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The University of Southampton
Humanities Graduate School

Twentieth Century PG Study Group

We warmly welcome you along to our interdisciplinary postgraduate study group. If you work on the twentieth century and are interested in getting involved, then come along!

The group aims to:

-increase interdisciplinary interaction between postgraduates working on any aspect of the twentieth century

-provide a venue for students to present their research and to hear the work of more established scholars

-provide opportunities for discussion of common themes and ideas prevalent in the twentieth century


February - Seminar 1: Chris Fuller, 'No More Secrets?' Using Classified, Declassified and Leaked Information in Modern and Contemporary History'

Classified documents are paradoxical for historians. On one hand their secrecy undermines the goal of the researcher - to shine light on unknown events. On the other, they signpost the interesting, revealing precisely where further investigation and transparency is required. While leaks and whistle-blowers are not new, the emergence of organisations dedicated to a freedom of information agenda, such as Wikileaks and the hacker collective Anonymous, have made it all the more difficult for governments to keep information secret. In some cases these leaks have begun to challenge the traditional role of the archive - where the hidden hand of the archivist can still control the flow of information – as the primary location for modern historians to acquire their sources.

This talk will introduce some of the ways in which digital sources can be used in the study of modern and contemporary history, and will offer the opportunity to discuss the scholarly and ethical merits and drawbacks of using such material.

Late March - First Discussion Group Session on the theme of Imperialism/Nationalism/Colonialism

This will be a chance to discuss a key academic work on the broad theme of imperialism, nationalism and colonialism. If you have a text within the parameters of these themes that you'd like us to discuss as a group, please feel free to suggest it either via email or on our Facebook Group.

Late April - Second Presentation Slot:

If you are interested in speaking about your research or giving an academic paper in a friendly and supportive environment, please send a short description of what you'd like to speak about. We are looking for papers of about 15-30 Minutes, but we're very flexible on this.


On June 13th, 2015, the Twentieth Century Studies group held their first symposium. The event drew together nineteen delegates from six different universities and four different disciplines in the humanities for a day of exciting debate and discussion on the twentieth century. Dr Will May and Dr Chris Fuller, respectively from the English and History departments at the University of Southampton, delivered fantastic plenary and keynote speeches to compliment the nine thought provoking papers delivered by postgraduate delegates. Papers explored the psychiatric care system in Vichy France, the reconstruction of Exeter and Plymouth following the Second World War, and the history of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation.

For those interested in getting involved in the group's activities, please email

University of Southampton Twentieth Century Studies Postgraduate Society

Saturday 13 June 2015

Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Highfield Road, SO17 1BJ


Twentieth Century Studies Postgraduate Symposium

 The twentieth century was a test bed for big ideas

—Patrick O'Rourke


Our programme is shown below:


All sessions will take place in Lecture Theatre B, Avenue Campus

Registration – 9:30-10:00


Plenary – Dr Will May (Department of English, University of Southampton), 'Bless Ideology: The Whimsical Politics of Modernism' (10:00-10:45)

Break – 10:45-11:00

Panel 1 – Nations and Nationalism: The Global Twentieth Century (11:00-12:30)

Asfand Yar Durrani (University of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Pakistan and Visiting HEC Scholar at the University of Southampton), The Emerging Trend of Nationalism in Pashto Literature (Prose): An Analysis of Inspirational Element and Support to the Freedom Struggle, 1921-1947

Matthew Battey (Institute of Commonwealth Studies), Commonwealth Contributions to Twentieth Century Development Discourses: The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, Decolonization, and Evolving Notions of Global Community, 1965-1975

Khaled A. Al-Anbar (University of Southampton), Identity-Constituting Rhetoric in King Abdullah II’s Address Commemorating the Birthday of the late King Hussein: Reconstructing the Twentieth Century National Self-Perception

Chair: Alex Ferguson (University of Southampton)

Lunch (South Corridor) – 12:30-13:30

Panel 2 – Sexuality and Health in the Twentieth Century (13:30-15:00)

Jennie Arnold (University of Southampton), Boxing’s Manhood Formula: Hegemonic Masculinity and its Influences on Early Twentieth Century Male Heterosexuality and Homosexuality

Patricia Legg (University of Southampton), The German Occupation of France, 1940-1944: A Critical Period in the History of the French Mental Health System

Aaron Watts (University of Cambridge), ‘By their Display Attracting an Appalled Attention’: Rethinking the Therapeutic State from the Margins – England, 1950-1970

Chair: Holly Dunbar (University of Southampton)

Break -15:00-15:15

Keynote – Dr Christopher Fuller (Department of History, University of Southampton), “We have to find a better way to send a message…” The Reagan Administration and the Origins of the CIA’s Drone Programme (15:15-16:00)

Panel 3 – Reimagining Britain in the Twentieth Century (16:00-17:30)

Max Hodgson (University of Reading), Early British Socialists and Crime: The Influential Utopias of William Morris and H G Wells

Clare Maudling (University of Exeter), Plans and Ideologies: Politics and Post-War Reconstruction Plans in Exeter and Plymouth

Samuel Cross (University of East Anglia), ‘Did Anglians Dream of Electric Screens?’

Chair: Thomas Ellis (University of Southampton)

Dinner – The Goat (18:00-onwards)


Please email Alex Ferguson if you’d like to be added you to our mailing list!

Twentieth Century Studies
Members of the Symposium
Twentieth Century Studies
Symposium Presentation

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