Academic rankings can be subjective, divisive and misleading; but an index of geographical range is perhaps more reliable than the various indices of academic quality. (Which, admittedly, we made use of when we drew up the list of ‘leading’ universities for our sample.) The table below ranks all 57 history departments we examined. Each institution receives a score from 0 to 1 based on the extent of wider-world research interest among its staff: 1.0 means that every department member works on the wider world; 0.01 means that just 1% of that department is working in these areas. Excepting the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, which is exclusively dedicated to the wider world, the most wide-ranging departments have an average in the .300s, rather like the best hitters in baseball. But more than 60% of the departments we surveyed missed even the .300 threshold.

If we distributed historians on the basis of population, the wider-world average would be 0.830.

Our data was compiled in the spring and summer of 2011, and offers a snapshot of the profession at the end of the 2010/11 academic year. For more information on how we compiled this list, visit our caveats page.

Home                                    Findings