Programme: Rethinking Modern British Studies

We are excited to announce the provisional programme for Rethinking Modern British Studies to be held between 1-3 July.

Registration is now open via the University shop.  Registration (free for ECRs on temporary or part-time contracts/postgraduates/unwaged and £15 per day otherwise) will remain open until 30 May. Please be aware that we have a limited number of spaces.

UPDATE: We are amazed and delighted about the interest in the Conference. To make room for students/unwages we increased the number free to PGs/Unwaged to over 100 spaces. Unfortunately, these have now been filled. Delegates can still register at conference or day rates.

Information about travel, accommodation and accessibility is also available.

Download our Final Programme and Timetable or view panel abstracts below.


9:30 – 12:30 pm – Postgraduate Workshop, details TBC

1 – 2 pm – Plenary 1

James Vernon, “What, where and when is the history of modern Britain?”

2 – 3:30 pm – Panel session 1

Interrogating British Boundaries

Speakers: Chloe Ward, Liam Byrne, Lauren Piko

Chair: Chris Hill

After Modernism: The Politics of Urban Renewal Since the 1970s

Speakers: Otto Saumarez Smith, Adam Page, Simon Gunn

Chair: Erika Hanna

Co-operation and Economic Democracy

Speakers: Donna Loftus, Nicole Robertson, Peter Gurney

Chair: Matthew Francis

Making Democratic People: Psychology, Politics, and Private Life after 1945

Speakers: Teri Chettiar, Rhodri Hayward, Michal Shapira

Chair: Mathew Thomson

3:30 – 4 pm – Break

4 – 5:30 pm – Panel Session 2

Imperial Trajectories: Britain’s Entanglement with the World

Speaker: Tehila Sasson, Aimee M. Genell, Radhika Natarajan

Chair: Kevin O’Sullivan

Cultures of Worship: Democracy, Royalty and Celebrity in Inter-War Britain

Speakers: Ed Owens, Frank Mort, Max Jones

Chair: Christine Grandy

Expertise, bureaucracy and the body: dilemmas of empowerment in post-war British governance

Speakers: Gayle Davis, Gareth Millward, Glen O’Hara

Chair: Tom Crook

Religion and Subjectivity in Modern Britain

Speakers: Harry Cocks, Sam Brewitt-Taylor, Laura Ramsay

Chair: James Vernon

5:30 – 6 pm – Break

6 pm – “What Produces Democracy? Revolutionary Crises, Popular Politics, and Democratic Gains in Twentieth Century Europe”

Vice Chancellor’s Lecture by the The Institute of Advanced Studies Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Geoff Eley


9 – 10 am – Plenary 2

Seth Koven, “Economies of Conscience in Early 20th Century Britain”

10 – 11:30 am – Panel Session 3

Ties that Bind: Refashioning Community and Responsibility for a Changing World

Speakers: Caroline Shaw, Christienna Fryar, Emily Baughan

Chair: Richard Huzzey

Humour and Comedy in Modern British Studies

Speakers: Gavin Schaffer, Peter Bailey, Lucy Delap

Chair: Julie-Marie Strange

Class and Gender in Post-war Social Science

Speakers: Helen McCarthy, Lise Butler, Jon Lawrence

Chair: Deborah Cohen

It’s different up here: Region, locality, and place in 20th Century British History

Speakers: Christine Grandy, Helen Smith, James Greenhalgh

Chair: Laura King

11:30 – 12 pm – Break

12 – 1 pm – Plenary 3

Stephen Brooke, “Spaces, Bodies and Emotions: The Everyday Culture of Democracy in 1980s London”

1 – 2 pm – Lunch

2 – 3:30 pm – Panel Session 4

Humanitarianism in Modern Britain: from Imperial Burdens to the Aid Industry

Speakers: Andrew Jones, Charlotte Lydia Riley, Anna Bocking-Welch

Chair: Matthew Hilton

Creative History: a dangerous undertaking

Speakers: Alison Twells, Matt Houlbrook, Helen Rogers

Chair: Charlotte Greenhalgh

Post-war Britain: from social democracy to neoliberalism?

