BiographyI am currently Reader in International Politics in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales, where I have worked since 2002. There are two main strands to my research interests. On the one hand, I am an historian of twentieth century international relations, with particular interests in the inter-war years and the Second World War and in issues of theory, historiography and methodology in international history. I have become a recognised authority in the field of ‘culturalist’ international history and I am publishing a guest co-edited theme issue of the International History Review early in 2018 on ‘Debating the Cultural Turn’. On the other hand, I am a specialist in ‘collective memory’, especially in relation to the Second World War. These two strands came together in my 2010 monograph - Remembering the Road to World War Two - which offered a reading of the historiographies of the origins of the Second World War as discourses of national identity and collective memory. I am currently completing a monograph entitled How the Second World War Still Shapes Our Lives for Oxford University Press, a panoramic, transnational, global history of the collective memory of the Second World War since the end of the Cold War.
Concurrently, I am developing a new project exploring issues of 'authenticity' and affect in contemporary cultural memory of the Second World War. I have been building an international collaborative network to develop this project, not least through work on preliminary edited collections which including a recently-published edited book Remembering the Second World War for the Routledge series 'Remembering the Modern World' and a guest edited theme issue of the journal Rethinking History on ‘Authenticity’ which was published in the first half of 2017.
I am very active in numerous professional organisations and networks. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and am also currently Vice-Chair of the British International History Group and will be serving as its Chair from September 2017. I have also recently become editor of Rethinking History and will be implementing ambitious plans to reinvigorate the journal and to raise its profile in order to secure its position as the premier interdisciplinary journal for thinking otherwise about the past.
My teaching interests include Second World War collective memory, the League of Nations and the inter-war years, the Cold War and cultural approaches to international history; I also have a long track record of PhD supervision. I have undertaken significant leadership roles within my Department and institution, and I am currently Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Institute of Geography, History, Politics and Psychology. I have received research funding from numerous bodies including the AHRC and the British Academy; in 2012-2013 I was a visiting scholar at St Peter's College, Oxford.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
I am a committed family man with three young children who consume a vast amount of energy and time. Fortunately, Aberystwyth - with its beaches, forests and hills - offers a fantastic environment in which to raise children and we are able to live a very outdoorsy life. Otherwise, my main passion in life is running, which I took up only quite recently but which I have found to be invaluable for maintaining physical health and mental well-being. I am a proud member of the Aberystwyth Athletics Club. For relaxation otherwise, I enjoy reading modern fiction and following Arsenal Football Club - though the pleasure derived from the latter has been steadily diminishing in recent years.