I work on the cultural history of 20th century Britain, with a particular interest in gender, sexualities and selfhood. My earlier research explored the relationship between the city, social practice and sexual identities--how modern urban culture shaped the ways in which men and women experienced, organised and understood their sexual desires and practices. Part of this was published as Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-57 by the University of Chicago Press in 2005. Queer London was awarded both the Longman-History Today Book of the Year Prize and the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize for the best first book on British history.
Since I finished Queer London, I've worked on a variety of different projects that have grown out of things I've become interested in while teaching on Britain during and after the Great War. Among other things, this has resulted in articles on cosmetics, culture and the law in interwar London and an attempt to use Edith Thompson's letters to explore the relationship between reading and self-fashioning in the 1920s. Most recently, I have begun to focus more systematically on what seems to be a profound public fascination with individuals who 'faked it' between the wars - who crossed boundaries of class, gender, race, ethnicity or age in masquerading as something they were not. I’m interested, in particular, in what lives like this can tell us about the relationship between British society and culture and changing ideas of selfhood after the Great War. I am currently completing two books that have grown out of these interests: The Prince of Tricksters: Cultures of Confidence in Interwar Britain (for the University of Chicago Press) and The Aftermath: The Great War and the Making of 1920s Britain (for Profile Books). You can find out more about these research projects: https://tricksterprince.wordpress.com/my-current-projects/.