I joked when I started my PhD, amid the skyrocketing numbers of ISIS foreign fighters reaching Syria, that I’d never really expected my research to actually have a semblance of contemporary relevance. Fast forward a few years, and I’m now also delighted  to discover that my related interest in the early history of … Continue reading Anti-fascism and Violence
A recent occupational hazard of being an historian of modern Spain has been the expectation that you can explain what is going on in Catalonia right now. Friends and colleagues, stunned by the images of violence seen around the world last weekend, want to know where this has all come from. There have been no … Continue reading Lessons from Catalonia?
I recently came to the realisation that The Castle is my favourite film of all time. I mean, sure, 10-year-old me enjoyed it when it came out twenty years ago, but its place at the top of my personal cinematic pecking order was cemented much later. This is partly due to just how deep the … Continue reading A Love Letter to ‘The Castle’
With the past week seeing the shock resignations of two Greens senators on the grounds of their holding dual citizenship, constitutional issues surrounding parliamentary eligibility have never been more prominent. Whether or not you hold Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters’ actions to be either an honourable response to innocent mistakes, or a fundamental betrayal of … Continue reading Citizen, Subject, Parliamentarian?
This was originally published on 7 February 2017 for the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Blog | I sometimes envy those who study safely dead topics: however important swamp drainage in the sixteenth century might have been to those who valued dry feet, it is unlikely to ever lead to a shouting match … Continue reading The Spanish Civil War, Living History and Pan’s Labyrinth
This was originally published on 1 April 2016 for the Edinburgh University Global and Transnational History Research Group Blog | The Antipodean media establishment erupted recently with the ‘discovery’ of a University of New South Wales document on how students can avoid being offensive when discussing historical issues. In a glorious display of irony, many … Continue reading Cooking the Books? Universities, Indigenous History and Australia’s Invasion Scare
This was originally published on 16 December 2015 for Pubs and Publications | Earlier this year I wrote about how the nationalist label affected the SNP and their image – as a concept, nationalism comes with a fair bit of historical baggage and it’s interesting to watch the SNP try to deal with it (and … Continue reading A Trump by any other name? Fascism in modern politics
This was originally published on 11 November 2015 for Pubs and Publications. It was written in conjunction with Laura Harrison| November 11 is one of the few days of the year where history is placed at the centre of public discourse, as Britain stops to commemorate the victims of war. Two of our resident historians, Laura … Continue reading Remembrance Day and (Not) Wearing the Poppy as an Historian
This was originally published on 18 May 2015 for Pubs and Publications| Like most of our readers, my newsfeed (and the news, for that matter) has been full of reactions to the UK election – notably, the unprecedented success of the Scottish National Party in reducing the three major parties to isolated islands (quite literally … Continue reading A dirty word? The SNP and nationalism’s historical baggage