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Those wishing to write their dissertation on a subject connected to this course should contact me as early as possible during the Autumn Term. I am very happy to supervise a wide range of topics on the global history of print.

The dissertation should be a new and original piece of work, based on primary sources, and similar in style to an academic article.

Below are some possible themes and example titles. You may wish to use these as a starting point to develop your own topic.

If you are stuck for ideas, it can often work well to focus on a particular book, newspaper, periodical or publisher that interests you, and base your dissertation around a publication and reception history.

Another idea might be to track a particular world event - like the Indian Rebellion - in the newspaper press across the globe.

For further information, see the Dissertation Module website.

Dissertation themes

  • Missionary printing
  • Scientific publishing
  • Press censorship
  • Maps
  • Images
  • Newspapers
  • Colonial publishers and printers
  • Colonial advertising
  • Reporting world events
  • Printing technology

Previous dissertation titles

  • 'A Parting Between Friends'? Indian Independence in the British and Indian Press
  • ‘An Immense Field for Missions’: Emancipation Mapping in British Guiana, 1833-1841
  • The British Construction of Muslim Identity in India: William Wilson Hunter and his Indian Musalmans (1871)
  • The Newspaper Trail: Britain's Global Operation to Counter Indian Seditious Publications, 1908-1918
  • Printing the Exhibition: the Active Role of the Popular Press in the Organisation, Expectations and Perceptions of the Great Exhibition of 1851

Example dissertation titles and topics

  • The publication and reception history of Mungo Park's Travels in Africa (1799)
  • Printing, publishing and editing James Rennell's Map of Hindoostan (1782) 
  • The Times of India and the making of the colonial newspaper press
  • Press censorship in colonial New South Wales, 1790-1850
  • Reporting Gandhi's death in the colonial newspaper press
  • The Tourist: radical antislavery and the periodical press
  • Proslavery journalism in London, 1780-1834
  • Africa and Africans in The Penny Magazine
  • Reporting Partition: news and the end of empire
  • Buying and selling books in colonial Cape Town, 1820-1850
  • Astronomical journalism: reporting a solar eclipse across the British Empire
  • Selling sugar, buying slaves: advertising in the Jamaican newspaper press
  • Books, tea and opium: The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China
  • Gutenberg in Shanghai: producing the first Chinese metal type
  • Reading Morant Bay: slave rebellions in the colonial newspaper press
  • Nature's colonial readers: the scientific journal and the British Empire
  • Reading science at sea: Charles Darwin's library aboard the Beagle voyage

Dissertation Resources

The best dissertations are often grounded in manuscript sources. The following archives hold the majority of core material related to the history of the British Empire. Try searching key terms in the relevant catalogues:

British Library Manuscript Catalogue (particularly for India, but also elsewhere)

National Archives Catalogue (particularly for British Empire beyond India)

Royal Commonwealth Society Archives

You may also need to access a rare book, either not online or in the Warwick collection. Again, the British Library is the best place to look.

British Library Book Catalogue