Dr Claire Langhamer
|Post:||Senior Lecturer in History (History, Centre for the History of War and Society)|
|Location:||Arts A A167|
|UK:||(01273) 606755 ext. 2163|
|International:||+44 1273 606755 ext. 2163|
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BiographyI completed my first degree in History at Manchester University in 1991. I did my doctoral research with Dave Russell at the University of Central Lancashire and taught there, and at Liverpool University, before starting at Sussex in 1998.
RoleSenior Lecturer in History
Community and Business
My recent media work includes being interviewed by Madness front man Suggs for 'A History of the World: Brighton, the First Resort' (BBC 2, 2010), appearing as a panellist in the BBC3 Freethinking Festival debate, 'Is Marriage in Peril' broadcast on Radio 3 in November 2010, and contributing to Word of Mouth's, `History of the Microphone' (Radio 4, January 2011), Timeshift's 'The Rules of Drinking' (January 2012) and a Radio 4 Today series on Mass Observation (Spring 2012) which culminated in Mass Observation serving as the 'Today' programme editor on Boxing Day 2012. In August 2012 I helped Masterchef host Gregg Wallace trace his family history in the BBC1 programme 'Who Do You Think You Are?'.
Leisure: My first book explored the complex relationship between women and leisure in England across the period 1920-1960. Departing from approaches which have focused upon particular activities or institutions, Women's Leisure in England, 1920-1960, everyday experiences at its centre and paid particular attention to the meanings and understandings of leisure which emerge from the oral history method. The book argued that experiences and perceptions of leisure were fundamentally structured along life-cycle lines: leisure in youth was often characterised by freedom and independence whilst leisure in adulthood became a vehicle for service and duty to others.
Love: My book on twentieth century love, The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution, will be published by Oxford University Press in August 2013.
The project starts from the premise that love has a history: that it has meant different things to different people at different moments of the past and has served different purposes. The book tells the story of love at a crucial point, a moment when the emotional landscape changed dramatically for large numbers of people. It is a story based in Britain, but informed by America, and covers the period from the end of the First World War until the break up of The Beatles. It describes a fundamental shift in the value attached to emotional intimacy within heterosexual encounters as marriage came to be seen less as a religiously sanctioned institution and more as a relationship based on love and sex. Until at least 1970 more people married than ever before and they did so at increasingly younger ages. To the casual observer it was a golden age of marriage. And yet, romantic love, particularly when tied to sexual satisfaction, often proved an unreliable foundation upon which to build marriages: it had the potential to evaporate over time and under pressure. Scratching beneath the surface of the golden age then, the book uncovers a twentieth century of quiet emotional instability. In fact a number of unsettling questions about life and love emerged in this period. What, contemporaries asked, was the correct balance between love, romance and passion and were they even compatible? How central was love to partner selection and did pragmatism also have a role? Could, indeed should, marriages survive in the absence of love? Was falling in love a unique or a repeatable experience? Did one perfect partner or soul mate exist? Could a love affair alone lead to self-fulfilment? Crucially, concerns emerged about how to balance desire, agency and social obligation. If people were not responsible for falling in and out of love, as Mary Grant of the Woman¿s Own problem page suggested in 1950, what would happen to lifelong commitment? The book suggests that a matrimonial model based upon the transformative power of love carried within it the seeds of its own destruction. The end of century decline of life long marriage was rooted in the contradictions, tensions, and illogicalities that lay at the heart of mid-century intimacy.
At the core of this project is a focus on the everyday. The book uncovers the sometimes messy, but often extraordinary, complexities of romantic life. It draws upon the life histories held by the Mass Observation Archive, widely acknowledged to be the most important repository for the detailed study of twentieth-century social worlds in Britain in addition to a diverse range of other twentieth century materials. This research developed out of a focus upon courtship and leisure and further develops an interest in life history research and the Mass-Observation archive in particular. I have published articles from this project in Historical Journal and History Workshop Journal. The most recent article is 'Love, Selfhood and Authenticity in Post war Britain' in Cultural and Social History, 9:2, 2012.
