Preston Arens

Sessional Instructor


Preston ArensPreston Arens completed his PhD in History at the University of Waterloo. Preston has broad research interests that focus on forging connections between local and global histories. His most recent work on the history of the Commonwealth demonstrated how the management of meetings and other secretarial services affected the long-term evolution of the organisation. Exploring the connections between day to day administration and how international organisations function offers a window into how individual actions, policies, and interactions affect international politics, relations, and cooperation.

Following his interest in connecting local and global histories, Preston is currently working on a biographical project that situates the personal experiences of Lady Sarah Archer Amherst (1762–1838) within the wider history of the British Empire in India. In his teaching, Preston also draws on his experiences as a museum curatorial assistant and as an archaeological field technician to draw connections between everyday objects and the past.


  • Ph.D. University of Waterloo
  • M.A. University of Waterloo
  • B.A. Thompson Rivers University

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Commonwealth History
  • The History of International Organisations and Relations
  • British Empire
  • Imperialism in the 19th and 20th Centuries
  • Global History
  • Biographical History
  • Material Culture
  • Local History and Heritage Preservation

Courses Taught

  • HIST 206: The Victorian Age
  • HIST 268: A Global History of Empires
  • HIST 312: The First World War
  • HIST 369: The Politics of Decolonization


  • Arens, Preston, “’Strictly Non-committal’: British Economic Policy and the Commonwealth.” Round Table Vol. 107 (5) (October 2018): pp 571-583, doi: 10.1080/00358533.2018.1527507.        
  • Arens, Preston. “Canada: Archives.” Archival Guide published on the United Nations History Project website. First published 2017. Last Modified January 15, 2019.

Selected Honours and Awards

  • Peter Lyon Prize, from  Routledge and the Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 2019
  • Tri-University Graduate Program in History Doctoral Essay Prize, 2019
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2017, 2018
  • University of Waterloo SSHRC Graduate Scholarship, 2016
  • University of Waterloo Provost Graduate Scholarship, 2015, 2016                                                                                                                        
University of Waterloo
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