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.