Like things used to be, I was made in Manchester - or at least the academic me was. I received both my BA (1987) and PhD (1991) from the University of Manchester, UK. I remained there for the best part of a decade as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (1991-4), a Lecturer/Assistant Professor (1994-8) and finally as a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor (1998-2000). I’ve been at Berkeley ever since. Here I teach modern British history but I do so through broad comparative and theoretical interests in questions about the nature of modernity, imperialism and state formation.
Syllabi of some of my recent courses are available below:
History 39Z: Hunger. An Unnatural or Modern History?
History 100: Britain on Film
History 280: Governmentality and History
History 280: Twentieth Century Britain
History 280: Histories of the British Empire
History 280C: Imperial Britain: Maker of the Modern World?
History 285: Modern Imperial Britain
Those interested in other classes or scholarly events relating to Britain should check out the Center for British Studies.
Trained as a political historian of nineteenth century Britain, my first publications - Politics and the People ( splendidly reissued in paperback in 2009 ) and an edited collection of essays Re-Reading the Constitution (1996) - helped outline an agenda for what a cultural history of British politics might look like. In particular, they addressed the cultural practices and forms of subjectivity upon which the British version of democracy relied during the nineteenth century. My next book Hunger. A Modern History (2007) explored how and why hunger came to be understood as a problem in modern, imperial Britain and the changing ways in which it was addressed by civil society and the state. It was also an attempt imagine what social history and histories of welfare might look like after the cultural and imperial turns.
Most recently I have co-edited a collection of essays The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain (2011). It is the first book in the new Berkeley Series in British Studies edited by myself and Mark Bevir. Published by the University of California Press the series is designed to reassess the nature of Britain's modern economy, society, politics and culture within broad imperial and transnational frames. I am currently finishing up an interpretive history of modernity in Britain from the late seventeenth to the middle of the twentieth century called 'Distant Strangers. How Imperial Britain Became Modern' and beginning the Cambridge History of Britain from 1750 to the present.
"Open online courses - an avalanche that might just get stopped" The Guardian, 30 April 2013
"Canary in the coalmine" The Times Higher, 1 December 2011
co-ed (with Colleen Lye and Chris Newfield), "The Humanities and the Crisis of The Public University" Representations, 116,1 (Fall 2011)
"What was liberalism and who was its subject? Or, will the real liberal subject please stand up?" Victorian Studies, Volume 53, Number 2, Winter 2011, pp. 303-310
|Spring 2013||151C||The Peculiar Modernity of Britain, 1750 to the present||151cS13.doc|
|Fall 2013||280C||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the History of England: Topic TBA|
|Fall 2013||280U||Neoliberalism and Its Histories|
|Fall 2012||280C||Imperial Britain: Maker of the Modern World?||280CFall12.doc|
|Fall 2011||280U/285U||Histories of the British Empire|