History scholar takes up visiting fellow position in Newcastle

Thursday, 31 August 2017

International scholar, Professor Michael Roper, from the University of Essex, will take up a visiting fellow position with the Centre for the History of Violence in September.

Professor Michael Roper
Professor Michael Roper

With a background in the study of masculinity, psychoanalysis, biography and personal testimony, Professor Roper will bring to UoN expertise on the long-term emotional effects of the First World War.

Professor Roper’s current research focus investigates the impact of war on families and domestic life in Britain and Australia across the twentieth century; in particular, its impact on the descendants of combatants - children and grand-children - who grew up with the physical and emotional legacies of conflicts before their time.

“My British research focuses on childhood after the First World War and draws on oral testimony. This was a generation which had no direct experience of the conflict, but whose parents carried its traces in their minds and on their bodies,” Professor Roper said.

However his Australian visit has a personal purpose to it as well.

“I’m here in Australia doing some research on my own family, from the domestic aftermath of my grandfather’s experience at Gallipoli and the Middle-East, to my own childhood in the Cold War, growing up with a father who was a spy. While in Newcastle I’m hoping to get across to the National Archives in Canberra, to look at the briefs my father produced for the Petrov Royal Commission,” Professor Roper said.

“I’m very excited about meeting and working with my colleagues in the Centre for the History of Violence. The Centre is pioneering work on the global history of violence – to my knowledge there is no equivalent in the UK,” Professor Roper said.

Dr Elizabeth Roberts-Pedersen of the Centre for the History of Violence says Professor Roper is a crucial voice in the historiography of masculinity and war.

“It’s excellent to have someone of his calibre at UoN who is leading research on the emotional toll of World War One, masculinity in wartime, trauma, and the history of psychoanalysis.  His work on World War One has been crucial in forging nuanced social and cultural histories of that conflict, with important ramifications for the way historians think about the impacts of war. It foregrounds lots of the work I’m doing on the consequences of World War Two for psychiatric theory and practice, for example ,” Dr Roberts-Pedersen said.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.