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Steven Fielding

Professor of Political History, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

I am a Professor of Political History and a member of the Centre for British Politics: CBP

Expertise Summary

I am able to comment on most aspects of British contemporary politics and modern political history, but have a specialist interest in the Labour Party and popular perceptions of politics in general. I have appeared on Sky News, Channel Four News, Radio 4 and Radio 5 as well as various local and international radio stations. I have been interviewed for the Guardian, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and numerous other international publications. I have written for the Guardian, the BBC website, Yorkshire Post, Prospect, Progress as well as History and Policy. I have presented a number of documentaries for Radio 4, the latest being Period Drama Politics. I also co-present The Zeitgeist Tapes podcast.

Teaching Summary

During my academic career I have found myself teaching any number of courses, from French social and economic history to cultural studies by way of Chinese politics. Most of my teaching has however… read more

Research Summary

The British Labour Party and Social Democracy - I have a long-standing interest in the history and contemporary politics of the Labour Party - especially during the post-war period up to and… read more

Recent Publications

  • 2018. High Politics. In: DAVID BROWN, ROBERT CROWCROFT, GORDON PENTLAND, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Modern British Political History, 1800-200 Oxford University Press. 640
  • STEVEN FIELDING, 2016. The heart of a heartless world: screening Victoria. In: MANDY MERCK, ed., The British monarchy on screen Manchester University Press. pp. 64-85
  • STEVEN FIELDING, 2016. Period Drama Politics At: BBC Radio 4
  • STEVEN FIELDING, 2015. 'Hell No!': Labour's 2015 Campaign Parliamentary Affairs. 68(supp:1), 54-69

PhD supervision

Contemporary British political history

Fictional and dramatic representations of politics in the UK and US

The Labour Party and social democracy

PhD students currently supervised

Ibtisam Ahmed

Elena Colombo

Joseph Himsworth, 'The Political Thought of Keith Joseph'

Robyn Muir

Lewis Scott, 'Brand Communication in British Political Parties since 2010'

Chris Stafford

During my academic career I have found myself teaching any number of courses, from French social and economic history to cultural studies by way of Chinese politics. Most of my teaching has however been focused on the history and politics of modern Britain and to a lesser extent the United States. I am generally interested in exploring how politics and culture are connected; and looking at the extent to which politics and history need to be understood together. I am therefore by experience and inclination not especially interested in teaching within disciplinary boundaries - I like casting my net a bit wider and hopefully thereby challenging students to do the same. Inter-disciplinary teaching can be challenging but it is invariably the most interesting. Most of my teaching now follows on from my past and present research interests - I think that is important as it means I can bring students not only the latest perspectives in the field but also provide them with insights into my own discoveries. This means I use fiction and drama from the US and UK as a way of helping students understanding politics and appreciate how it can structure how we feel about politics. Using fictions from both countries which are in some ways similar but in others very different means that I can provided students with striking and sometimes surprising contrasts and similarities. I am also concerned with understanding the changing nature of the Labour party from 'Old' to 'New' Labour and beyond to Corbyn's Labour.

Current Research

The British Labour Party and Social Democracy - I have a long-standing interest in the history and contemporary politics of the Labour Party - especially during the post-war period up to and including the Jeremy Corbyn leadership. I am especially interested in the party's culture, ideology and how it has tried to evoke a positive response from the electorate. I am currently working on The Labour Party: from Callaghan to Corbyn for Polity Press.

The Fictional Representation of Politics - If it is indisputable that many look upon politics in negative terms - generally seeing their elected representatives as inherently untrustworthy - it is also plain that (following the work of Murray Edelman) such attitudes are to some extent constructed through art. I am interested in comparing and contrasting fictional representations of politics in Britain and the USA, using examples taken from novels, film and television from the time of Anthony Trollope to that of Designated Survivor and The Crown.

The 'Crisis' of Trust in Politics - Most commentators believe political parties and government have lost the trust of the vast majority of the public, largely due to changes in the social and economic structure. While individualism and declining deference may be new features of the cultural landscape, it is also true that the major political parties have endured an endemic 'crisis' of legitimacy. Amongst other things, I am interested in exploring the means by which the parties have sought - and are seeking - to negotiate their inherently problematic relationship with society.

Rethinking Political History - The writing of modern British political history is currently undergoing a transformation, one which involves opening out to other disciplines and approaches - most obviously to those influenced by the need to properly locate political institutions within their cultural context. Given Colin Hay's recent outlining of a 'post-disciplinary' political science this is an especially interesting time to revisit some of the key moments in political history and challenge established narratives of the past that underpin contemporary political analysis.

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