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Dr. Eve Colpus BA, MSt., DPhil

Associate Professor in British and European History post-1850; History TEF Coordinator

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Eve Colpus works on the history of modern Britain, with particular interests in social and cultural history, gender history, the history of youth and the history of communications.

I studied History at the University of Oxford, where I stayed on to complete an MSt. and D.Phil., working with Jane Garnett. I was a postdoctoral researcher on two projects at the University of Oxford, before joining the History Department at Southampton in 2012.

I am currently working on two research projects:

Children and young people’s telephone use, and telephone cultures, in Britain c. 1984-1999

This project explores the relationship between young people’s telephone use and youth agency in Britain between 1984 and 1999.  Combining archival research, oral history research and co-research with young people, the project looks to understand the meanings phone use held to young people. The project builds upon my earlier research on the history of the ChildLine, including the witness seminar that I organised with Dr Jenny Crane in 2016, which is archived here.

That’s Life! (BBC1, 1973-1994), and ‘doing with’ television in late-twentieth century Britain

In this project I ask what the example of the long-running consumer affairs television programme, That’s Life! can tell us about a wider history of the social impact of television in the late twentieth century. I am particularly interested in thinking through how audiences were actively ‘doing [something] with’ television as part of their everyday lives as consumers and citizens.

My previous research focused upon the histories of charity, identity and selfhood in the interwar period. My first monograph, Female Philanthropy in the Interwar World: Between Self and Other, was published by Bloomsbury Academic Press in 2018 and was Highly Recommended in the Women’s History Network Book Prize, 2019. Other publications include articles tracing the meanings of ‘service’ to elite women, and charity appeals on the early BBC radio (Duncan Tanner Essay Prize, 2010, Twentieth Century British History). I also continue to research, publish and teach on the history of celebrity.


BA Modern History, University of Oxford, 2005

MSt. Historical Research, University of Oxford, 2007

DPhil, History, University of Oxford 2011

Research interests

Eve is particularly interested in questions of individuals’ experience, identity and agency, and their relationship to communication practices, media cultures, and everyday technologies.

PhD supervision

Michael Nelles, ‘Saving Old England’: Political and Strategic Dynamics of Local Voluntary Groups, Historic Buildings and Urban Redevelopment, c1910-1975.

Christopher Byrne, Screening Jews and Jewishness in British Situation Comedy, 1965-1990 

Michael Brackpool, The New Information and Communications War: the British public, media, Ministry of Information and the control of news during the Phoney War of 1939/40.

Leanne Newman, ‘A bright glimpse of fair and still places’: How women philanthropists used gardening and land to improve the lives of the poor between 1870-1930.

Research project(s)

Children and young people as telephone users in Britain, c. 1984-1999

In my current research project, I am examining the history of children and young people’s telephone use in Britain in the years between 1984 and 1999.

Deputy Editor, Women’s History Review

Secretary, UK Women’s History Network Steering Committee (2014-18)

Editorial advisor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2017-19)

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Book Chapters

I currently teach the following undergraduate and MA modules:

HIST1119: The Long Summer? Edwardian Britain 1901-1914

HIST2071: Celebrity, Media and Mass Culture, 1888-1952

HIST3178: When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the 1970s, Part 1: 1970-1974

HIST3179: When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the 1970s, Part 2: 1975-1979

HIST3246: A Short History of ‘the Homosexual’

HIST6118: Observing Society and Self in Britain, c.1880-1980

Dr. Eve Colpus
Building 65 Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/1053

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