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Dr Joan Tumblety PhD

Associate Professor, Head of Research

Dr Joan Tumblety's photo

Dr Joan Tumblety is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Southampton.

BA (Honours) in History and English (University of Western Australia), PhD in History (University of Cambridge).

I am a specialist in modern French history, with a particular interest in the cultural and gender history of early to mid-twentieth century France. I first explored these areas in my PhD thesis on Fascist cultural politics in France: modernity and gender in Je suis partout, 1940-1944 (1998), which demonstrated how collaborationist writers in Occupied Paris filtered and refined their political and historical views through notions of masculinity and femininity. I have expanded this engagement with masculinity by exploring the imagined connection between national decline and male physical failure in a monograph about the world of French physical culture, 1918-1945. My doctoral studies also nurtured a scholarly interest in the instrumentalization of memory, and this resulted in the publication of an edited collection for Routledge in 2013.

Alongside my colleague in Modern Languages and Linguistics, Dr Jackie Clarke, I organised the 19th annual conference for the Society for the Study of French History on the theme of ‘Spaces and Places', hosted at the University of Southampton in 2005. Between 2006 and 2011 I also served alongside Jackie Clarke as an editor of the inter-disciplinary journal Modern & Contemporary France, whose UK editorial team was based at the university during that time.

Cover image-Remaking the Male body
Cover image-Remaking the Male body
Cover image - Memory and History
Cover image - Memory and History

Research interests

My current research explores the social and cultural history of health. Earlier work on physical culturist physicians impressed upon me the cultural reach of this entrepreneurial medical elite and I intend to explore the role of physicians as cultural agents more generally. I am working towards a monograph on the history of natural health cures in early to mid-twentieth century France, focusing in particular on the water cure offered at thermal spas. In the new study I intend to knit together the ways in which medical elites sought to shape the nature of the body-fix ‘cure’ with the social experience of individual men and women, boys and girls within these therapeutic establishments. I am also working on several shorter projects in related areas, including a study of the post-1945 career of the body builder Marcel Rouet, who tailored his self-help diet, sex and physical fitness therapies to an increasingly female audience of consumers; and a study of the popular encounter with science and medicine at the 1937 Paris world's fair, as a way of exploring the interface between scientific knowledge and popular culture in the interwar era.

Research projects

As part of my research on the cultural agency of physicians, I am collaborating with Dr Catherine Kelly of the University of Bristol Law School on a project entitled ‘Physicians, persuasion and politics: lobbying and culture in Britain and France, 1780-1940’. The project has resulted in an international workshop at the University of Southampton, 6-7 July 2015; an article on histories of medical lobbying in The Lancet, October 2016, co-authored with Professor Nick Sheron; and a co-edited special issue of a scholarly journal on doctors and persuasion to appear in 2018.

In addition I am working alongside Professor Martin Conway (Balliol College, University of Oxford) and Professor Mary Vincent (University of Sheffield) on a writing project about the shifting relationship between masculinity and politics in Western Europe, 1900-1960. My publications in this area include an essay on the ‘fascist new man’ in France in an edited volume on the general theme published by Bloomsbury.

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Book Chapters

My undergraduate teaching is informed by the scholarly interests that have driven my research projects. In addition to an introductory course on the French Revolution (Year 1), I teach modules on Sex, culture and power in France, 1789-1940, and Napoleon and his Legend (Year 2), as well as a special subject France under the Nazis, 1940-1944 (Year 3). I also co-teach a final-year module on memory, and regularly contribute to modules on historiography for our MA History programme.

Links to Modules which I currently teach:

HIST1020 The French Revolution

HIST2097 Napoleon and his Legend

HIST3036 France under the Nazis, 1940-1944

HIST3116 Between private memory and public history

HIST6108 France and the world since 1789

Areas where I can offer postgraduate supervision:

I am able to supervise MA students working on most aspects of modern French history, and PhD students interested in early to mid-20th-century French gender or cultural history, the radical Right or the Occupation of 1940-1944. My current and recent doctoral students have worked, respectively, on the French psychiatric hospitals under the Occupation of 1940-44; the daily life of internment in the Lozère department 1940-44; women's social action in France from the 1930s to 1940s; the figure of the marchande de mode in early 19th-century France; and masculinity and the Resistance, 1940-1944.

Dr Joan Tumblety
Building 65, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2067

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