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Dr Alison Carrol
Senior Lecturer, Politics And History

Marie Jahoda 215


I am a historian of Modern Europe, and I have worked on various dimensions of the history of borders, borderlands, nationhood and the centre-periphery relationship in modern France. Before joining Brunel in 2011 I was Junior Research Fellow at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge (2008-2010) and Lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London (2010-2011).  In 2010 I was awarded the Etienne Baluze Prize in European Regional History, and in 2016 I was Visiting Fellow at the Institute for European Global Studies, University of Basel. In 2018-9 I am co-leader of the research cluster 'Crossing Borders: Heritage, Identity and Belonging' within the Centre for Global Lives.

My first book, The Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939, asks what happened when the region of Alsace returned to France after almost fifty years of annexation into the German Empire: How did France attempt to make this German-speaking region French? How did the Alsatian popoulation see themselves? What did return mean for the region? I argue that return was not completed when French troops entered the region in 1918,  or indeed when return was ratified by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Rather I view return as a process that evolved over the following two decades, and involved a range of actors inside and outside Alsace. In order to investigate the meaning of return, I used the border as a category of analysis, and analysed the ways in which return was shaped and driven by the national boundary between France and Germany, which also divided Alsace from Germany. 

My work on Alsace led me to to develop an interest in bordering processes, and this led to my new research project on the long history of the Channel Tunnel. The starting point of this project is the contradiction that lies at the heart of borders, on the one hand they represent powerful symbols of national identity and historical continuity, yet on the other they are neither eternal nor constant. Instead they have been imagined and reimagined in a variety of ways, and have functioned differently across time periods and political regimes- and my new research project traces uses a case study of the Channel Tunnel to think about where our ideas about borders come from. I will trace this history from the first proposal for a tunnel in 1802 to its opening in 1994. 


  • PhD in History
  • MA in European History
  • BA (Hons) in History with European Study


Director for PGR Students in Politics and History and in the Department of Social and Political Sciences

Newest selected publications

Carrol, A. (2019) 'Paths to Frenchness. National Indifference and the Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939', in van Ginderachter, M. and Fox, J. (eds.) National indifference and the History of Nationalism in Modern Europe. Routledge. ISBN 10: 1138503487.

Book chapter

Carrol, A. (2018) 'The Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939'. OXFORD: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. ISSN 10: 0198803915 ISSN 13: 978-0198803911


Carrol, A. (2014) ''The 1924 Strasbourg Colonial Exhibition.'', in Whalen, P. and Young, P. (eds.) 'Place and Locality in Modern France.'. Bloomsbury.

Book chapter

Carrol, A. (2014) 'Recent Work on Regions and Borders in French History: A Review'. French History, 28 (2). pp. 241 - 246.

Journal article

Broch, L. and Carrol, A. (2014) 'France in an Era of Global War, 1914-1945: Occupation, Politics, Empire and Entanglements'. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISSN 13: 9781137443489

More publications(12)