I joined the History Department at Sheffield in September 2006. Before this I read history at Merton College, Oxford, and stayed there to study for my D.Phil. In 2002 I took up a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Contemporary British History (CCBH), Institute of Historical Research, University of London. I remained at the CCBH to hold a three-year British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.
My main research interests are in the political, social and cultural history of twentieth-century Britain. I have worked extensively on the national popular press in the decades after 1918, examining the ways in which newspapers both reflected and shaped attitudes to gender, sexuality and class. My first monograph explored press debates about femininity and masculinity in the inter-war period. My second book, Family Newspapers? Sex, Private Life and the British Popular Press 1918-1978, explored the role of the press as a source of information and imagery about sex, morality and personal relationships. I am also interested in the history of press regulation, and conducted a project examining the Calcutt Report of 1990 and the establishment of the Press Complaints Commission.
Beyond my work on the press, I am interested in popular attitudes to politics; cultural hierarchies, particularly the category of the ‘middlebrow’; the circulation of knowledge about sex; and the social and cultural changes in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s.
- Family Newspapers? Sex, Private Life and the British Popular Press 1918-1978 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)
- Gender, Modernity, and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)
- ‘Enfranchisement, Feminism and the Modern Woman: Debates in the British Popular Press, 1918-1939’, in The Aftermath of Suffrage (2013), eds. J. Gottlieb and R. Toye.
- ‘Representing the people? The Daily Mirror, class, and political culture in inter-war Britain’, in Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation-building in Britain between the Wars (2012), eds. Laura Beers and Geraint Thomas.
- ‘”Putting literature out of reach”? Reading popular newspapers in mid-twentieth century Britain’, in The History of Reading, Vol.2: Evidence from the British Isles, c.1750-1950 (2011), eds. Katie Halsey and W.R.Owens.
- ‘“The Monster”? The British Popular Press and Nuclear Culture, 1945-early 1960s‘, British Journal of the History of Science (Dec 2012).
- ‘Ignoring the first draft of history? Searching for the press in studies of twentieth-century Britain‘, Media History, 18/3-4 (2012), pp.311-326.