Radio gaga

December 6, 2006

End-of-term-itis and family bereavement means the blog is suffering at the moment. But just to celebrate my moment of glory while it’s there – for the next week you can hear me and others talking about the memory of the First World War on the BBC Radio 4 programme Things We Forgot To Remember.

Immediate reactions from two friends number 1) a pedantic economist who pointed out that I said munitions of atomic proportions when what I probably meant was munitions the blast of which could be measured in the same way as an atomic explosion, not really really small weapons.

Immediate reactions from two friends number 2) ‘Came in just at the bit where you finished a sentence “…ideal of masculinity.” and Michael Portillo started telling the audience who you were “Dan Todman,…” Got a bit confused.’

I’d like to thank the academy…

October 2, 2006

A busy time of year: so a post to let everyone know that I’m doing more than cancelling seminars at the moment.

First, of course, it’s the start of term. That means it’s busy, with lots of new students to meet and lots of names to remember. Although I only run one undergraduate course at the moment, I lecture on two others, which are team taught. Perhaps predictably, I ended giving the first lecture on those as well. This got me back up to speed quickly I guess, but I always forget just how exhausting performing history is. But my classes this year seem bright and keen (well, it is only the first week) and my MA seminar has more students in it than ever before. And I have a new PhD student, about whom more anon.

Second, I’m trying to finish writing a chapter about the run up to the Second World War in Britain. After a summer of grappling with a huge reading list on appeasement, I’m struggling with trying to condense it down into something worth reading. And struggling even more because I’ve realised, in the course of the reading, that actually I want to devote as much space to British preparations (official and unofficial, physical and mental) for the war as I do to more traditional concerns about Chamberlain and foreign policy. I’m particularly interested in the effect, and lack of effect, of British conceptions of ‘modern’ (ie total) war. And I think that this is an area which tends to get left out of more popular histories. Read the rest of this entry »

BBC online

June 26, 2006

Articles written for the BBC History website's commemoration of the Somme now up here and here. They haven't necessarily given them the headlines I'd have liked, but then academic nuance doesn't always get people interested. The impression figures for the BBC pages are amazing, so I took this as a real opportunity to get some ideas into the public sphere. I'll be very interested to see what the results are (and I wonder how long it will be before I read a plagiarised essay written from these sites?). Great pictures, anyway…