Dr Maximilian Drephal

Lecturer in History

+44 (0)1473 338554
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Maximilian Drephal ORCID
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Maximilian Drephal is a historian of empire. He has particular interests in the international history of modern Afghanistan and colonial South Asia as well as inclinations toward the study of the colonial foundations of the modern world and their legacies in the present day. He has expertise in postcolonial and decolonial methods, which he explores through many themes, including inequality and diplomacy, sovereignty and independence, modernity and coloniality, violence and peace, knowledge-making and pedagogy. Max also pursues the global history of Suffolk.


He holds a PhD in History from Loughborough University and an MA in History and English from the Freie Universität Berlin. He was Erasmus student at the University of Manchester.

At the University of Suffolk, Max’ teaching comprises colonial and imperial, international and global history from 1500 to the present day. He teaches “Encounters, Exchange and the Making of Colonial Worlds, ca. 1492-1800” in first year, “Empire: From 1600 to the Present” in second, and “Genocide in History and Memory” in third. At MA level, he teaches “Decolonisation” and “Modern Violence”. Max is interested in supervising projects with a bearing on imperial and colonial history, at large and at home, in the past and to present. 

Before coming to Suffolk, Max taught at Loughborough University and the University of Sheffield in UK as well as the University of Potsdam in Germany. He has delivered global history classes on the Cold War, on “1919 and the Remaking of the World” as well as on “Afghanistan: From the ‘Great Game’ to the ‘War on Terror’” (amongst others). He is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Max’ work is transdisciplinary, connecting the local and global, cutting across (post/de)colonial and imperial, diplomatic, political and international remits, with forays into gender, body and medical histories as well as the histories of ideas and knowledge.

His book, Afghanistan and the Coloniality of Diplomacy: The British Legation in Kabul, 1922-1948, was published in 2019 in Palgrave Macmillan’s Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series. It is a study of the British Legation in Kabul, captures diplomacy as a form of imperial rule and explores the colonial origins of Anglo-Afghan diplomatic relations between 1919 and 1947.

He is currently working on several projects relating to, respectively, peace and conflict studies, international conflict management as well as the imperial dimensions of medicine.

Max is peer-reviewer of book manuscripts and journal articles.



Selected publications (see ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2463-0811 for full listing)

Afghanistan and the Coloniality of Diplomacy: The British Legation in Kabul, 1922-1948, Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019): https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-23960-2

“Corps Diplomatique: The Body, British Diplomacy, and Independent Afghanistan, 1922–47”, Modern Asian Studies 51, no. 4 (July 2017): 956–90: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X16000111

“Contesting Independence: Colonial Cultures of Sport and Diplomacy in Afghanistan, 1919-1949”, Simon J. Rofe (ed.), Sport and Diplomacy: Games Within Games, Key Studies in Diplomacy (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018): https://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526131058/

“Afghan Independence and the Violence of Imperial Peace”, History Matters, 2019: http://www.historymatters.group.shef.ac.uk/afghan-independence-violence-imperial-peace/

“Feroz, Emran: Der längste Krieg. 20 Jahre War on Terror, 224 S., Westend, Frankfurt a. M. 2021”. Neue Politische Literatur 67 (2022): 338-340: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42520-022-00451-w.

“Poppies, Politics, and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy. By James Tharin Bradford. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019. Xii + 281 Pp. Illustrations. Paperback, $30.95. ISBN: 978-1-5017-3976-7”. Business History Review 95, no. 3 (2021): 596–99. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007680521000507.

Imagining Afghanistan: The History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge, by Nivi Manchanda”, E-IR, 2020: https://www.e-ir.info/2020/12/23/review-imagining-afghanistan-the-history-and-politics-of-imperial-knowledge/

Member, Royal Historical Society

Fellow, Higher Education Academy