I have delivered seminar papers on the project at Sussex, Oxford, Cambridge, and York University, Canada. Conference papers from this project include:
'Everyday Love in Mid-Century Britain', New Histories of Love and Romance, May 2012.
'Love in the 1950s', ESRC Seminar Series, Women in The 1950s, May 2011.
'Commissioning a Mass-Observation Directive', ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, Network for Methodological Innovation, 2008, `Archiving and Reusing Qualitative Data. Theory, Methods, Ethics and Disciplines, `Methods and the Archive' Seminar, 2008.
'Love, Passion and 1950s Girlhood', 1950s Women Network Symposium, `The forgotten generation. Girls and young women in the 1950s'. 2008.
'What does it mean to really be in love?' The authenticity of emotional intimacy in mid-century England.' Social History Society Conference, 2008.
'Prostitution in the Golden Age of Marriage', European Social Science History Conference, 2008.
'Courtship, Gender and Class in Postwar Britain'. Social History Society Conference, 2007.
'Adultery in Postwar England', Social History Society Conference, 2006.
Happiness: My second current research area is a collaborative project with Professor Ian Gazeley (Sussex) on happiness and economic well-being in 1930s Britain, based on the analysis of a Mass Observation study carried out in 1938. This inquiry asked respondents to define what happiness meant to them. This was followed-up with a questionnaire that asked individuals to provide details of their occupation, employment status, age and gender, and then to rank order eight factors making for happiness. The survey of 223 individuals was carried out at an important point during the interwar years, when fears of war were growing and unemployment remained stubbornly high. I presented a keynote address on this research to the Researching Leisure Lives Conference in Bolton in April 2011. I also presented a paper, `The meanings of Happiness in Mass Observation's Bolton, at `Framing the City': the CRESC annual conference 2011. An article 'Happiness in Mass Observation's Bolton', with Ian Gazeley, is now available advance online in History Workshop Journal, and is published in issue 75, Spring 2013.
Capital Punishment: I have also recently completed a research project on everyday feelings about the death penalty in postwar Britain. This research is based on two Mass Observation surveys, conducted in 1948 and 1955, and further develops my interest in the ways in which 'ordinary' people understand the social world. I presented papers on this research at Kings and Nottingham in 2012. My article 'The live dynamic whole of feeling and behaviour: Capital Punishment and the Politics of Emotion, 1945-57', is published in Journal of British Studies, 51: 2, 2012.
New Projects: I am currently writing on everyday romantic advice, twentieth-century bigamy and servicemen's hopes for the future at the end of the Second World War. My article on the reception of magazine problem page advice, 'Everyday advice on everyday love: romantic expertise in twentieth century Britain', is published in L'Homme. European Journal of Feminist History, 24:1, 2013.
Journal work: Since 2010 I have been co-editor of Twentieth Century British History. http://tcbh.oxfordjournals.org/ I am also on the Editorial boards of Women's History Review (for which I acted as book reviews editor) and History of the Family: an international quarterly (which I also edited). I was a consultant editor for Mass Observation Online and am a Mass Observation Trustee. I was a member of the Social History Society exec committee, 2006-2009.
Research Grants: Between 2008-2011, I co-organised the interdisciplinary network - Women in the 1950s - with Dr Penny Tinkler (Sociology, University of Manchester), Dr Stephanie Spencer (Faculty of Education, University of Winchester) The network aimed to shed light on a hitherto neglected generation of girls and women and facilitate reflection on the relationship between the 1950s and the 1960s/1970s, particularly in light of the Women's Liberation Movement. The Network organised two exploratory symposia: 'The forgotten generation. Girls and young women in the 1950s' (September, 2008, London) and 'Fifties Film: women and gender in focus' (May 2009, Sussex). It was then awarded a grant in the ESRC Research Seminars Competition and a two year seminar series commenced in November 2009 with a seminar in Manchester on Glamour. This was followed by seminars on the Housewife, Sensory Sources, Photography, Girlhood, and Love. A link is available here. http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/disciplines/sociology/about/events/esrcseminars/">http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/disciplines/sociology/about/events/esrcseminars/
I was awarded the University of Sussex Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003 and again in 2012 after being nominated by a group of students.
