Dr Laura Beers AB, PhD, FRHistS

Dr Laura Beers

Department of History
Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a senior lecturer in Modern British History. My primary research interest is political history, particularly the intersection between politics and the mass media, the relationship between politics and gender, and international politics between the two World Wars.


  • AB Princeton University
  • PhD Harvard University
  • MA Harvard University


Before joining the University of Birmingham I was an Assistant Professor at American University in Washington, DC. I did my PhD at Harvard University and received my degree in June 2007. While completing my PhD, I held fellowships at Warwick University and the Institute of Historical research in London. I have held post-doctoral fellowships from the Economic and Social Research Council and Newnham College, Cambridge. During academic year 2011-12, I held a Leverhulme Trust fellowship at Exeter University.

Postgraduate supervision

I am open to supervising postgrads in modern British history, specifically projects relating to politics, the media, and gender.

I currently co-supervise David Civil’s doctoral research on "The Rise of Meritocratic Discourse: Appropriation, Adaptation and Transformation, 1958-2000” 


I am the author of Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist (Harvard, 2016), which uses the life of Ellen Wilkinson, a founding member of the British Communist Party and Britain’s second female cabinet minister, to explore the intersections between the British and international left in the first-half of the twentieth century.  

My first book, Your Britain: Media and the Making of the Labour Party (Harvard University Press, 2010) dealt with the changing relationship between the mass media and progressive politics in the age of mass democracy.

I am the co-editor of Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation-Building in Britain between the Wars (Institute of Historical Research Press, 2012), and have published several articles on interwar British politics. 

I am currently interested in the history of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the politics of reproductive health.



  • Your Britain: Media and the Making of the Labour Party (Harvard University Press)

Journal articles

  • Model MP?: Ellen Wilkinson, gender, politics and celebrity culture in interwar Britain. Cultural and Social History, Vol. 10, no 2 (June 2013): 231-250.
  • Feminism and Sexuality in Ellen Wilkinson’s Fiction. Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 64, no. 2 (2011): 248-262.
  • Punting on the Thames: Political Betting in Interwar Britain. Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 45, no. 2 (2010), 282-314.
  • ‘Is this man an anarchist?’: industrial action, publicity and public opinion in Britain, 1919-1926. Journal of Modern History, vol. 82, no. 1 (Mar. 2010), 30-60.
  • Labour’s Britain, Fight for it Now!, Historical Journal, vol. 52, no. 3 (Sept. 2009), 667-695.
  • Education or manipulation?: Labour, democracy and the popular press in interwar Britain. Journal of British Studies, vol. 48, no. 1 (Jan. 2009): 129-52.
  • Whose Opinion?: changing attitudes towards opinion polling in British politics, 1938-1964. Twentieth Century British History, vol. 17, issue 2 (2006): 177-205.

Chapters in edited volumes

  • Feminist Responses to Thatcher and Thatcherism. In Rethinking Right-Wing Women, Clarisse Berthezene and Julie Gottlieb, eds. (Manchester University Press, in press 2017).
  • Women organizing for democracy: agency and limits of civil society activism. In Normalitaet und Fragilitaet, Demokratie nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg, Adam Tooze and Tim Mueller, eds. (Hamburger Edition HIS Verlagsgesellschaft, 2015).
  • Advocating for a Feminist Internationalism between the Wars. In Women, Diplomacy, and International Politics since 1500, Carolyn James and Glenda Sluga, eds. (Routledge, 2015).
  • ‘Women for Westminster,’ feminism, and the limits of non-partisan associational culture. In The Aftermath of Suffrage, Julie Gottlieb and Richard Toye, eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
  • Thatcher and the Women’s Vote. In Making Thatcher's Britain, Ben Jackson and Robert Saunders, eds. (Cambridge, 2012).
  • Introduction and ‘A timid disbelief in the equality to which lip-service is constantly paid’: gender, politics and the press between the wars.  In Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation-Building between the Wars, Laura Beers and Geraint Thomas, eds. (Institute of Historical Research, 2012).
  • Polling public opinion before opinion polling: election prediction between the wars. In Numbers, Norms and the People: Statistics and the Public Sphere in Modern Britain, c. 1750-2000, Tom Crook and Glen O’Hara, eds. (Routledge, 2011).
  • Counter-Toryism: Labour’s response to anti-socialist propaganda, 1918-1939. In The Foundations of the Labour Party: Identities, Cultures and Perspectives, 1900-39, Matthew Worley, ed. (Ashgate, 2009).