Photo of Emily Baughan.

Dr Emily Baughan

B.A. (Bristol), M.A. (Bristol), Ph.D. (Bristol)

Lecturer in 19th/20th Century British History

Aid, development, and internationalism in the twentieth century, international humanitarianism and the British welfare state

+44 (0)114 22 22573 | Jessop West 2.14

Semester Two 2018/19 Office Hours: Tuesdays 15:00-16:00; Wednesdays 12:00-13:00



Emily joined the Department of History in September 2016. Before then she was a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Bristol, and a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Bristol in 2014, and during her postgraduate studies held fellowships at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and the University of Cape Town, and was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in New York.
Emily is currently working on her first book, ‘Saving the Children: Humanitarianism, Internationalism and Empire, 1915-1970’. This analyses the intersection of liberal internationalism and British imperialism, as expressed through philanthropic civil society, through and between the two world wars and during the era of decolonization. Emily is also interested in how the history of humanitarianism can inform present day debates within the humanitarian sector, and explored this as a Humanitarian Affairs Research Fellow at Save the Children UK in 2015-16.
Emily is also interested in comparative and transnational approaches to the history of welfare states, and is a member of the research network ‘The Quest for Welfare and Democracy’, based at the EUI.

Membership of Professional Bodies

To follow.


Current Research

Emily's research places the history of modern Britain within wider international and imperial contexts. She focuses particularly on the history of aid, development, and internationalism in the twentieth century and on connections between international humanitarianism and the British welfare state. Emily is also interested in the ways history can inform contemporary debates about aid and development.

Saving the Children: British Humanitarianism in Europe and Africa, c. 1915-2010.

My Ph.D. thesis (currently under revision for publication as a monograph), analysed the history of the major NGO Save the Children 'from the outside in'. Drawing on international, multi-archival research, I view Save the Children through the eyes of its far-flung friends and rivals, as well as its British leaders and supporters. Doing so, I recover the connections between humanitarianism and a vision of interpersonal internationalism popular amongst the British radical left in the aftermath of the First World War. I also reveal the ways in which international aid upon was dependent upon British imperial identities, ideals and networks.

Other People's Children: Adoption, Abduction and the Migration of Children in the British World, 1800-2000.

Spanning two centuries of British-led international and imperial child welfare initiatives, my next major reserach project Other People’s Children will place within the same frame the removal of indigenous children from their communities in British colonies, the transportation of working class British children to the white dominions, and the growing 'trade' in international adoption in the late twentieth century. It will both interrogate, and move beyond, paradigms of imperial expansion and genocide, revealing the ways in which ideas about pedagogy, psychology and highly racialized discourses of comparative development influenced child welfare policy and practices. Charting a trend away from institutional childrearing towards international adoption, in which children were individually placed into family units, I examine the ways in which evolving notions of race, class and international diplomacy played out in the lives of individual children in both institutional and familial settings across the British world.

Research Supervision

I am interested in supervising projects that relate to the history of popular politics, internationalist activism, NGOs, humanitarianism, development and human rights, and childhood in Britain, the British Empire/Commonwealth and Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Current students:

  • Liam Liburd (second supervisor) - Constructions of Race, Gender and Empire on the Extreme Right in Britain, 1920s to 1960s.

All current students by supervisor | PhD study in History


Monographs & Edited Collections

With Lester, A., Skinner, R. and Everill, B. 'Empire and Humanitarianism', special edition of Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 40, No. 5, December 2012


Book Chapters

The League of Nations Child Welfare Council and the Rights of Refugee Children, in S. Jackson and A. O’Malley (eds.), From the League of Nations to the United Nations, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.)


Journal Articles

'"Every Citizen of Empire Implored to Save the Children!" Empire, internationalism and the Save the Children Fund in inter-war Britain,' Historical Research, Vol. 86, No. 231 (February 2013): pp. 116-137.


'The Imperial War Relief Fund and the All British Appeal: Commonwealth, Conflict and Conservatism within the British Humanitarian Movement, 1920–1925,' Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 40, No. 5 (December 2012): pp. 845-861.


'Towards a new politics of humanitarian solidarity: Assessing the contemporary import of Dorothy Buxton's vision for Save the Children', Disasters, Special Edition: Academic Histories for a Practitioner Audience, Volume 39, Number 2, October 2015, pp.129–145 (co-authored with Juliano Fiori, Head of Humanitarian Affairs at Save the Children UK)



Review of Empire's Children: Child Emigration, Welfare, and the Decline of the British World, 1869-1967 by Ellen Boucher, Times Literary Supplement, 21st May 2014.


Extended review of Securing the World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946 by Patricia Clavin, Reviews in History, January 2014.


Review of An Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector Since 1945 by Matthew Hilton et al, Economic History Review, Vol. 67, No. 2 (March 2014): pp. 592-593.


Review of Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation-Building in Britain between the Wars, eds. Laura Beers and Geraint Thomas, Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2014): p. 155.


Review of Britain's Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century, ed. Andrew Thompson, Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 23, No. 2 (December 2012): pp. 162-164.



Module Leader

HST2037: The Welfare State in Britain, 1900-2015

Although 1948 is remembered as the birth of the British welfare state, the involvement of the government in the wellbeing of its citizens has a far longer history. In this unit, we will explore the gradual evolution of British welfare practice and policy from 1900 until the present day. Drawing on primary sources including newspaper reports, documentary film and television, diaries, memoirs, charity records, and local government sources, we will analyze the shifting relationship between citizens and the state in modern Britain. We will examine how debates about class, gender, race and immigration informed the nature and extent of welfare provision over the past hundred years. In doing so, we will set the birth, growth and decline of the British welfare state alongside debates about the nature of citizenship in modern Britain.


HST3156/3157: Humanitarianism, Internationalism and the British Empire, 1900-2000

What is humanitarianism? How has it shaped, and been shaped by, beliefs about Britain’s role in the world? Why, in the eyes of politicians and the public, did British interests, and the interests of ‘humanity’ so often coincide?

The unit analyses British humanitarianismfrom 1900 to 2000. We situate British humanitarianism within the history of the Empire, globalization, U.S. ascendancy, and Cold War tensions. We consider traditionally disenfranchised groups – women, children and imperial subjects – as objects and agents of humanitarian interventions, and ask whether humanitarianism can be considered as ‘political’ both in the past and in the present.


Public Engagement

Public Engagement

To follow.

In The Media

To follow.

Administrative Duties

Current Administrative Duties

To follow.