Speakers: Aled Davies, Ben Jackson, Peter Sloman

Chair: Hugh Pemberton

Beyond Fatherhood: Histories of masculinity and the family in the 19th and 20th centuries

Speakers: Laura King, Jessica Meyer, Julie-Marie Strange

Chair: Helen Smith

3:30 – 4 pm – Break

4 – 5:30 pm – Panel Session 5

Destitution and its Discontents

Speakers: Raminder Saini, Hilary Buxton, Sarah Mass

Chair: Julia Laite

Bringing Subcultures Back

Speakers: Lucy Robinson, Keith Gildart, Matthew Worley, Chris Warne

Chair: Ben Jones

Visualising British Public Health

Speakers: Amanda Sciampacone, Alex Mold, Hannah Elizabeth

Chairs: Jonathan Reinarz and Vanessa Heggie

The history of emotions in modern Britain

Speakers: Charlotte Greenhalgh, Martin Francis, Celia Hughes

Chair: Claire Langhamer

5:30 – 5:45 pm – Break

5:45 – 6:45 pm – Plenary 4

Catherine Hall, ‘Slavery and Freedom re-visited: or What is a Man?’


9 – 10 am – Plenary 5

Deborah Cohen, “Love and Money in the Informal Empire”

10 – 11:30 am – Panel Session 6

Technologies of Rule between Colony and Metropole

Speakers: Erik Linstrum, Mircea Raianu, Toby Harper

Chair: David Edgerton

The 1970s and the Stories we Tell

Speakers: Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Nathalie Tomlinson, Camilla Schofield, Emily Robinson

Rethinking Right-Wing Women: Women’s Political Engagement and Leadership in Conservative Politics, 1930s-1950s

Speakers: Julie V. Gottlieb, Clarisse Berthezène, Krista Cowman

Chair: Laura Beers

Economic Life in the British Past and How its History Can Help Us Rethink Modern British History

Speakers: Desmond Fitz-Gibbon, Penelope Ismay, Maura O’Connor, Nick Valvo

Chair: James Vernon

11:30 – 12 pm – Break

12 – 1:30 pm – Panel Session 7

Money, Belief and Politics in Modern British Studies

Speakers: Julie-Marie Strange, Thomas Scriven, Sarah Roddy, Bertrand Taithe

Chair: Matthew Hilton

Expanding on the Eighties

Speakers: Amy Edwards, Daisy Payling, Sam Wetherell

Chair: Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite

The Economy of Freedom: Consumption and Self-government in Mid Twentieth-Century Britain

Speakers: Eloise Moss, Simeon Koole, Ashley Wilkinson

Chair: Chris Moores

Public Opinion, Polling and Cultural and Religious Change in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Britain

Speakers: Marcus Collins, Clive D. Field, Ben Clements

Chair: Laura Beers

1:30 – 2:30 pm – Lunch

2:30 – 4:00 pm – Panel Session 8

Roundtable: Future Histories of Race

Speakers: Sadiah Qureshi, David Feldman, Caroline Bressey, Tony Kushner, Doreen Foster, Hannah Ishmael, Rob Waters, Camilla Schofield, Radhika Natarajan, Gavin Schaffer

Rethinking the Postwar City

Speakers: Samantha Caslin, Kieran Connell, Sean O’Connell

Chair: Stephen Brooke

The political history blues (or whatever happened to Political History)?

Speakers: Kit Kowol, Laura Beers, David Ellis

Chair: Lawrence Black

‘Sex and Common Sense’: Secularization and ‘Modern’ Sexual Subjectivities in Evolution

Speakers: Alana Harris, Sue Morgan, Timothy W. Jones

Chair: Lucy Delap

4:00 – 4:15 pm – Break

4:15 – 5:30 pm – Plenary Roundtable: New Directions in MBS

5 thoughts on “Programme: Rethinking Modern British Studies

  1. This looks like an interesting and relevant programme of discussion throughout the conference. I wonder if the role of the mass media will be recognised in any of the sessions?

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