My research and teaching focus on modern history since 1750, with particular interest in:
- heroes, heroism, & gender;
- the Arctic and Antarctic, exploration, technology & empire;
- the media and celebrity;
- the cultural history of war.
Although my primary expertise is in British history, I am interested in analysing the networks - European, Imperial, Transatlantic, Global - in which Britons were entangled.
In a number of publications, I have analysed how heroic reputations are constructed and disseminated in order to offer insights into a range of research questions regarding empire, gender, sexuality, the media and the state. My article on the networks which constructed the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen as an explorer-hero after his Fram expedition, 1893-96, was published by the Journal of Modern History in March 2021
I am currently working on four related research projects:
1. A new book for Oxford University Press on the changing forms and functions of British heroes over the last three centuries;
2. The 'debunking' of heroes in different national contexts and on aspects of the heroic, in collaboration with the Heroes Centre at the University of Freiburg. This project arose from a SALC-funded workshop;
3. The use of historical approaches to extend research on psychological responses to extreme environments, in collaboration with Prof. Emma Barrett and Dr Nathan Smith from the School of Social Sciences.
4. The history of regional geographical societies and changing cultures of exploration.