I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where I earned a PhD in History in 2004. I then taught at St Patrick's College (Dublin City University) and NUI Maynooth before moving to the UK in 2007. Since then, I have taught US history at Newcastle University, the University of Essex, and I spent almost nine years at St Mary's University, Twickenham, where I was a Senior Lecturer in US History. I came to the Open University in March 2019.
Broadly speaking, I am a historian of the period we like to call 'The Sixties', with a focus on developments in the United States. Within this, there are two main strands to my research. The first strand concerns the history and practice of protest, and how people engage with the state, and with each other, through the means of grass-roots protest. I did my doctoral research on student protest in France and the US in the sixties, with a focus on the ways that these protest movements shaped, and were in turn shaped by, discourses of gender. More recently, I have written about housing protest in Dublin in the 1960s, setting those protests within the context of global activism and political commemoration.
The second strand looks at the ways we remember and view the sixties through the prism of autobiography. I am currently working on a project that investigates the autobiographies of women activists within the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. How does writing ones own story allow women to assert control over, and subvert, narratives of the past? How do these women shape their stories for a public audience? How do these stories act as extensions of protest and activism?
I have spent most of my career teaching US and broader American history, especially around the themes of race, gender and political change in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the OU, I am on the module team of A326 (Empires) and I also manage tuition on that module. I am a member of the production team for the new module on Empire which will replace A326 in October 2023.
I manage tuition on the MA modules (A825/6 and A883).
I welcome discussions from prospective PhD students with interests in the history of the 1960s, especially women's activist networks.
I am the Treasurer of the Society for the History of Women in the Americas, and I am a co-convenor of a monthly seminar on Gender and History in the Americas at the Institute of the Historical Research.
I held a Visiting Scholar position at the Australian National University in Canberra in July 2019.
Home Sweet Home? Housing Activism and Political Commemoration in Sixties Ireland (2019-04)
History Workshop Journal, 87(1) (pp. 5-26)
Sex and the radical imagination in the Berkeley Barb and the San Francisco Oracle (2018)
Radical Americas, 3(1)
“Not picketing in front of bra factories...”: Marxism, feminism, and the Weather Underground (2021-06)
In: Phelps, Christopher and Vandome, Robin eds. Marxism and America: New Appraisals
ISBN : 978-1-5261-4976-3 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester
Righting Women in the 1960s: Gender, Power and Conservatism in the Pages of The New Guard (2016)
In: Ritchie, Rachel; Hawkins, Sue; Phillips, Nicola and Kleinberg, S. Jay eds. Women in Magazines: Research, Representation, Production and Consumption. Routledge Research in Gender and History (pp. 92-103)
ISBN : 9781138824027 | Publisher : Routledge