I currently teach undergraduate courses in modern British history. These include a special subject entitled Domesticity and its Discontents - Women in Postwar Britain and the time and place course 1963 - Sexual Revolution in Britain. I have also taught courses such as Britain in the Twentieth Century; Feminism; The Social History of Women 1870-1920; Imagining the North; Introduction to Contemporary History; Women in Society.
At postgraduate level I have taught courses on Critical Approaches to Mass Observation; Historical Skills and Methods - doing a research project; The History of Feminism, Women's Lives, Life Histories and Social Change; Making a Contemporary History Video Documentary.
I currently supervise or co-supervises ten doctoral students.
Recent doctoral completions include:
Jen Purcell, 'Beyond Home: Housewives and the Nation. Private and Public Identities, 1939-1949.' (2008)
Christine Jesman, 'Conservative Women, The Primrose League and Public Activity in Surrey & Sussex c.1880-1902' (2008)
Benjamin Jones, 'Neighbourhood, family and home: the working class experience in mid-twentieth century Britain' (2009)
Lorraine Sitzia, 'Telling People's Histories: An Exploration of Community History-Making from 1970-2000.' (2010)
Samantha Carroll, 'Fill the jails': identity, structure and method in the Committee of 100, 1960-1968.' (2011)
Student ConsultationOut of term: by appointment.
Langhamer, Claire (2013) The English in love. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780199594436 (In Press)
Langhamer, Claire (2013) Everyday advice on everyday love: romantic expertise in mid-twentieth century Britain. L'HOMME, European Journal of Feminist History, 24 (1). (In Press)
Gazeley, Ian and Langhamer, Claire (2012) The meanings of Happiness in Mass-Observation's Bolton. History Workshop Journal. ISSN 1477-4569
Gazeley, Ian and Langhamer, Claire (2012) The meanings of happiness in Mass Observation's Bolton. History Workshop Journal, 75 (1). pp. 159-189. ISSN 1363-3554
Langhamer, Claire (2012) Love, selfhood and authenticity in post-war Britain. Cultural and Social History, 9 (2). pp. 277-297. ISSN 1478-0046
Langhamer, Claire (2012) 'The Live Dynamic Whole of Feeling and Behavior': capital punishment and the politics of emotion, 1945-1957. Journal of British Studies, 51 (2). pp. 416-441. ISSN 0021-9371
Langhamer, Claire (2008) Leisure: comparative history and practices. In: The Oxford encyclopedia of women in world history. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195148909
Langhamer, Claire (2007) Love and courtship in mid-twentieth-century England. Historical Journal, 50 (1). pp. 173-196. ISSN 0018-246X
Langhamer, Claire (2007) Mass Observation and histories of women. Mass Observation.
Langhamer, Claire (2006) Adultery in post-war England. History Workshop Journal, 62 (1). pp. 86-115. ISSN 1363-3554
Langhamer, Claire (2005) The meanings of home in postwar Britain. Journal of Contemporary History, 40 (2). pp. 341-362. ISSN 0022-0094
Langhamer, Claire (2004) Leisure, pleasure and courtship: young women in England, c.1920-1960. In: Secret gardens, satanic mills: placing girls in European history, 1750-1960. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253344496
Langhamer, Claire (2003) 'A public house is for all classes, men and women alike': women, leisure and drink in Second World War England. Women's History Review, 12 (3). pp. 423-443. ISSN 0961-2025
Langhamer, Claire (2001) Towards a feminist framework for the history of women's leisure, c. 1920-1960. In: Re-presenting the past: women and history. Longman. ISBN 9780582382190
Langhamer, Claire (2000) Women's leisure in England, 1920-1960. Studies in popular culture . Manchester University Press, 220pp. ISBN 9780719057373
Langhamer, Claire (1999) Manchester women and their leisure: changing experiences from youth to married adulthood, 1920-1960. Manchester Region History Review, XIII. pp. 32-42. ISSN 9524320
Langhamer, Claire (1995) Women's leisure in the life cycle: an oral history study of Manchester women 1920-1960. Women's History Notebooks, 2 (2). ISSN 1358-1457