Senior lecturer Mark Rothery writes about his recent interactions with the media, and what that means for historical research. Mark also discussed some of these themes on TALKRadio –select the 4:30-5:00 clip and go to three minutes in.
On 4th February this year the new Times Online history correspondent published an article called ‘Snowflakes are not only a Modern Phenomenon’ (I won’t give this copy by including a link). This article, and the several others that followed, were based on my research with Professor Henry French, at the University of Exeter, into the male anxieties of younger sons of the landed gentry in eighteenth and nineteenth century England published in The Historical Journal last year.
It is flattering when people outside the academy are interested in your research. This particular topic of anxiety is, of course, the focus of public attention at the moment. Lots more people are talking about it and, perhaps, suffering from it than previously. I’ve commented elsewhere on this blogspace about the subject.
The trouble with this kind of dissemination, though, is the politicisation of interpretation. If you read our article (which I hope you will) you’ll see that we never used the term ‘Snowflakes’ and we certainly do not support the use of this term in reference to our research.
Last night the University of Northampton hosted the 2020 Diamond Research Awards. These awards celebrate the research that is undertaken at the University of Northampton, the staff that make it happen, and the staff who supervise, develop and encourage our new up and coming researchers.
We were absolutely delighted that our Senior Lecturer in History, Dr Paul Jackson, won the prestigious Research Impact award. Paul gives us this insight into his research and why it matters:
My research into the history of the far right has been underpinned by the Searchlight Archive, which is based at the University of Northampton. The archive itself is a trove of material related to the far right, past and present, and a number of students have used it for dissertations and PhD projects. My research over the past few years has been to use this unique collection to create peer reviewed articles, chapters and books, and also to develop ‘impact’. Research outputs have included a biography of a leading British neo-Nazi, Colin Jordan, and an article examining the World Union of National Socialists, a 1960s era transnational network active in Britain and Europe, the USA and Australia. Some of my impact activities have included running CPD workshops for people who tackle the far right in professional contexts, such as police officers, hate crime workers and teachers. It has also included working with government agencies and think tanks to help develop a better understanding of the nature of the far right today. I also talk to the media on a regular basis. As a historian working in this area, I often can bring a sense of historical context that analysts from other areas find helpful.
Paul contributes regularly to the mainstream media, for instance in this piece on Donald Trump for The Guardian, and his most recent academic publication is this article on the World Union of National Socialists. He is the author of Colin Jordan and Britain’s Neo-Nazi Movement (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).
University of Northampton PhD student Kerry Love shares her top tips for successful studying.
It might not feel like it, but I’ve been studying for 6 years now and in the process have developed some fairly useful habits. As a former serial procrastinator who would turn her nose up at the idea of planning a piece before writing, I have faith that with some practice and encouragement even the most disorganized person can become a little more efficient. We live in a world obsessed hyper-productivity and competing over who works the most on the least sleep. Talking about efficiency and productivity stirs up the same kind of discussion, therefore I think it’s really important to schedule in time for all aspects of your life. I’ve worked and studied at the same time for most of my academic career so have certainly fell victim to working too much, but when I learnt to manage my time properly I found that I was more than capable of doing both and staying sane. Whether you’re an undergraduate, postgraduate, or anyone else balancing life- I hope you find these useful!