History BA: Undergraduate Studies 2017–2020

Between 2017 and 2020, I pursued an extensive and multifaceted study of history at the University of Nottingham which significantly influenced my professional development in writing and editing.

History BA: Undergraduate Studies 2017–2020
Looking north-west over Highfields boating lake toward the historic Trent Building on the University of Nottingham's University Park campus.

Between 2017 and 2020, I studied history at the University of Nottingham, one of the UK's prestigious Russell Group universities with global reach, and achieved a first-class Bachelor's degree with honours. I engaged with a spectrum of modules ranging from medieval to contemporary world history, alongside specialised studies in European fascism and interdisciplinary subjects.

My academic journey was structured around core modules that covered significant historical periods, offering a comprehensive perspective from the medieval era to the modern day. I dove into specialized modules like 'Germany in the Age of Mass Politics' and 'European Fascisms, 1900–1945', which allowed me to focus on specific interests, particularly in the realm of political ideologies. Additionally, my engagement in courses across various faculties, including art history and communications, further broadened my understanding, making my study at Nottingham a truly holistic educational experience. This diverse academic experience at the University of Nottingham equipped me with a multifaceted understanding of history and its intersections with other disciplines.

The pinnacle of my time at Nottingham was my groundbreaking dissertation, 'Our own British Race’: The Common Conclusions of Interwar British Fascist Movements on Race, 1918-1940.' This work involved extensive research and analysis of primary sources, some of which hadn't been examined since the 1930s. The significance of this research was acknowledged by its publication in the Italian historical journal "Diacronie," marking a notable contribution to the field.

My studies at Nottingham, culminating in this achievement, were instrumental in shaping my career, enabling me to approach complex topics with a nuanced and informed perspective. They honed my skills in writing, analysis, and critical thinking, laying a solid foundation for my professional journey as a writer and editor.

Why History?

My fascination with history is rooted in my curiosity and deep-seated passion for writing and analysis. For me, the allure of history lies in its interwoven narratives – a complex blend of events, ideas, and personalities – that have shaped our world. The study of history offers an endless reservoir of stories, debates, and perspectives, satiating my natural sense of curiosity.

The allure of history lies in its ability to illuminate the paths we've traversed as a civilisation, revealing patterns, lessons, and perspectives that are crucial for navigating today's complex world. Studying history cultivates critical thinking, nurtures empathy, and fosters a deep appreciation for the civilisations and ideas of the past.

Specific areas of history captivated my attention from a young age, so my decision to study the subject at the University of Nottingham was a natural extension of these interests. Choosing the University of Nottingham for my history studies was a decision influenced by the institution's outstanding reputation in this field. The university's approach emphasised critical thinking, independent research, and primary source analysis. This aligned perfectly with my skills and aspirations. It offered a platform not just to learn but to engage actively with history – to dissect, discuss, and debate.

Nottingham, as a globally recognised Russell Group university, offered an exceptional academic environment, distinguished by its comprehensive curriculum and a faculty renowned for their research and expertise. The university's approach to history was particularly appealing to me, emphasizing not just the acquisition of knowledge but also the development of analytical and interpretive skills. It provided a platform where historical study was not confined to textbooks but was brought to life through engaging lectures, thought-provoking discussions, and a wide range of interdisciplinary modules.

At Nottingham, history was more than simply memorising facts; it was about learning how to craft compelling arguments through long-form written content, a skill that resonates deeply with my love for writing. The program encouraged us to scrutinise primary sources, to look beyond the surface, and to construct narratives that are both informative and engaging. This rigorous academic training honed my abilities to analyse complex information and articulate my thoughts coherently and persuasively.

At Nottingham, history was taught as a living subject, one that continuously interacts with and informs various aspects of modern life. This dynamic approach to the study of history was instrumental in shaping my intellectual journey, allowing me to explore the multifaceted nature of the past and its ongoing dialogue with the present. The university's rich academic resources, coupled with its vibrant intellectual community, created an ideal setting for delving into the depths of history, cementing it not just as an academic pursuit but a lifelong passion.

The skills and knowledge I gained at Nottingham have been instrumental in my career as a writer and editor, enabling me to approach topics with a critical eye and a nuanced perspective, encapsulated in clear and high-quality writing.

