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Gavin Rand

Dr Gavin MA Rand

Senior Lecturer

Department of History, Politics and Social Sciences

Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

Dr Gavin Rand joined the School of Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Greenwich in 2005. He studied politics and modern history as an undergraduate at the University of Manchester and remained in Manchester for his postgraduate work, completing first an MA in cultural history and then a doctorate, awarded in 2004. After completing his thesis – a cultural history of the Indian Army in the late 19th century – Gavin taught for a year in the Department of History at Lancaster University, before joining Greenwich in 2005.

Gavin's work explores the transmissions between Britain and empire in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular focus on Britain and South Asia. Most of his research examines the role of culture in framing the administration and governance of empire, although he is also interested in the impacts of empire on British society and culture, an interest reflected in much of his teaching at the University of Greenwich.

Responsibilities within the university

Senior Lecturer, History

Gavin sits on the Faculty Research Ethics Committee, and is a member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Employee Engagement Action Group.


Gavin's doctoral work was funded by an ESRC studentship (2000–03). In 2011, he was awarded a British Academy International Partnership and Mobility award to support a project, entitled Re-Newing the Military History of Colonial South Asia, which seeks to bridge cultural and military histories of empire in South Asia.

External recognition

Gavin is External Examiner for the BA History programme, and Senior External Examiner for the School of Humanities, at the University of Derby. He was previously Greenwich's history contact at the Higher Education Academy.

Research/scholarly interests

Gavin's current research explores the cultural history of the imperial military in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly the vital role played by culture in shaping the military's role across empire. Integrating cultural and military history, Gavin's work charts the role of the Indian Army in the development of new ideas of race in the period after 1857.

A new project examines the role of the imperial military during the late colonial period, with a particular focus on the tumultuous events which accompanied independence and Partition in 1947. Gavin is currently leading a pilot project exploring the role, and reaction, of imperial troops during the violence which attended Punjab's Partition in 1947.

Gavin is also interested in the wider connections between empire and modernity, and the role of empire in framing new ideas about 'the modern' in both metropolitan and colonial contexts, and would welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students interested in related issues.

Recent funded projects

Gavin leads an international, collaborative project reassessing the role of war and the military in the British empire. The project – entitled 'Re-Newing the Military History of Colonial South Asia' – is funded by a British Academy International Partnership and Mobility award.

The project, in collaboration with Dr Kaushik Roy (Jadavpur University, Kolkata) seeks to reconsider the place of the colonial military in the history of the British empire in South Asia. By moving beyond more traditional accounts of strategy and tactics to consider the wider social and cultural impacts of military service and colonial conflict, the project attempts to use the military archives to explore questions of wider historical significance.

The project culminates in two international symposia bringing together scholars, archivists and other stakeholders to explore the relationship between culture and military power in the colonial period. The first symposium, attended by delegates from the UK, India, North America and Europe, was held in Greenwich in August 2013. The second symposium will be held in Kolkata in January 2014, and will again attract an international field from across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

An edited collection, based on papers presented at the symposia, to be published by Routledge in 2015, inaugurating a new series on "Warfare and Society in South Asia" to be edited by the project coordinators. Further outputs anticipated include a catalogue of relevant archival collections, a web portal to support international networking as well as further, collaborative applications to support future research projects.

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