I am an historian of Modern Britain with a broad interest in gender, race, class and sexuality.
I am interested in the history of human relationships, focusing on what basis these relationships are (not) formed, and what they can tell us about cultures of the past. I believe that examining relationships can help us understand everything from the minutiae of everyday life to broad and abstract historical processes. Friendships, those platonic bonds that shape us from an early age, are and will always be significant, and my research aims to give them adequate historical attention.
My PhD project is currently focused on women's changing relationships with one another in urban inner cities in Britain following the Second World War, with a distinct focus on Manchester and London. I am tracing how female relationships were altered by the physical, cultural and economic changes wrought by the post-war reconstruction, and how these changes in homosocial bonds can shed light on the nature of community and the rise of popular individualism in the late twentieth century. I have found through my research that by the 1970s women were using their homosocial relationships to articulate a more autonomous and individualistic sense of self. However, I do not see this rise of female individualism as a product of neoliberalism, nor of the post-68 turn towards personal freedom. I believe this individualism has something to do with the intersecting factors tied to inner-city living, particularly cultural marginalisation and racism, but this is something I am still trying to discern.
I research all aspects of female homosocial relationships, but I am particularly interested in bonds forged through mothers groups, women's centres, tenants' associations, and anti-racist organisations. I am also fascinated by conflict. I use a wide range of sources, from oral history, poetry, community publications and local official reports.
I am the recipient of the University of Manchester’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures Studentship.
Follow me at @jes_sca