I am a historian of the 20th Century with special interest in the Second World War, refugees, children and humanitarianism. Originally from Calgary, Canada, I am currently a Research Fellow and Lecturer in Modern European history at the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. I am also a research affiliate with the history department at the University of Glasgow.
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the Second World War. In 2016, I completed my PhD in modern history at the University of Edinburgh. Although my greatest interests lay in the Second World War, my current research now focuses on how governments and NGOs create policies and humanitarian operations to help vulnerable groups, especially children and refugees.
I have a number of projects in progress:
- “Humanitarian Action and Translation” collaborative project at the University of Geneva with Dr Elisabeth Möckli (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) that looks at how translation and language policies impact humanitarian projects in modern war
- articles that analyse the more controversial elements of Swiss-led child evacuations (why did the Nazi commanders in Belgium and France authorise this evacuation, for example)
- public blog that explores current events, films, and popular culture by using history as a way to interrogate recurrent crises.
- securing small-project funding to interview former survivors of the Swiss-led evacuations to understand the considerable upheaval and experiences they would have endured. Their oral testimony is absolutely essential and will add greater nuance to this remarkable moment in history.
A Blurb on My Background
While the study of History is now my intellectual home, I actually started my work in communications, especially political persuasion. While studying for my bachelors in Communication Studies at the University of Calgary, I learned a great deal about quantitative data collection, analysis and statistics, but my foundation for studying war and history actually grew out of a keen interest in “rhetoric.” Mass rallies, speeches, and how governments communicate with citizens and soldiers during war strongly sparked my attention.
For example, my Masters (by Research, at the University of Calgary) examined speeches by Churchill, Hitler and other Nazi officials to better understand the role of rhetoric in the Battle of Britain. My findings were compelling, as they brought attention to the (ir)rationality behind the flowery prose, and how these speeches had major impact upon civilian audiences. In fact, I was so fascinated by the role of morale in war, that during a further one-year Masters (MSc) at the University of Edinburgh in 2011, I decided to analyse three wartime morale-monitoring organisations (Mass Observation, the Home Intelligence Division and the Army Morale Committee) to better understand how their methods and tactics tangibly recorded morale in Britain. I am highly fascinated by how politicians speak, what they say, and the impact it has upon audiences, especially those caught in the midst of war.