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Academic awarded Research Fellowship to examine historical writing during the Cold War

12 December 2012

Dr Nick Witham, Lecturer in American Social and Cultural History at Canterbury Christ Church University, has been elected as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Nick Witham
Dr Nick Witham

His research project, Writing the Narrative History of the United States during the Cold War, will examine public debates that took place in the era amongst prominent American historians and intellectuals.

By exploring the field of narrative history as it was written between 1945 and 1989 by figures such as Richard Hofstadter, John Hope Franklin, Daniel Boorstin and Howard Zinn, Dr Witham hopes to demonstrate the impact of the Cold War on public discussions of the past, and how these shaped the development of American historical writing both at national and international levels.

Dr Witham said: “The meaning of America’s past was a source of regular disagreement in the U.S. public sphere during the Cold War, and debates about ‘the national character’ peppered the discourse of politicians, journalists and political activists.

“The American historical profession played a key role in these debates. They highlighted the importance of public engagement in American historical writing, especially during a period in which discussions of the country’s past changed how the history of the U.S. was written. In this way, American historians played an important role in the process of civic and cultural remembrance.”

Notes to Editor

  • The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities was established in 1969 to promote interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Since its foundation more than 800 scholars from 62 countries have held Institute fellowships.
  • It seeks to bring about collegial dialogue and to further collaborative research by maintaining a number of Fellowship schemes, by conducting regular programs of Seminars, and by developing overarching research themes around which interactions with the local research community are structured.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our recent UK undergraduates are in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2011 UCAS).
  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2010/11 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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