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Recent Things Elsewhere

21 Dec

Just a quick roundup of stuff I have done on other sites in recent months.

The American History Too! podcast continues to go from strength to strength. Recently, Mark and I (and our excellent guests) have discussed the 1925 Scopes Trial, Irish-Americans and the American Civil War, and women, murder, and criminal justice in late nineteenth/early twentieth century America.

The marvellous Pubs & Publications blog (run by graduate students at the University of Edinburgh’s School of History, Classics, and Archaeology) asked if I could submit a guest post on the year after finishing the PhD.

At the British Association for American Studies United States Studies Online blog, I’ve contributed a couple of things over the past few months. I talked about the ‘Islamic bomb’ for the excellent Islam in America feature, and about teaching nuclear history for the Teaching America feature.

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Special Forces Co-operation as a Nuclear Non-proliferation Measure?

26 May

In my continued attempt to make use of those snippets from the archives that didn’t make it into the finished thesis, here’s something you might not think about as a non-proliferation measure: the Special Air Service (SAS).

Previously, I’ve talked about angry letters from A. Q. Khan and the intersections between Barry Goldwater, the military-industrial complex, and the Ford administration. This time, it’s back to the UK and a non-proliferation ‘bribe’ that never went anywhere other than the Foreign Office filing cabinet marked ‘Daft Ideas.’

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Critical Perspectives on Nuclear Weapons

20 May

On June 5, I’m delighted to be attending the BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group workshop Critical Perspectives on Nuclear Weapons (try saying that after a few beers). This is a great chance to engage in discussions about nuclear issues with some fantastic scholars from across the UK and beyond, looking at issues such as deterrence and disarmament, nuclear identity, and nuclear legitimacy.

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Barry and the Bombers

21 Apr

Following on from A.Q. Khan’s angry letter about British television, here’s another snippet that didn’t make it into the final version of the thesis.

Throughout the mid-to-late 1970s, successive US administrations attempted to use arms sales as a means of shifting Pakistan from the nuclear path. During this period, the weapon system that was always a major sticking point was the advanced A-7 attack aircraft. The Pakistanis wanted it. The Americans didn’t want them to have it. Then they did. Then they didn’t. Then they did. And so on ad infinitum.

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A.Q. Khan, ‘Death of A Princess,’ and Angry Letters

16 Apr

Some things that you find in archives are just downright odd. One curious find that, in the end, did not make it into my thesis was a rambling letter in tiny script that I found in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office records at The National Archives, Kew. This letter was written by none other than Abdul Qadeer ‘A.Q.’ Khan, probably the most famous nuclear proliferator of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

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HOTCUS 2013

20 Jan

Has it really been that long since the last post? It appears it has. Regardless, new year, new regime. Things are no less busy, but hopefully I’ll find time to post more over the coming year.

Once again I’ll be giving a paper at the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States Conference. This time it takes place at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. Last year, my paper was focussed on a very tight time period. This year, I’ve chosen to go a little bit broader and also address some of the wider themes of my doctoral thesis. Full paper outline after the jump.

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Teaching American History: My pre-20th Century Syllabus

31 Mar

The last few weeks have been somewhat busy: marking, writing a draft chapter of the thesis, presenting said chapter at our American History Workshop here at the university (which was excellent and very useful.) So, I have miserably failed in my aim of making at least one substantive post a week. Oh well. I’m sure my two readers will be most upset.

As I’ve mentioned before when talking about my 20th century syllabus, I currently teach on the highly regarded American History 2 (AH2) course here at the University of Edinburgh.(1) Lecturing is carried out by the senior academic staff, while the majority of tutoring is carried out by postgraduates (here referred to as tutors. The equivalent in the US and other countries would be the teaching assistant.) Although there is a broad structure set out for each semester, tutors are at liberty to modify this as they see fit and according to their own particular expertise.

This can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the freedom to arrange tutorials according to your own preferences and the needs of particular classes is great. On the other hand, it involves additional work when compared to other courses (although, it must be said, this is by no means an onerous workload.)

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