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Dr Matthew Lewis

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School of Humanities and Social Science (History)

Violent pathways

In today's globalised world, with the increasing movement of peoples across borders and continents, could violent practices and mentalities move with them? Dr Matthew Lewis, a post-doctoral researcher with the Centre for the History of Violence, sheds light on this issue in his comparative study of British policing in Ireland and Palestine after the First World War.

Dr Matthew Lewis"My new project looks at British paramilitary police who served in Ireland during the war of independence, and who then went to Palestine to police the conflict between the Arab and Jewish communities," said Dr Lewis.

"They were mostly veterans of the First World War. They got a bad reputation in Ireland for their involvement in reprisals and extrajudicial killings, and the assumption has been that they brought these same rough methods with them to Palestine."

Dr Lewis' study offers a new perspective on the causes and dynamics of colonial violence in contrasting situations of imperial decline and acquisition, and examines the extent to which violent methods and mentalities were transmitted from one conflict situation to another.

"Some historians have argued that the First World War brutalized belligerent societies – those who fought, the public at large, governments – and that this had a profound impact on the post-war world," said Dr Lewis.

"This idea has informed debates about British paramilitaries in Ireland. But it has been challenged in recent times, and my project is in a unique position to test the competing ideas that have emerged around that debate."

After completing his doctorate in History at Queen's University, Belfast, in 2011, Dr Lewis joined the Centre for War Studies at University College, Dublin. Here, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the European Research Council funded project The Limits of Demobilization: Paramilitary Violence in Europe and the Wider World, 1917-1923.

Now, as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Newcastle's Centre for the History of Violence, Dr Lewis will contribute significantly to producing research with relevance and appeal beyond the academic world.

The Centre for the History of Violence explores every aspect of the history of violence, including concepts of violence, representations of violence, questions of interpersonal violence and issues of political and cultural violence.

Some historians have argued that the First World War brutalized belligerent societies – those who fought, the public at large, governments – and that this had a profound impact on the post-war world

The themes of Dr Lewis' work have compelling contemporary relevance. He addresses three aspects of the history of violence: government responses to insurgency and ethnic conflict; the practical challenges imposed by such campaigns; and the difficulties of maintaining order in times of transition. By considering these issues in a well-documented historical setting, this research has the potential to positively inform the analysis of contemporary circumstances.

Along with his work on this project, Dr Lewis released his first book in 2014 – Frank Aiken's War: The Irish Revolution, 1916-1923. Based on research for his 2011 doctoral thesis, it explores the controversial revolutionary past of one of independent Ireland's most prominent politicians and international statesmen, and the broader context of republican politics and violence in the borderlands of south-east Ulster amid the upheavals of revolution, partition and civil war.

During 2015, he will co-convene The First World War: Local, Global and Imperial Perspectives conference, which is hosted by the Centre for the History of Violence. This event will seek to refocus discussion of the First World War and promote a greater appreciation of the conflict's often omitted local, global and imperial contexts. 

Dr Lewis is also on the organisation committee for the 2015 Australasian Association for European History (AAEH) XXIV Biennial Conference: War, Violence, Aftermaths: Europe and the Wider World, which will be held at the University of Newcastle for the first time.

Violent pathways - Dr Matthew Lewis

Violent pathways

Dr Matthew Lewis questions whether violent practices and mentalities move across borders with people during war

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Career Summary

Biography

Dr Matthew Lewis is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for the History of Violence. Until September 2013, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for War Studies at University College Dublin, where he worked on the European Research Council funded project ‘The Limits of Demobilization: Paramilitary Violence in Europe and the Wider World, 1917–1923’. He completed his doctorate at Queen's University Belfast in 2011.

Research Expertise
My research focuses on late modern Irish history and twentieth-century British imperial history, with particular interests in the Irish Revolution and British colonial policing. At present, I am working on a comparative study of paramilitarism as an aspect of British policing in Ireland and Palestine after the First World War (1920-1926). I am particularly interested in assessing the role of intra-imperial movement in the transfer of violent mentalities and practices between conflict situations. In 2014, I will publish my first book with University College Dublin Press, Frank Aiken's War: The Irish Revolution, 1916-1923. Based on research for my 2011 doctoral thesis, it explores the controversial revolutionary past of one of independent Ireland's most prominent politicians and international statesmen, and the broader context of republican politics and violence in the borderlands of south-east Ulster amid the upheavals of revolution, partition and civil war.

Teaching Expertise
Since 2010, I have taught a variety of courses on Irish and European history. These have included survey courses on twentieth-century Irish history and the history of political violence in twentieth-century Europe, as well as specialist courses on the Irish Revolution and the Third Reich.






Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queens University of Belfast - Ireland

Keywords

  • British Colonial Policing
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Irish Revolution
  • Late Modern Ireland
  • Palestine Mandate
  • Political Violence

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified 60
210305 British History 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/09/2012 - 1/09/2013 Postdoctoral Fellow University College Dublin
Centre for War Studies
Ireland
1/05/2012 - 1/10/2012 Peer-Assisted Learning Facilitator Queen's University Belfast
Postgraduate Centre
United Kingdom
1/09/2011 - 1/12/2011 University Tutor Queen's University Belfast
School of History & Anthropology
United Kingdom

Teaching appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/02/2010 - 1/06/2010 Teaching Assistant Queen's University Belfast
School of History & Anthropology
United Kingdom
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Book (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Lewis M, Frank Aiken's War: The Irish Revolution, 1916-23, University College Dublin Press, Dublin, 250 (2014) [A1]

Journal article (3 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Lewis M, McDaid S, ''Bosnia on the Border? Republican Violence in Northern Ireland During the 1920s and 1970s'', Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-21 (2015)
DOI 10.1080/09546553.2015.1043429
2014 Lewis M, 'The Fourth Northern Division and the Joint-IRA Offensive, April-July 1922', War in History, 21 302-321 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1177/0968344513505400
2010 Lewis M, 'The Newry Brigade and the War of Independence in Armagh and South Down, 1919-1921', The Irish Sword: the journal of the military history society of lreland, 27 225-232 (2010) [C1]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 2
Total funding $95,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20142 grants / $95,000

Violence Studies$90,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team Professor Philip Dwyer, Associate Professor Hans Lukas Kieser, Professor Roger Markwick, Doctor Lisa Featherstone, Doctor Michael Ondaatje, Doctor Shigeru Sato, Doctor Matthew Lewis
Scheme Research Programme 2014
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1400927
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

British paramilitary violence in Ireland and Palestine, 1920–1926$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Matthew Lewis
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1400606
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Dr Matthew Lewis

Position

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

History

Contact Details

Email matthew.lewis@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 49215230

Office

Room MCLG22b
Building McMullin Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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