Department of History

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Dean Blackburn

Lecturer in Modern British History, Faculty of Arts


Expertise Summary


My research explores political ideologies and their histories. I am particularly interested in the way that ideologies bestow meaning upon the concepts that we use to understand and describe the world around us.

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate Teaching

I convene HIST2037, a module for students enrolled on the History and Politics joint honours programme. This module, which is designed to help students navigate the boundary between their two disciplines, explores different concepts and approaches that scholars employ to understand political change.

I also convene The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism, a special subject explores the political, social and cultural changes that took place in 1980s Britain.

As well as the above, I also teach on the following team-taught undergraduate modules:

  • Learning History
  • Contemporary World
  • Road To Modernity, 1789 - 1945

Postgraduate Teaching

I convene Past Futures: Reimagining the Twentieth Century. Taking the concept of modernity as its starting-point, this course interrogates the social and political changes that re-shaped Britain in the twentieth-century.

I contribute to Exploring English Identities.

Research Summary

Time and Chance: The Politics of Temporality in Modern Britain, 1945-2008

I am working on a book project about the politics of time. Drawing upon examples from the post-war period, the book will trace changes in the way that policy makers and intellectuals thought about temporal concepts like progress, decline and crisis.

Research Supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective doctoral students who are interested in the following:

  • The history of political ideas in Britain
  • Party politics in modern Britain
  • Theoretical approaches to the study of ideologies
  • Class identities in modern Britain

Current Students

William Noble, 'Our poor, tired little island just can't cope': race, immigration and 'decline' in the post-war English Midlands, c.1958-1981'

Alex Riggs, 'Democratic Party Presidential Primary Campaigns and the Left, 1980-1988'.

Rebecca Hickman, 'Gender-nonconformity and the quest for 'recognition' in the United Kingdom, from the 1970s to the present day'.

Luke Thrumble, 'Finding Britain's place in the New World Order: foreign policy in the Thatcher and Major governments at the end of the Cold War'

Past Students

David Civil, 'Meritocratic Discourse in Post-war Britain' (Awarded in 2020)

Matthew Kidd, 'Popular Politics in Urban England, 1867-1918' (Awarded in 2016)

Joseph Himsworth, 'The Political Thought of Keith Joseph' (Awarded in 2022)

Selected Publications

School Director of Postgraduate Teaching for Humanities

I oversee the school's postgraduate teaching, and I can respond to queries about provision and recruitment.

Past Research

Past Research

In 2020, I published a monograph that explored the political publishing of Penguin Books. Using the publisher's books as a way of tracing political ideas, it claims that the three decades after the Second World War might be best understood as a 'meritocratic moment' in Britain's political development.

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details