Tag Archives: bbc

Banning Panorama: January 27, 2016

13 Jan

On the 27th of this month, I’ll be giving a paper as part of Glasgow Caledonian University’s regular History Seminar. This is especially pleasing for me, as GCU was where I spent my undergrad years in the 1990s.

GCU_Seminar_27_01

The paper is all about a component of my current postdoctoral research, which examines attempts by the Thatcher and Reagan governments to influence domestic and international public perceptions of intelligence and nuclear issues during the 1980s and the global media’s responses to this.

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A Post-doctoral Position, Hurrah!

20 Aug

iash_logoThe year or so since I had my PhD viva has been one of ups and downs, highs and lows. That, its seems, is the norm for the newly minted academic Doctor and something I entirely expected. In fact, it’s a subject that I’m writing a fairly long post on, but for now I’d like to talk about a recent ‘up’.

I’m delighted to say that I’ve been awarded a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship by the Institute for  Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh. The fellowship runs from September 2015 to May 2016 and allows me to research one of the building blocks of a much bigger post-doctoral project.

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Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Week 9, the ‘Islamic Bomb’

16 Nov

Important aide memoire for self: those subjects that you really, really know a lot about, have done extensively researched, and that you’ve produced scholarly work about. Those are the ones that are hardest to teach.

For this part of the course, we turned our gaze towards proliferation and the developing world. In particular, the West’s interactions with the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme. Which just so happens to be the subject of my doctoral thesis. The intent behind this was twofold: 1) to explore how the media influences perceptions about national (or what they perceive as transnational) nuclear programmes. 2) to explore attitudes towards national nuclear programmes within governments.

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Teaching the Nuclear Cold War: Week 6, nuclear popular culture

27 Oct

This was, without a doubt, one of the classes I was looking most forward to taking: how nuclear weapons affected popular culture in the 1950s and 1960s. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know that I’m a big fan of using The War Game (Dir: Peter Watkins, 1965) as a teaching tool and discussion point. Things turned out as something of a mixed bag, however.

We’re just over a week away from the hand-in date for the big course essay, and this is quite reasonably dominating students minds. Hence, there was perhaps not quite as much preparation done as there normally would be. That being said, we had some excellent presentations on a variety of topics: civil defence and popular culture, the ‘apocalyptic imagination’ in 1950s science fiction movies, comparisons of The War Game and A Day Called X, and so on and so forth. In the main, I’ve been very impressed with the standard of presentations on this course. They have generally been thoughtful, well put together, and imaginative.

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B.B.C. M.A.D. W.T.F?

18 Feb

It is always gratifying to see items on your chosen specialism being offered by one of the major news media outlets. In this case, the BBC website offers an article looking at the history and influence of the concept of Mutual (or mutually, no one can seem to agree on which is best) Assured Destruction (MAD.)

For me, the article highlights the problem with writing in a popular medium for a diverse audience. The main issue is the need to find a schtick to hang things on, in this case the “50th anniversary of MAD.” But, that’s nonsense. John von Neumann came up with the MAD concept in the 1950s and it was further refined by Herman Kahn in On Thermonuclear War in 1960. Even a cursory browse of Wikipedia will bring that up!

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