History, McMaster University 2007
  • BA(Hons) in History, University of Calgary 2006

Teaching and supervision

  • MA Black British History
  • The Postcolonial City: Migration, Society and Culture in London (MA Module)
  • Media Histories of Black Britain (MA Module)
  • Black British Activism & Citizenship in Transnational Perspective (Year 2/3 Undergraduate Module)
  • Making Black British Histories: Preservation, Community and Public History (Year 2/3 Undergraduate Module)
  • Global Connections: Decolonising Enlightenment Political Thought (Year 1 Undergraduate Module Block)
  • [Please see supervision areas below]

Research interests

Dr Elias’s research interrogates the place of religion in race equality campaigns, anti-racism activism, and Black liberation movements in 1960s Britain, and their relationship with the American civil rights movement, the South African anti-apartheid movement, and global anti-colonial struggles. She is developing a book project that examines the transnational connections between these movements, and the ways that religious organisations and the migration and movement of people, money and ideas played a significant role in anti-racism activism in Britain. Her research also explores the unique place London had in the Black Atlantic, as both metropole and the site of overlapping diasporas from the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia, and the place of religion in processes of transnational political formation in Britain.

Dr Elias also works on efforts to reform history curricula in higher education and in schools, and is the Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded Connected Curriculum Network, which explores practices for de-centring, decolonising and diversifying history education in the UK.

Dr Elias also researches histories of media and propaganda in twentieth century Britain, and the cultural history of religion. Her research has investigated the relationship between religion and politics in the Second World War, and the place of Christianity in wartime broadcasts on the BBC, and the Ministry of Information's use of religion in global propaganda. She is also interested in exploring topics connected to religion, race and migration in Britain.

Dr Elias welcomes proposals for postgraduate research projects, and is keen to support emerging scholars. Please get in touch by email to discuss project ideas.

Key areas:

  • Black British history
  • Transnational anti-racist & anti-colonial politics
  • Religion, faith & culture
  • History of media
  • Radical history
  • Britain in 20th century
  • Postcolonial Britain
  • Public history
  • Global History

Grants and awards

2021: AHRC Research Networking Grant - Connected Curriculum Network

2021: Goldsmiths Public Engagement Grant - Black People's Day of Action Oral History Project

2020: Shortlist, AHRC New Generation Thinker

2020: Finalist, AHRC Engaging with Government Scheme

Publications and research outputs


Elias, Hannah and Spafford, Martin. 2021. Teaching Britain's 'civil rights' history: activism and citizenship in context. Teaching History(185), pp. 10-21. ISSN 0040-06109

Elias, Hannah. 2020. Time and race in history education. Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy, 28(4), pp. 47-58. ISSN 0968-252X

Book Section

Elias, Hannah. 2023. Radio Religion: The British Broadcasting Corporation and Faith Propaganda at ‘Home’ and ‘Overseas’ in the Second World War. In: Michael Snape and Stuart Bell, eds. British Christianity and the Second World War. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 46-65. ISBN 9781837650194

Elias, Hannah. 2020. John Collins, Martin Luther King, Jr., and transnational networks of protest and resistance in the Church of England during the 1960s. In: Tom Rodger; Philip Williamson and Matthew Grimley, eds. The Church of England and British Politics since 1900. Martlesham: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 279-297. ISBN 9781787448209


Elias, Hannah and Lidher, Sundeep. 2020. Teaching British Histories of Race, Migration and Empire: a resource for teachers and learners.

Lidher, Sundeep and Elias, Hannah. 2020. 7 Actions to Change the History Curriculum.

Elias, Hannah. 2020. Race, faith and radicalism: Martin Luther King at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Professional projects

Dr Elias works closely with a number of organisations on initiatives to decolonise history curricula and widen participation in higher education and the history profession. In the summer of 2020, she worked with Dr Sundeep Lidher (KCL) and the Runnymede Trust to launch the #TeachRaceMigrationEmpire campaign, which outlined seven simple actions to change the history curriculum in schools, and created a new digital resource for teachers. Formerly head of ‘Inclusive History’ initiatives at the Institute of Historical Research and part of the IHR Steering Group, Dr Elias is now Chair of the IHR Equality Working Group. She also serves as a member of the Historical Association's Higher Education Committee.

She is a co-convenor of the IHR’s Black British History seminar, actively engaged in the promotion and facilitation of learning, debates and conversation about new currents in this developing field of study. She is also a co-convenor of the IHR’s Modern Religious History seminar.

From 2015-2018, Dr Elias was Editor of History Workshop Online, and remains a member of the HWO Advisory Board and a Team Member of the Raphael Samuel History Centre.

Dr Elias has taught a range of subjects in British, global and postcolonial history to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Institute of Historical Research, Goldsmiths, and McMaster University. She has also helped develop a MOOC for the University of London Worldwide on ‘Applied Public History’ with Professor Catherine Clarke, now available through the Coursera platform.

Public Engagement

In the media: Dr Elias has appeared in interviews on Sky News (on decolonising the curriculum), on CBC Radio (on the cultural impacts of Brexit) and BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking (on radio propaganda in the Second World War).

Working with key partners, Dr Elias has helped curate a number of public engagement activities. Working with the Runnymede Trust, she curated the 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King’s speech at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2014, which was marked by a conversation on race and racism, attended by 800 members of the public and featured on the front page of The Guardian. In 2018, she co-organised ‘Where do we fit in? Black and Asian British History on the Curriculum’ with Malachi McIntosh and the Our Migration Story project team at the Runnymede Trust. The event included commentary by activists and scholars, and spoken word and poetry reflections.

In 2019, Dr Elias helped organise a workshop called ‘Home Truths: Secrets and Discoveries in Family History’ in partnership with the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the London Metropolitan Archives as part of the AHRC/British Academy sponsored Being Human Festival.