I am Lecturer in 20th Century History at the University of Hull (from August 2012). I previously worked as a researcher on the Languages at War project at the University of Southampton (2008-12) and as a Teaching Fellow in Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict at UCL SSEES (2011-12).
My research interests, in no particular order, with a lot of overlap:
Nationalism, ethnicity and identity, including the concept of symbolic boundaries (with judgements about exclusion and inclusion) in the construction or production of identity, and the effects of processes of ‘ethnicisation’ – e.g. representing the causes of a conflict as ethnically determined. Processes of categorisation: the power to define, name and classify. The relationship between narrative and identity: how far do identity and selfhood depend on being able to sustain a coherent biographical narrative about oneself?
Popular culture and the entertainment industry, especially popular music. Media, power and practices of categorisation, including ethnicisation. The nation in international sporting and cultural competition, including the Eurovision Song Contest. Celebrity, politics and power. The significance of popular culture in world politics and world politics in popular culture. Performances of identity through the consumption and use of media, and how the users of media make meaning from texts.
International intervention, especially its cultural, spatial, bodily and linguistic practices. The narratives of intervention participants. The agency and experiences of locally-recruited intermediaries, including interpreters/translators, fixers, and employees of military and civilian international organisations. The socio-economic impacts of intervention and the new mobilities and inequalities it produces.
Travel, migration, mobility. How travellers and those who facilitate travel imagine and represent their destinations (in travel writing, other forms of cultural production, oral history…), including the ‘tourist gaze’. Power and privilege in the exercise of mobility. Forced migration and the impact of ethnic cleansing. Migration, border control, and the identities of political communities and states.
Politics of representation and memory. Commemoration of war and other significant events in collective histories. How the past, present and future are represented in monuments, memorials and museums. Cultural studies perspectives on representations of ‘the Other’. Perceptions of the past, including the prehistoric past, at heritage sites. ‘Symbolic geographies/geopolitics’ and how these change in the shifting course of international politics.
Translation and interpreting, in literal and metaphorical senses. Issues of power and representation in translation. The agency and identity of language intermediaries. In a broader sense, the translatability of ‘transitional justice’ to local post-conflict settings; the translatability of Western cultural studies to postsocialist societies; the translatability of postsocialist studies’ ideas about political economy to post-financial-crisis liberal market democracies.
Rupture, dislocation, postsocialism. How people in postsocialism came to terms with massive socioeconomic change after 1989/1991 and the precarity this brought with it for many, and what relevance this may have for the post-financial-crisis situation (what might be described as ‘postfinancialism’).
War and conflict – and how my other research interests manifest in them. The impact of the media on conflict (inside and outside the conflict zone), and how technological change has altered this over time. Militaries’ understandings of language, culture, identity and Other(s) as expressed in their training, socialisation and practice, including language education, pre-deployment training, and representations of the intervention site or enemy in field exercises.
Former Yugoslavia and south-east Europe. My two main projects so far have been on popular music and nationalism in Croatia since the break-up of Yugoslavia, and on language intermediaries in Bosnia-Herzegovina. My research interests will continue to incorporate, but not be restricted to, these areas.
Positionality, identification, field research. The insider/outsider dialogue in research and how this sits within wider politics of representation. The past, present and future of language-based area studies research. How to reconcile an impetus towards critical research with ethical responsibilities towards research participants in interviewing. Supporting the mental health of researchers during and after research. How queer identities intersect with other aspects of identity in research and teaching. Participating in a critical pedagogy through which students draw insights from temporally and/or spatially distant cases that will still resonate with their own everyday lives.
The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent the views of colleagues or employers.