Associate Professor
Telephone: (01792) 295076
Room: Office - 104
First Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus

I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in History and French and a Master’s in Twentieth Century History. I studied for a PhD at Cardiff University under the supervision of Professor Kevin Passmore. Before coming to the department in 2012, I was lecturer in Modern European History at Birkbeck, University of London (2009-10) and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Cardiff University (2010-2012). I have written on the French veterans’ movement after the First World War and on political violence in interwar France. I have contributed to History Today magazine. Visit my personal webpage for resources for students and researchers of French History.

Current research
Political violence in France, 1918-1940
Scholarship on interwar France has claimed that political violence was a marginal phenomenon. However, studies of extra-parliamentary groups, based on limited research, have suggested that this may not be the case. My project takes research in several new directions. It examines the violence of left- and right-wing groups and the police, and the role and scale of violence in action and discourse between 1918 and 1940. It investigates cultural practices, such as political meetings, and what these can tell us about the unspoken assumptions and rules of violent action. It sets French political violence in its European context, investigating the extent to which foreign groups influenced their French counterparts. The project seeks to develop broader conclusions regarding French republican political culture, principally on the place of violence as an accepted form of expression within the Third Republic.

My project on French veterans of the Great War explores the political mobilisation of the two largest French veterans’ associations during the interwar years, the Union fédérale (UF) and the Union nationale des combattants (UNC).

My profile:

Areas of Expertise

  • Modern France
  • The French Third Republic
  • Vichy France
  • Political Violence
  • terrorism
  • War Veterans and their associations
  • Fascism in interwar Europe


  1. Immigrants and Undesirables: 'Terrorism' and the 'terrorist' in 1930s France. Critical Studies on Terrorism
  2. Were we terrorists? History, terrorism, and the French Resistance. History Compass 16(2), e12440
  3. Getting Away with Murder: Political Violence on Trial in Interwar France. European History Quarterly 48(2), 256-282.
  4. & France and Fascism: February 1934 and the Dynamics of Political Crisis. Routledge.
  5. & (Eds.). Political Violence and Democracy in Western Europe, 1918-1940. Chris Millington and Kevin Passmore (Ed.), Basingstoke: Palgrave.

See more...


  • HI-M80 Directed Reading in History

    Under the guidance of an expert supervisor, students analyse developments in research and historiography relating to a topic in History which they choose from a wide range of options.

  • HIH121 Europe of Extremes: 1789 - 1989

    The nineteenth century saw the rise of a western European civilization, characterized, as Eric Hobsbawm has noted, by capitalist economics, liberal politics, and the dominance of a middle class that celebrated morality and science. In the twentieth century this civilization faced unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies, and from a working class demanding the right to govern in its own name. The result was an eruption of violence not seen on the continent for centuries; in its wake, the Cold War divided the Europe with an Iron Curtain, and saw the continent become the client of two world superpowers ¿ the USA and the Soviet Union. This team-taught module relies on the specialist knowledge of its tutors to examine economic, political and social themes in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe.

  • HIH268 War to Revolution: France and its Empire 1914-1968

    From War to Revolution: France, 1914-1968 From the outbreak of the First World War to the uprising of May 1968, France endured one of the most turbulent periods in its history. The French experienced triumph in 1918 yet political, economic and social crisis almost tore the country apart in the interwar years. After the Nazi invasion of 1940, France entered its darkest years, as collaborators and resisters clashed and the ordinary French faced a daily struggle for survival. New challenges arose in the post-war years with the decline of the French empire, mass immigration, the emergence of the superpowers, and lasting changes in French society. This course covers the major political events and themes in this period, including the Great War, the crisis of the 1930s, the Vichy regime, the Cold War, the end of the French Empire, and the challenge of terrorism. Students will use a variety of sources and will develop an understanding of France¿s history during the twentieth century, the place of France in the wider world and how the French have come to terms with their own past. No knowledge of French is required.

  • HIH3300 History Dissertation

    The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.

  • HIH3319 A History of Violence

    Violence has played a key role in European and world history. This module will explore how cultures of violence have developed from antiquity to modernity. Beginning with Ancient Greece and ending in the twentieth century, this module will chart the changing practice of violence. It will examine how attitudes towards the practice and representation of violence have changed over centuries. Students will explore different aspects of violence, including state sponsored and interpersonal forms. Topics will include warfare, ritual violence such as the dual, criminal violence and state violence, such as judicial torture and executions. A particular theme of the module will be the increasing state monopolization of violence. Students will be introduced to the theoretical literature on organized and individual violence and be challenged to draw comparisons from different epochs. The course questions whether, as has recently been argued, humanity is becoming less violent.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2010 2012 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Cardiff University
2009 2010 Lecturer in Modern European History Birkbeck, University of London

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Undergraduate Admissions Tutor - History

    2014 - Present

  • Director - Conflict, Reconstruction and Memory Research Group (CRAM)

    2016 - Present

Key Grants and Projects

  • Teaching History in the Twenty-First Century - 2015

    British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (Principal Investigator), £15,000

  • Perceptions of Terrorism - 2015

    Welsh Crucible Research Award (Principal Investigator), £6,000

  • Violence during strikes in interwar France (1918-1940) - 2014

    British Academy Small Research Grant (Principal Investigator), £4,000

  • Political violence in interwar France - 2010 - 2012

    British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (Principal Investigator), £242,000

Awards And Prizes

Date Description
2015 Swansea University Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award
2015 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy