Department of History

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Nick Thomas

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts



I did my PhD at the University of Warwick on student protests in Britain in the 1960s. This was completed in 1997.

The following year I took up a Research Fellowship in Social and Cultural Change in the 1960s. This job title was once memorably described as 'surely the coolest job title ever' by the chair of a conference session where I gave a paper. This post focussed on a research project about protest movements in 1960s West Germany. Since I spoke not a word of German this involved teaching myself academic-standard German in 6 months, which was a challenge. I worked alongside Arthur Marwick as part of the Sixties Research Group.

In 2002 I took up my current post here at Nottingham.

During my time at Nottingham I've been Exams Officer (2002-2005), Disability Liaison Officer (2008-2009), Senior Tutor (2009-2012), Director of Undergraduate Studies (2009-2011), Departmental Director of Teaching (2012- 2015) and School of Humanities Director of Teaching (2016 to 2019). As a result there are not many teaching-related decisions, policies, documents or even forms with which I have not been involved. In 2013 I pioneered the use of online marking and feedback in the department.

I have a particular interest in student welfare, especially dyslexia.

In 2011-12, while I was Senior Tutor, I was lead investigator in a Senior Tutor Network funded project on 'Personal Tutoring for Students From the University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus'. The research team included Dr Dan Hucker, Dr Sarah Browne and Dr Carole Mallia.

Building upon the success of the mentoring scheme for Ningbo students which was created by Dr Browne and the late Dr Mallia, in 2013 I created the Department of History's peer mentoring scheme, which matches all home, exchange and Ningbo students with a second or third year volunteer mentor.

Expertise Summary

I can supervise a wide variety of projects on the home front in Britain during the Second World War, twentieth century military history, post-war Britain, post-war West Germany, and social and cultural change in Europe and America. I have a particular interest in protest movements, but also in changing patterns of behaviour, gender, and events such as the Vietnam War.

Teaching Summary

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2010 received a Lord Dearing Award for Teaching and Learning.

In 2014 I was made one of the Student Union's 100 Heroes. This award recognised contributions from 100 past and present students, societies and members of staff in celebration of the Union's centenary. With such a massive potential field of nominees from across a century, my inclusion in the final list was a huge honour. The only other History person included in the list was Professor W R Fryer, the founder of our Dissertation prize, who retired in 1981. My wife (Dr Gabriele Neher in the Department of Art History) and I were the only married couple to be included.

My modules have grown directly out of my research. My second year module, V12164 The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951 surveys and analyses popular experiences of the Second World War on the Home Front in Britain.

My Special Subject, V13211 The 1960s and the West, is a year long opportunity to look at this tumultuous decade in depth and covers such varied topics as the civil rights movement, generational conflict, the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, the women's movement, and terrorism. The rich primary resources for the period are used extensively, making it a particularly enjoyable module to teach. The module has consistently been one of the most popular modules among students in the department.

Research Summary

I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Protest Movements in 1960s West GermanyI have a particular interest in social change in the post-war period, and have focussed on 1960s protest movements over the past decade or so. My PhD looked at student protest in Britain in the 1960s and I then went on to research and publish a book on 1960s protests in West Germany.

This was followed by a project looking at the Lady Chatterley's Lover obscenity Trial of 1960, particularly the public responses to this.

From 2007 to 2010 I was a member of the Executive Committee of the Social History Society.


I can supervise a wide variety of projects on post-war West Germany, wartime Britain, post-war Britain, and social and cultural change in Europe and America. I have a particular interest in protest movements, but also in the 1960s, changing patterns of behaviour, gender, sexuality and events such as the Vietnam War.

I've acted as the main supervisor for one PhD (on the role of the churches in the Civil Rights Movement) and another on on education in Britain during the Second World War) both of whom successfully completed. A further PhD on men's hair in Britain in the post-war period is on the verge of completion. I have been second supervisor for a number of other PhDs.

Selected Publications

Past Research

PhD thesis on student protest in Britain in the 1960s, followed by a research project on Sixties protest movements in West Germany that resulted in a monograph.

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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