Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain


Diasporas are not a modern phenomenon. Ever since the last Ice Age people have moved into the British Isles from the European continent. Our research focuses primarily on the cultural, linguistic, and genetic interactions between peoples known to history as ‘Celts’, ‘Britons’, ‘Anglo-Saxons’, and ‘Vikings’.

Diasporas involve the migration of people from a homeland and the maintenance over time of links with that place. The homeland is often idealised, and collective memories or myths about it are nurtured and transmitted across generations, long after the living links of the migrants have died out. Migrant groups maintain a strong ethnic consciousness through shared habits, material culture, memories, and language; they often synthesize a sense of collective identity and construct a common cultural discourse.

Our approach

A fundamental element of the Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain programme has been its interdisciplinarity. The programme was driven by six concurrent interdisciplinary projects, and the dialogue generated by a multidisciplinary seminar on theory, methodology, evidence and interpretation.

Each project used evidence and ideas from more than one specialism to ask new questions of the evidence and to develop new methodological approaches to the study of the impact of deep‐time diasporas in ways not previously achieved in the scholarly and popular literature.

Cross‐disciplinary collaboration and communication was structurally embedded, to encourage new ways of thinking about old evidence and to interrogate old assumptions in the light of new data.

Name Title  Department  Email 
 Professor Joanna Story   Principal Investigator   School of History 
 Dr Pragya Vohra  Project Manager  School of History 
 Professor Steve Brown  Co-Investigator  School of Management 
 Dr Jayne Carroll  Co-Investigator   School of English Studies, University of Nottingham 
 Professor Simon James  Co-Investigator   School of Ancient History and Archaeology
 Professor Mark Jobling  Co-Investigator  Department of Genetics
 Dr Richard Jones  Co-Investigator  Centre for Regional and Local History, School of Historical Studies
 Dr Philip Shaw  Co-Investigator  School of English
 Dr Turi King  Research Fellow  Department of Genetics

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