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Urban Governance, the Civic and Civil Society

Unit(s) of assessment: History

School: School of Arts and Humanities


Understanding civic and national cultures – roughly those shared senses of meaning, values, norms and ways of doing, thinking and feeling – is central to our understanding of urban, rural and national life. What we value – see as core to our identities – reflects not only the social and economic circumstances of the day (or the past) but how these are embedded, and the stories we tell about ourselves to ourselves.

Today attention has focused on the lack of a coherent, overarching belief system particularly in western urban centres: that is the replacement of past collective identities with a more individualistic and introverted culture, where state dependency rather than engagement, and disconnection rather than community, seem to be the order of the day.

Such claims are not new, nor have they remained impervious to challenging historical interpretation. Nonetheless, we remain preoccupied with recapturing the public, moral and cultural standards of earlier 'halcyon' days: so that the value of 'service' and 'citizenship' is as much a part of reformist discourse today as say fifty or two and fifty years ago, although the circumstances are very different. If our memories of the past remain pliable, then how we record that past of social reform, engagement and memory are central to our current identities.


Martyn Bennett is a professor in Early Modern History. Professor Bennett is a proponent of the New British History as applied to the Early Modern Period having published a series of books on the civil wars and a biography of Oliver Cromwell, although he has been known to publish and give lectures on the space race of the 20th Century.

Graham Black's responsibilities incorporate teaching, research and consultancy (in a private capacity). On the MA Museum and Heritage Management, Graham is responsible for the year-long module on Presentation Management, covering visitor studies, marketing and audience development, visitor services, learning and interpretation. He also supervises and marks MA theses and acts as Admissions Tutor for the course.

Stuart Burch is Programme Leader and Examinations Officer for the MA in Museum and Heritage Management. He is also responsible for the academic components of this programme, including thesis writing and research. His teaching focuses on museums, collecting and display; the form and function of art galleries; the study of urban space and public art.

Kevin Gould is the principal Lecturer in Late Medieval/Early Modern History (European). His current research project has its origins in a study of the impact of the edicts of pacification promulgated during the French Wars of Religion. Traditionally, these dictates have been viewed as pivotal moments in the sectarian clashes, points at which the crown, seemingly floundering during the early years of war, was able to re-establish and re-assert its authority.

Nick Hayes is the research Leader of History and Heritage. He was also the Unit of Assessment coordinator for History and Heritage RAE 2008 and REF 2014.

John McCallum is a lecturer in History, and a specialist in early modern British religious history. He teaches a range of modules at undergraduate level, including Medieval and Early Modern Worlds, Age of Reformations, War and Society in Early Modern Britain and Historiography, as well as dissertations and contributing to the MA in History.

Jenny Woodley is a Lecturer in Modern American History, teaching on range of modules. Her research interests include; African American history, Black culture, American Civil War memory, and Emancipation celebrations


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