My choice to study history was a choice to understand the world more deeply, to appreciate the richness of human experience, and to develop a perspective that is both informed and nuanced. In essence, studying history was a convergence of my academic interests and personal passions. The University of Nottingham was the perfect crucible for this endeavour, providing an educational experience that was as enriching as it was enlightening. It was here that I found the perfect environment to nurture my skills in writing and analysis and to indulge my curiosity about the factors that have influenced human history. This experience went beyond a period of learning and actively shaped my intellectual identity.

Core Modules: A Chronological Odyssey Through World History

During my time at the University of Nottingham, the heart of my historical studies was encapsulated in four core modules, each addressing a pivotal period in global history.Each of these core modules at the University of Nottingham was instrumental in broadening my understanding of global history. These modules not only provided a comprehensive overview of world history but also offered unique insights into the forces and events that have shaped our modern world. They provided a chronological framework that helped me connect the dots across centuries, enabling me to appreciate the continuity and changes that characterize our world's history.

Introduction to the Medieval World 500–1500

This module was a deep dive into a millennium of history, encompassing the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance. It was a journey through a time of profound change, where empires rose and fell, and the foundations of modern Europe were laid. I explored the complexities of medieval societies, their political structures, cultural achievements, and the everyday lives of people. This module brought to life the narratives of kings and commoners alike, revealing the medieval world as a dynamic and multifaceted era.

From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern History c. 1500–1989

Spanning nearly four centuries, this module examined an era marked by profound religious, political, and intellectual upheaval. It began with the Reformation, a time that saw the fragmentation of Christendom and the rise of nation-states. Moving through the Enlightenment and the age of revolutions, the module offered an in-depth look at the transformative events that led to the formation of the modern state. The ideas and movements studied in this module, from the Reformation to the French Revolution, were pivotal in shaping the ideologies and conflicts that defined later centuries.

Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1789–1945

This module focused on the tumultuous journey from the French Revolution to the end of the Second World War. It was a period that witnessed the rise of industrial societies, the struggle for democracy, and the development of ideologies that would lead to two world wars. The module provided an essential understanding of how these historical developments laid the groundwork for the contemporary world, with a particular emphasis on the social, economic, and political transformations that occurred during this time.

The Contemporary World Since 1945

Bringing us closer to the present, this module covered the period from the end of the Second World War to the early 21st century. It dealt with the Cold War era, decolonization, the rise and fall of ideologies, and the emergence of a globalized world. The module provided a critical perspective on contemporary issues, from geopolitical conflicts to cultural and technological changes. It was an exploration of how recent history has shaped current global dynamics, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Specialised Modules: Tracing Political Shifts and Cultural Transformations

In addition to my core history modules, I pursued a range of specialized modules that allowed me to deepen my understanding of historical phenomena according to my specific interests. These modules provided a detailed examination of some of the most impactful and turbulent periods of 20th-century history. They allowed me to explore my interest in European fascism in depth, while also branching out into other relevant and interconnected areas of historical study.

Germany in the Age of Mass Politics

This module offered an in-depth exploration of Germany's political landscape from the late 19th century through the rise of the Nazi Party. It provided a nuanced understanding of how mass politics, economic upheavals, and societal changes contributed to the radical shift in Germany’s political environment.

The Collapse of the Weimar Republic and European Inter-War Democracies

Focusing on the inter-war period in Europe, this module examined the factors leading to the decline of democratic governments, including the Weimar Republic. It was a deep dive into the political, social, and economic crises that paved the way for authoritarian regimes in Europe.

European Fascisms, 1900–1945

This comprehensive module covered the development and impact of fascist movements across Europe, not just in Germany and Italy but also in other nations. It provided critical insights into the ideologies, policies, and consequences of fascist regimes before and during the Second World War.

Italy and the Second World War

Here, I focused on Italy's role and experiences during World War II, analysing the complex interplay between fascism and warfare. This module offered a detailed look at Mussolini's regime, the Italian society under fascism, and the war's impact on Italy's subsequent history.

De-Industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History c. 1970–1990

Shifting from political to socio-economic history, this module explored the phenomenon of de-industrialisation in the late 20th century. It examined the impact on societies and cultures as economies transitioned from industrial-based to service-based, particularly in the Western world.

