Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Oxford
Website URL
First World War, memory, material culture, memorials, cemeteries, identity, death, mourning
Additional Contact Information
My PhD is still in progress - completion 2019

Personal Info

About Me

My PhD research (2015-19) examines how Imperial War Graves Commission sites represented, reinforced, and performed different aspects of identity for South Africa, India, Canada, & Australia in France and Belgium between 1918-1938. With a material-culture-centred approach that utilizes memorials and cemeteries as primary sources, this project lies at the intersection of research on the social history of war remembrance, imperial history, the First World War, collective memory, grief & mourning, and material culture theory. Of particular interest are the relationships between collective/individual and ‘national’/’imperial’ identities, and the spatial & conceptual relationships between memorial, cemetery, landscape, and the dead. Case study sites include Neuve Chapelle, Vimy, Delville Wood, Villers-Bretonneux, Thiepval, and Menin Gate.


I am one of ten DPhil students in the Globalising and Localising the Great War research network (, and am co-convenor of its seminar series for the 2017-2018 academic year. In 2017-18 I am also leading the Global War Graves Leicester project ( and am Graduate Projects Coordinator for TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities), a role which involves organizing TORCH’s Public Engagement with Research summer school.


I hold Exeter College’s Winston S. Churchill tuition scholarship 2015-2018, and for 2018-19 am a University of Oxford Beit Scholar in Global & Imperial history. My prior degrees are in Museum Studies (MA, University of Leicester 2015) and Classical Archaeology & History (BA, University of British Columbia 2014).

Recent Publications

Louis Halewood, Adam Luptak, and Hanna Smyth (eds.) War Time: First World War Perspectives on Temporality. Routledge, July 2018.


Smyth, Hanna. “The First World War In Stone & Colour: Memorialisation of People of Colour.” In Philippe Tortell (ed), Memory (University of British Columbia Press), 2,000 words, forthcoming November 2018.

Smyth, Hanna. “The Material Culture of Remembrance and Identity: South Africa, India, Canada, & Australia’s Imperial War Graves Commission Sites on the Western Front.” In Anorthe Kremers (ed), The Long End of the First World War (Chicago: Chicago University Press), 3,000 words, forthcoming 2018.

Smyth, Hanna. “‘There is absolutely nothing like the carving of names’: Imperial War Graves Commission Sites and First World War Memory.” In Derek Mallett (ed), Monumental Conflicts? Twentieth Century Wars and the Evolution of Popular Memory (Routledge), 2017.

Smyth, Hanna. “Identity and Memory at WWI British Imperial Memorials on the Western Front.” In K. Pearl and F. Jacob (eds), Remember the Dead, Remind the Survivors, Warn the Descendants: War Memorials from a Global Perspective (Schöningh, War (Hi)Stories series), 10,000 words, forthcoming 2018.

Alastair Fraser, Julie Biddlecombe Browne, Hanna Smyth, et al. Exhibition Guide: ‘Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front’. [Major museum exhibition at Palace Green Library, March-October 2016]. (Durham, 40 pages).

Smyth, Hanna. “Review: And We Go On by Will R. Bird [2014].” British Journal of Canadian Studies 29:1 (2016), 114-115.

Smyth, Hanna. “Mourning, Memory and Material Culture: Colonial Commemoration of the Missing on the Great War’s Western Front.” World History Bulletin 31:1 [Special Issue: Empires and the Great War] (2015), 34-40.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
South Africa, Canada, India, Australia
Expertise by Geography
Australia, India, North America, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Art & Architectural History, Colonialism, Material Culture, Museums, World War I