Department of History
History at SOAS: re-centring your world. We lead the world in research and teaching about the histories of Asia and Africa. According to the newly-published QS World University Rankings by Subject, SOAS History has ascended to 44th in the world and 11th in the UK.
We are the only history department that does history from the perspective of Asia and Africa, rather than through a western-centric framework.
Studying with us allows you to explore the dynamic histories of these regions in depth and to work closely with world-renowned historians whose research is building a new way of looking at the world as a whole. We approach those histories by focusing on a range of topics, including culture, religion, gender, economics, law, politics, technology, and warfare.
We will help you to develop the valuable critical thinking, research, and writing skills that will enable you to make a difference in the world in whatever career you choose. We offer a variety of BA, MA, and PhD programme options.
Facts and figures
12th in UK
QS World University Rankings 2022
35th in world
QS World University Rankings 2018
In the 1996 and 2001 Research Assessment Exercises,researrch achieved the highest grade. With 23 full-time members of staff – and a varying corps of research associates and distinguished visiting scholars – the Department provides a rich research environment, much of it centred on its five research seminar series on African, South Asian, Middle Eastern, East Asian, and South East Asian history. With around 20 or more new students a year joining the History PhD programme, it has a large and active community of research scholars.
Our historians are world-leading specialists on areas of the globe which comprise more than three-fifths of the world’s population: colleagues work on the Middle East from the era of the Crusades to the more recent past, on nineteenth- and twentieth-century China and Japan, on the formation of state and society in Africa, and on Islam from West Africa to Southeast Asia.
Visit the SOAS History Blog.
Slavery And Forced Internal Migration in Western Mali (SlaFMig)
Analysing the past and present links between forced displacement and descent-based slavery in Western Mali.
Djonya Kélé ja Toulon: Gaming against slavery
Contributing to the fight against descent-based slavery in Mali through the creation of a video game for mobiles.
Resilience in West African frontier communities
Making local cultures visible and turning local actors from rural West African areas into producers of knowledge.
Watigueleya Kèlê: Equitable Climate Resilience in West Africa
Long-term resilience strategies developed by marginalised communities to respond to socioecological stress and climate-related disasters in West Africa.
Changing awareness of internal slavery in Mali
Research conducted by Dr Marie Rodet has raised awareness of the history of internal slavery in Mali, transmitted previously lost history between elders and the younger generations, and exposed enduring discrimination against populations with ascribed status as descendants of former slaves.