From Revelation to ISIS: Apocalyptic Thought From the 1st to the 21st Century

This intriguing module spanned two millennia, tracing the evolution of apocalyptic thought from early religious texts to its manifestations in modern times, including the ideology of extremist groups like ISIS. It provided a fascinating perspective on how apocalyptic beliefs have influenced politics, society, and culture throughout history.

Additional Modules: Expanding Horizons Across Disciplines

In my academic journey at the University of Nottingham, I ventured beyond the confines of history to explore a variety of subjects in other faculties. These additional modules in art history, American studies, philosophy, communications, and more complemented my understanding of historical events and trends and also offered fresh perspectives and new intellectual territories.

Each of these additional modules played a significant role in broadening my academic horizons. They allowed me to integrate my historical knowledge with insights from other disciplines, creating a more rounded and comprehensive understanding of the modern world. This interdisciplinary approach not only enriched my intellectual growth but also equipped me with a diverse set of analytical tools applicable in various contexts, including my career in writing and journalism.

Art, Politics, and Protest in Twentieth Century America

This module in art history provided me with an understanding of how art has been used as a tool for political expression and protest in America. It covered a range of artistic movements and works that reflected the social and political upheavals of the 20th century, from the Civil Rights Movement to the counterculture of the 1960s.

American Violence: A History

In this American studies module, I delved into the historical roots and the evolution of violence in American society. This exploration covered a wide spectrum, from early colonial conflicts to contemporary issues of gun violence and police brutality, offering insights into how violence has shaped, and been shaped by, American culture and policies.

Britain on Film

This module allowed me to explore the history of Britain through the lens of cinema. It was an intriguing journey through British film, examining how national identity, historical events, and social changes have been portrayed and reflected in British cinema over the years.

Communication and Culture

In this communications module, I studied the interplay between communication practices and cultural contexts. It offered a deep dive into how communication shapes and is shaped by cultural norms, values, and societal changes, providing a comprehensive understanding of the role of media and communication in contemporary society.

Communication and Technology

This module examined the impact of technological advancements on communication practices. From the advent of the internet to the rise of social media, I explored how technology has transformed the way we communicate, disseminate information, and perceive the world.

Philosophy and the Contemporary World

In this philosophy module, I engaged with contemporary philosophical debates and ideas. It was an opportunity to think critically about current issues and challenges, from ethical questions in technology and science to debates around identity and social justice.

Dissertation: The Common Conclusions of Interwar British Fascist Movements on Race, 1918–1940

For my dissertation at the University of Nottingham, I embarked on a groundbreaking journey to explore the racial ideas of British fascist movements during the interwar period. My research, titled ‘Our own British Race’: The Common Conclusions of Interwar British Fascist Movements on Race, 1918-1940, was an in-depth investigation into the nuanced and varied racial ideologies that permeated British fascism between the World Wars.

Sir Oswald Mosley leads British Union of Fascists members before a rally in Trafalgar Square, London, 1934 (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images).

This ambitious project required extensive, first-hand research, including visits to archives across the country. Some of the sources I delved into had not been examined since the 1930s, making this venture not just a study but a resurrection of forgotten historical narratives. My focus was primarily on the three major fascist movements of the time: the British Fascisti (BF), Imperial Fascist League (IFL), and British Union of Fascists (BUF). Despite the apparent divergence in their racial discourses, my research revealed underlying commonalities, particularly in their conceptions of a British race and the intertwined notions of Nordicism and anti-Semitism.

The complexity of this subject matter was evident as it had only garnered limited attention from historians in the past. My dissertation demonstrated that while these movements had individualistic racial perspectives shaped by their respective ideologies, they shared overarching themes, especially in their interpretation of British-exceptionalist imperial destiny.

The originality and depth of my research on this relatively unexplored topic were recognized by the University of Nottingham, which encouraged me to continue my investigations. This extended research culminated in a journal article published in the Italian historical journal Diacronie. The article not only contributed to the academic understanding of British fascism but also highlighted the broader significance of these movements in the context of British political and racial thought.

My dissertation journey was a testament to the importance of primary research in uncovering the nuanced realities of history. It underscored the necessity of examining historical ideologies in their entirety, without reductionism, to understand their full impact and legacy. This exploration into the racial ideas of interwar British fascism was not just an academic pursuit; it was an endeavour to piece together a critical segment of our historical understanding, shedding light on a complex and often overlooked aspect of British history.