Staff profile

Dr Tom Neuhaus

Head of the Discipline of Humanities

Thomas Neuhaus speaking to colleagues at an event




College of Arts, Humanities and Education



Research centre

Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



As Head of the Discipline of Humanities, I am responsible for managing programmes in History, English, Creative and Professional Writing, Publishing, American Studies, and Popular Music in Society. Before coming to Derby in 2010, I researched and taught History at the University of Cambridge, the German Historical Institute London, and the Global Policy Institute.

My main interests are in the history of Britain’s and Western Europe’s relationship with other parts of the world, particular East and Southeast Asia. Keen on exploring links between history, memory, politics and international relations, my teaching and research focus on issues of globalization and imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in History, including the MA Public History and Heritage, covering modern international history. Modules I teach on cover topics such as China's relationship with the rest of the world, globalisation and the legacies of imperialism, and current debates in global heritage. I also supervise dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Professional interests

During my time at Derby I have developed an interest in forging closer links with organisations in the creative and cultural industries, and particularly in the heritage sector, both in Britain and internationally. I am keen to build opportunities and enable our students to collaborate with organisations in order to lead specific projects and deal with the challenges facing the heritage sector.

Research interests

My research predominantly focuses on European encounters with East and Southeast Asia. In the past I have explored European attitudes towards Tibet and the Himalayas between the mid-nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century, and my book Tibet in the Western Imagination was published in 2012.

Following on from this, I am interested in the history of European imperialism, and particularly in the history of capital punishment in European colonies. I am currently conducting research on capital punishment in Britain’s remaining colonial territories in the second half of the twentieth century.

I am also interested in the history of Western attitudes towards China’s political system and the question whether China will become a democratic state.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Experience in industry

Research posts

International experience

I co-ordinate our Humanities student exchange programmes with institutions in the United States and Canada, which are a great opportunity for our students to spend some time studying abroad, and I am always keen to establish new links and opportunities. 

In the media

I was a 'talking head' for 'Raiders of the Lost Past', aired on UKTV Yesterday / Discovery Channel (2013), talking about the 1938/9 German expedition to Tibet.

Recent publications


Journal Articles

Chapters in Edited Collections

A halloween picture with candles and pumpkins

Thomas Neuhaus, discusses the history of Halloween and where traditions originated from and how it has developed over the years.