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BA, MA, PhD (Cantab)
Geoffrey Cubitt is a Reader in the Department of History, and a member of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past.
His research interests lie partly in the political, intellectual, religious and cultural history of nineteenth-century France, and partly in issues of social memory and in the political, social and cultural aspects of relationships to the past in modern societies more generally.
Geoffrey Cubitt has worked and published on a range of topics in French history between the Revolution and the end of the nineteenth century. Much of this work has been concerned with the political culture and polemical traditions of both Left and Right, and with the interaction between political and religious ideologies. His earlier work concentrated especially on the conspiracy theories that were a prominent feature of French political mentalities during this period. More recently, he has focused on the thought and culture of the Catholic and royalist Right, and on the political uses of history during the first half of the nineteenth century.
He has an active general interest - not confined to French history - in the ways in which relationships to the past are cultivated in human societies, in the political uses of the past, in issues of ‘social memory’ and ‘commemoration’, in political myths, in the role of heroes in politics and culture – and in the part which all of these things play in the construction of national and other identities. These interests have recently been articulated at a general level in his book entitled History and Memory, and have been developed also through his involvement as co-investigator in the AHRC-funded ‘1807 Commemorated’ project, based in the University’s Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past. This project has analysed the ways in which the 2007 Bicentenary of the Act abolishing the British slave trade was marked in Britain, especially within the Museum sector.
Geoffrey Cubitt has a strong interest in developing interdisciplinary approaches to the areas mentioned above, through the study of literature and of the visual arts and through social science methodologies as well as through the more conventional methods of political and intellectual history. He has recently supervised doctoral students undertaking dissertation work on topics like the memory and representation of English Civil War royalism, the memory of slavery and abolition in Liverpool, and awards for civilian bravery in nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain. He would welcome inquiries from students interested in pursuing research in any of the areas indicated above.
Although students wishing to pursue research in French history will need to spend some time working away from York, the J.B. Morrell Library has useful stocks of relevant secondary and periodical literature, and York is well placed for communications with the British Library Lending Division at Boston Spa, and with other libraries in London and in the North of England, where additional materials may be found.