Shohei Sato is a historian of the British Empire and the modern Middle East. He completed his doctoral degree at the University of Oxford and now teaches as Associate Professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. His first book, titled Britain and the Formation of the Gulf States: Embers of Empire was published by Manchester University Press in 2016 and the paperback edition in 2017.
His current research project examines how Britain handled the end of empire with a particular focus on its treatment of sensitive records. Recently discovered sources reveal that as the British Empire was unravelling in the mid-twentieth century, Britain ordered the concealment and destruction of many colonial records around the world. Ironically, this policy was code-named “Operation Legacy”. A close examination of this phenomenon sheds light on how Britain attempted to tailor the historical understanding of its past at the critical juncture of imperial retreat. This project is leading to a monograph that will reconstruct, in unusual detail, the act of imperial obfuscation, which is relevant to an understanding of many empires and societies across the globe.