Dr Alex Mayhew

Department of History
Assistant Professor in the Social and Cultural History of the First World War

Contact details

Address
Department of History
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Alex is a historian of modern Britain and the First World War with a particular interest in combatants’ identities and endurance. His research focusses on the experience of conflict, military morale, national identities, and perceptions of crisis. Alex’s work has appeared in the journals War in History and The Historical Journal whilst his first monograph Making Sense of the Great War: Crisis, Englishness, and Morale on the Western Front is due to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2023.

Qualifications

  • PhD International History, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • PGCertHE, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • BA (Hons) History, 1st Class, King’s College London

Biography

Alex undertook his doctorate at the London School of Economics between 2014 and 2018 after graduating with from King’s College London in 2013 with the top first in modern history. At the LSE, he held an LSE PhD scholarship with his PhD being awarded a further international prize by the Historial de la Grande Guerre, France, in 2017. During this time, he taught in the Department of International History and on LSE100, which is the school’s flagship interdisciplinary programme for undergraduates.

After completing his thesis in 2018, he worked as an LSE Fellow for LSE100 and co-designed a social science module on Artificial Intelligence, as well as helping to redesign the programme entirely in 2020-21. Following this, he spent a year working as a Learning Developer in LSE LIFE. Outside of the LSE, he has worked as an educational consultant and helped organisations develop courses on topics such as historical skills or sustainability.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Co-Instructor: Practicing History A + B
  • Co-Instructor: Pandora’s Box: Europe and the First World War
  • Co-Instructor: History in Theory and Practice B
  • Supervisor: Group Research – Birmingham during the First World War

Masters

  • Programme Convenor: MA First World War Studies
  • Module Convenor and Instructor: Methods and Sources in First World War Studies
  • Module Convenor and Instructor: Keep the Home Fires Burning – Life on the Home Fronts during the First World War

Research

Alex is particularly interested in the ways in which individuals navigate crises – the First World War providing an excellent case study of this. His work has explored soldiers’ morale, their sensemaking and psychologies, as well as their relationship with society and the environment. This is the topic of his first book, Making Sense of the Great War, and has informed much of his work to date. His research has been published in War Time (an edited collection published by Routledge) as well as academic journals including War in History, The Historical Journal, and The English Historical Review (forthcoming). Alex was recently chosen by the International Society for First World War Studies to deliver their second annual Denis Showalter Memorial Lecture for an Emerging Scholar. In this he will explore what the Great War reveals about the nature of crisis. His next project will investigate individuals’ perceptions of the past and of history during 1914-18.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Mayhew, A 2023, Making Sense of the Great War: Crisis, Englishness, and Morale on the Western Front. Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare, Cambridge University Press.

Article

Mayhew, A 2021, ''A war imagined': postcards and the maintenance of long distance relationships during the Great War', War in History, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 301-332. https://doi.org/10.1177/0968344519831039

Mayhew, A 2021, 'British Expeditionary Force vegetable shows, allotment culture, and life behind the lines during the Great War', Historical Journal, vol. 64, no. 5, pp. 1355-1378. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X20000631

Mayhew, A 2021, 'English patriotism and the implicit nation: soldiers' national identity during the Great War', English Historical Review. <https://academic.oup.com/ehr>

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Mayhew, A 2018, Hoping for Victorious Peace: Morale and the Future on the Western Front, 1914-1918. in L Halewood, A Luptak & H Smyth (eds), War Time: First World War Perspectives on Temporality. Routledge Studies in First World War History, Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 194-219.

Book/Film/Article review

Mayhew, A 2019, 'Morale: A Modern British History. By Daniel Ussishkin', Twentieth Century British History, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 436-466.

Conference contribution

Mayhew, A 2020, Mud, blood and not so much poppycock. in G Romano & K Baird (eds), The Enduring Impact of the First World War: A Collection of Perspectives. Bulletin of the Auckland Museum, vol. 21, Auckland Museum, pp. 39-44, The Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its Legacy Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand, 25/04/16. https://doi.org/10.32912/bulletin/21/7

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Mayhew, A 2021, Historiography 1918-today (Great Britain). in U Daniel, P Gatrell, O Janz, H Jones, J Keene, A Kramer & B Nasson (eds), 1914-1918-online: international encyclopedia of the First World War. Freie Universität Berlin, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.15463/ie1418.11509

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Academic: First World War; Military History; Military Morale; Military Endurance; The Western Front; Modern Britain; National Identity.

Pedagogical: Learning and Programme Design; Interdisciplinary Education; Problem Based Learning.

Media experience

  • Podcast from the Past
  • Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast
  • JC Niala Presents 1918 Allotment
  • Times Radio
  • The Times