Professor Gavin Schaffer BA Hons, MPhil, PhD

Professor Gavin Schaffer

Department of History
Professor of British History
Director of Postgraduate Studies

Contact details

Address
Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I am a specialist in race and immigration history and have a particular interest in racial science, race and the media and the history of racial violence. My present research also focuses on constructions of Jewish history and the treatment of minorities in Britain during the Second World War.

Qualifications

  • 2000-2003: PhD History, University of Southampton
  • 1999-2000:  MPhil Twentieth Century British History, University of Birmingham
  • 1996-1999: BA (Hons) Medieval & Modern History, Class 1,  University of Birmingham

Biography

I joined the School of History and Cultures as Lecturer in British history in September 2010. At the beginning of my career, I studied for my PhD under the supervision of Tony Kushner at the Parkes Centre for Jewish/Non Jewish Studies at the University of Southampton, where I remain an Honorary Fellow. Prior to joining this department, I worked for seven years as lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Portsmouth.  Before starting my present post as the University of Birmingham’s Director of Postgraduate Studies, I worked for two years as the University’s Director of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Second year: Jews in Twentieth-Century Britain
  • Third year: Race and Immigration in Twentieth-Century Britain

Postgraduate

  • Historical Methods

Postgraduate supervision

I presently supervise four PhD students.  I am keen to offer supervision in the following areas:

  • Racial Science and Eugenics
  • British Immigration Histories
  • The History of Race and Racism
  • Social History of the Second World War
  • Modern Jewish History
  • The History of Television
  • The History of Comedy

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

I am a social and cultural historian specialising in the history of race and immigration in the twentieth century. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which racial ideas have been formulated and disseminated. I have spent several years researching the place of race in science, research which led to my 2008 monograph, Racial Science and British Society. Subsequently, I have written a monograph about racism and the media, looking in detail at television’s attempts to deal with multiculturalism in the 1960s and 1970s. Alongside my work on race, I am also interested in the history of immigrants and minorities, Jewish history, the history of comedy, and the social history of modern warfare, especially the Second World War.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Schaffer, G 2014, The vision of a nation: making multiculturalism on British Television 1960-80. Palgrave Macmillan. <https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9780230292970>

Schaffer, G 2008, Racial Science and British Society 1930-62. Palgrave Macmillan.

Article

Nasar, S & Schaffer, G 2019, 'The Poetics of Narrativity: Understanding Trauma, Temporality and Spatiality 40 years after the Birmingham Pub Bombings ', Journal of Social History. https://doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shz004

Schaffer, G 2019, 'Zionism, Aliyah, and the Jews of Glasgow: belonging and believing in postwar Britain', Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 267-294. https://doi.org/10.5703/shofar.37.3.0267

Schaffer, G & Nasar, S 2018, 'The White Essential Subject: Race, Ethnicity, and the Irish in Postwar Britain ', Contemporary British History, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 209-230. https://doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2018.1455031

Schaffer, G 2018, 'The limits of the ‘Liberal imagination’: Britain, broadcasting, and apartheid South Africa, 1948-1994', Past & Present, vol. 240, no. 1, pp. 235–266. https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gty005

Schaffer, G 2016, 'Fighting Thatcher with comedy: What to do when there is no alternative', Journal of British Studies, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 374-397. https://doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2015.229

Schaffer, G 2014, 'Legislating against hatred: Meaning and Motive in Section Six of the Race Relations Act of 1965', Twentieth Century British History, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 251-275. https://doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hws053

Schaffer, G 2012, 'Unmasking the 'muscle Jew':the Jewish soldier in British war service, 1899-1945', Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 46, no. 3-4, pp. 375-396. https://doi.org/10.1080/0031322X.2012.701809

Schaffer, G 2010, 'Fighting Racism: Black Soldiers and Workers in Britain during the Second World War', Immigrants and Minorities, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 246-265. https://doi.org/10.1080/02619288.2010.484250

Schaffer, G 2010, 'Till Death Us Do Part and the BBC: Racial Politics and the British Working Classes 1965--75', Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 454-477. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022009409356914

Schaffer, G 2008, 'Assets or 'aliens'? Race science and the analysis of Jewish intelligence in inter war Britain', Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 191-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313220801996105

Schaffer, G 2006, 'Re-thinking the history of blame: Britain and minorities during the Second World War', National Identities, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 401-419. https://doi.org/10.1080/14608940601052065

Anthology

Schaffer, G (ed.) 2013, Racializing the Soldier. Routledge, London.

Editorial

Schaffer, G (ed.) 2012, 'Racializing the soldier: an introduction', Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 46, no. 3-4, pp. 209-213. https://doi.org/10.1080/0031322X.2012.701490

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