Dr Hannah Elias

Staff details

Position Lecturer in Black British History
Department History
Email h.elias (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Hannah Elias

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)
  • 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)
  • [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 and South African anti-apartheid movement. 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 the construction of languages of political blackness and transnational political formation in Britain.

Dr Elias welcomes proposals for postgraduate research projects, and is keen to support emerging scholars. She encourages students to get in touch by email to discuss their project ideas on the cultural or social history of Britain and the Atlantic world from the early 20th century to the recent past. Dr Elias specialises in Black British histories, the modern history of religion, the history of media and propaganda, radical history and public history.


Book Section

Elias, Hannah. 2020. John Collins, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Transnational Networks of Protest and Resistance in the Church of England. In: Tom Rodger; Philip Williamson and Matthew Grimley, eds. The Church of England and British Politics since 1900. 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.

Further profile content

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, McMaster University, and as a guest lecturer at Birkbeck. 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.

Grants and awards

2020: Finalist, AHRC Engaging with Government Scheme

2020: Shortlist, AHRC New Generation Thinker

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 engagement activities that have resonated with diverse communities and started media conversations. 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.