News and recent publications
The History department has a thriving research culture. Faculty publish world-leading and internationally recognised research with some of the globe's most prestigious academic presses and publishing firms.
Publications by our historians
Cinematic Terror: A Global History of Terrorism on Film
Written by Tony Shaw
Cinematic Terror takes a uniquely long view of filmmakers' depiction of terrorism, examining how cinema has been a site of intense conflict between paramilitaries, state authorities and censors for well over a century. In the process, it takes us on a journey from the first Age of Terror that helped trigger World War One to the Global War on Terror that divides countries and families today.
Tony Shaw looks beyond Hollywood to pinpoint important trends in the ways that film industries across Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East have defined terrorism down the decades. Drawing on a studio archives, government documentation, personal interviews and box office records, Shaw examines the mechanics of cinematic terrorism and challenges assumptions about the links between political violence and propaganda. –
“Terrorism is central to the international politics of our age. The mass media are central to terrorism. Given these two facts it is surprising that scholars have failed to delve deep into the treatment of terrorism by the most potent mass media of the past century: the cinema. Until now, that is. In this path-breaking book Tony Shaw opens the history of the representation of terrorism in global feature film. Shaw moves deftly across time, geographical space and genre with a series of well-chosen and flawlessly executed case studies. The films considered range from masterpieces by some of the greatest directors of all time, including Alfred Hitchcock himself, to crude exploitation flicks by way of blockbusters, epics, art house and even Bollywood. With meticulous research, unfailing insight and scrupulous balance and objectivity Shaw is an eloquent and insightful guide to this important subject. Seasoned scholars, students of film and security issues and general readers alike will find much to compel attention and provoke further thought in this important book.”
- Nicholas J. Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, USA.
Find out more about Cinematic Terror: A Global History of Terrorism on Film.
A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-1978
Written by Ciara Meehan
Fine Gael’s demise has been periodically predicted since 1933. Yet it has survived, becoming the largest party in the state after the 2011 general election. Drawing on interviews with key players and previously unused archival sources, this book offers a fascinating account of a critical period in Fine Gael’s history when the party was challenged to define its place in Irish politics. The central role played by Declan Costello is disclosed for the first time. Although he was never party leader, his Just Society proposals transformed Fine Gael by encouraging a new generation of socially-minded politicians, while his agenda for change paved the way for Garret FitzGerald. Exploring the continuities and discontinuities between Costello’s Just Society and FitzGerald’s Constitutional Crusade, the book documents how the internal debate shaped the party and provides an insight into the origins of an identity crisis with which Fine Gael continues to struggle. It also offers a commentary on Irish society, and explores the difficulties faced by an older generation as it sought to locate itself in a changing Ireland.
"Not only is it a meticulously crafted source for the historian, it also provides a wealth of detailed evidence for those interested in politics to develop their understanding of some of the fundamental traits of Irish politics"
- Maria Adshead, Irish Literary Supplement.
Find our more about A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-1978
American Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem
Written by Owen Davies.
America Bewitched is the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day.
The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its colonial past, its victims now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new, long, and chilling chapter was about to begin.
Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of the story of the decimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yet the history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a less traumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs.
This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinating window on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.
"Owen Davies tells a fascinating tale that has never been told before with all the skills of a true craftsman. Its sheer breadth of coverage amazes from the start."
- Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft.
"An extraordinary achievement... I was frankly staggered at the range of Davies's research."
- Professor H. C. Erik Midelfort, University of Virginia
Find out more about American Bewitched: the Story of Witchcraft after Salem
Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848
This book, published by Manchester University Press, is a wide-ranging survey of the rise of mass movements for democracy and workers' rights in northern England from 1789 to 1848. It is a provocative narrative of the closing down of public space and dispossession from place. It offers historical parallels for contemporary debates about protests in public space and democracy and anti-globalisation movements. In response to fears of revolution from 1789 to 1848, the British government and local authorities prohibited mass working-class political meetings and societies. Protesters faced the privatisation of public space. The 'Peterloo Massacre' of 1819 marked a turning point. Radicals, trade unions and the Chartists fought back by challenging their exclusion from public spaces, creating their own sites and eventually constructing their own buildings or emigrating to America. New evidence of protest in rural areas of northern England, including rural Luddism, is also uncovered.
...a well-written and thoroughly researched addition to the scholarship on historical protest. Katrina Navickas makes a strong case for the significance of space and place to the historical study of protest, and the book will, therefore, be of value to any historian, geographer, or social scientist interested in protest and political movements.' Hannah Awcock, Journal of Historical Geography, May 2016.
Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England
Written by Jennifer Evans
It was common knowledge in early modern England that sexual desire was malleable, and could be increased or decreased by a range of foods - including artichokes, oysters and parsnips. This book argues that these aphrodisiacs were used not simply for sexual pleasure, but, more importantly, to enhance fertility and reproductive success; and that at that time sexual desire and pleasure were felt to be far more intimately connected to conception and fertility than is the case today. It draws on a range of sources to show how, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, aphrodisiacs were recommended for the treatment of infertility, and how men and women utilised them to regulate their fertility. Via themes such as gender, witchcraft and domestic medical practice, the book shows that aphrodisiacs were more than just sexual curiosities - they were medicines which operated in a number of different ways unfamiliar now, and their use illuminates popular understandings of sex and reproduction in this period.
"Her book reveals that aphrodisiacs were more significant to early modern sexual health practices than historians have realized, which has important ramifications for the history of reproduction and medicine."
- Olivia Weisser, Journal of British Studies.
Executing Magic in the Modern Era: Criminal Bodies and the Gallows in Popular Medicine
Written by Owen Davies and Francesca Matteoni
This book explores the magical and medical history of executions from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century by looking at the afterlife potency of criminal corpses, the healing activities of the executioner, and the magic of the gallows site.
The use of corpses in medicine and magic has been recorded back into antiquity. The lacerated bodies of Roman gladiators were used as a source of curative blood, for instance. In early modern Europe, a great trade opened up in ancient Egyptian mummies and the fat of executed criminals, plundered as medicinal cure-alls.
However, this is the first book to consider the demand for the blood of the executed, the desire for human fat, the resort to the hanged man’s hand, and the trade in hanging rope in the modern era. It ends by look at the spiritual afterlife of dead criminals.
Journal and series edited by our historians
- Social History
- Contemporary British History
- Economic History Review
- Programming Historian
- International Journal of Regional and Local History
- Settler Colonial Studies