Dr Erika Hanna

BA(Bristol), MA(Bristol), PhD(Oxon.)

  • BS8 1TB


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a social historian with research interests in photography, Irish history, and urban history.

My current research project uses photography to offer a reconsideration of the history of Ireland since partition. The twentieth century has left in its wake an enormous quantity of photographic sources, from family albums, to studio portraits, to images of conflict. Historians have often taken these ephemeral documents for granted—using them merely to illustrate stories compiled and narrated through text. This book considers what happens when we take them seriously. Through examining a wide corpus of photographic materials and practices, from photograph albums, to studio portraits, community photography, and documentary photography, I examine how ordinary Irish people used photography in order to make sense of their lives and contest authority and injustice, and explore what using photographs can tell us about the nature of social history. A book on this topic, entitled Snapshot Stories: Visuality, Photography and the Social History of Ireland, 1922-2000 is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. 

My first book, Modern Dublin: Urban Change and the Irish Past, 1957-73 (Oxford University Press, 2013), focused on the evolution of the built form of Dublin during the 1960s. It examined how speculators and local government planned to reconstruct the city, how these changes were contested by individuals and civil society, and the city that emerged at the nexus of these competing interests. I have continued to work on the history of cities, with a particular interest in the landscapes of urban decline in the latter part of the twentieth century. This has included studies of urban folklore, cycling, and dereliction.

I joined Bristol as Lecturer in History in 2015. Prior to this I was Chancellor's Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh (2013-15) and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester (2011-13). I am on the committee of the Urban History Group, the social media editor of Urban History, and the executive committee of the British Association of Irish Studies. 



I currently teach two third year LRUs. ‘Europe: A Fractal History, 1945-89’, tries to make sense of the complex stories of social, cultural, political and economic change across Europe in the years between the Second World War and the end of the Cold War, while ‘London, New York, Tokyo: A Comparative Urban History’ explores similarities and differences between these ‘global’ metropolises in the modern period, examining themes such as gentrification, the birth of the skyscraper, urban sanitation, heritage, and the creation of urban transport systems. I also teach a third year special topic entitled ‘Documentary, Society, and Conflict in Modern Ireland’ which considers how we can use visual culture to explore themes of access to truth, power, and the nature of society in modern Ireland, and builds directly on my current research project. 

Research Supervision

I currently co-supervise an M.Phil student working on Bristol’s transport system in the post-war period. I would be happy to supervise postgraduates who are interested in working on Irish history, visual culture, or urban history. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss ideas. 

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Research Output

Creative Dislocation: an Experiment in Collaborative Historical Research

Pooley, W. G., McLellan, J., Hanna, E., Dudley, M., Cole, T., Williamson, B. & Bickers, R., 20 Sep 2020, In : History Workshop Journal. 90, p. 1-25

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Snapshot Stories: Visuality, Photography, and the Social History of Ireland, 1922-2000

    Hanna, E., 1 Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) Oxford University Press.

    Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book


    New Directions in Irish History conference, Teeside University

    Erika Hanna (Participant)

    24 Feb 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

    Bicycle Studies Network

    Erika Hanna (Participant)

    May 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Modern Irish History seminar, University of Edinburgh

    Erika Hanna (Participant)

    20 Jan 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk