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Dr Mark Donnelly

Advanced Lecturer - History

Dr Mark Donnelly

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4080


Dr Mark Donnelly is Senior Lecturer and Teaching Fellow in History. He is also co-director of the Centre for the Philosophy of History. He teaches undergraduate modules on historiography and theory, contemporary cultural history, revolutions, war memory, and the 1960s. At postgraduate level he is responsible for designing the Public History MA.

Mark's recent books include Sixties Britain: Culture, Society and Politics (2005) and Doing History (2011) (co-authored with Claire Norton). His latest book, Liberating Histories: truths, power, ethics (with Claire Norton) is due to be published by Routledge.

His article on Peter Whitehead's 1965 documentary film Wholly Communion was published in a themed edition of the US journal Framework in 2011. He has also just completed articles on Michael Winterbottom’s film Welcome to Sarajevo, and the cultural politics of the historiography of sixties Britain. 

His study of commemorative activities to mark the liberations of Auschwitz and Belsen will be published in Britain and the Holocaust (2013).   

He was recently invited to deliver the opening lecture for a study day exploring the 1960s at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on 16 June 2012. He also co-organised a conference on ‘Mad Dogs and Englishness: Popular Music and English National Identities’ at St Mary’s in June 2013. 

Mark welcomes applications for potential PhD supervision in the fields of philosophy of history, collective memory and contemporary British culture, politics and history.

Academic and Professional Qualifications:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • PhD University of Surrey 1995, ‘Labour Politics and the Affluent Society, 1951-64’
  • BA First Class Hons, History with English, University of Surrey 1988

Previous Experience:

  • External examiner (undergraduate and postgraduate) Plymouth University, 2005-13
  • PhD external examiner, University of London, 2010 


Research profile

Current Research Activity:

  • Completing a monograph (co-authored with Claire Norton) Liberating History: Truths, Power, Ethics, Routledge, forthcoming 2016
  • Co-director of the Centre for the Philosophy of History, St Mary’s University College
  • Co-organised a conference ‘Mad Dogs and Englishness: Popular Music and English Identities’, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, 20-21 June 2013 – plan to publish an edited volume of papers from the conference
  • Working on a proposal for Doing History: A Reader with Claire Norton
  • Organisation of a series of workshops and conference with Claire Norton on the potential ethical use of histories – applying for an AHRC Networking grant 2014 

Conference Papers:

Keynote Lecture:

  • ‘The burden of historians’: Interpretations of freedoms, solidarity, and social critique in sixties Britain, Blowing Up the Sixties: Britain in the Decade of Protest, Université François-Rabelais, Tours, November 2011 

Conference Papers:

  • Making History ‘Morally Defensible’: Truth, Power and the Siege of Nagykanisza Castle, Part 1 INTH ‘Future of Philosophy of History’ Conference, Ghent University, July 2013 
  • ‘Histories: trauma, haunting, possession’, Institute of Historical Research Philosophy of History Colloquium on ‘History and Fiction’, 16 May 2013
  • “‘Every historian who is not too stupid or too full of herself knows that what she does is morally indefensible’: making history ‘morally defensible’” with Claire Norton, Senate House, London, IHR Philosophy of History seminar series 11th October 2012‘Introducing the Sixties’ lecture for V&A Museum, Designing the Decades: The 1960s, Study Day, June 2012
  • ‘Truths, Histories and Documentaries: Peter Whitehead’s Films and the Sixties’, Royal Holloway, University of London, Staff Research Seminar paper, 7 December 2010 
  • ‘The Sixties: Fifty Years on’, Historical Association lecture, 25 November 2010
  • ‘What does it mean to “remember the Holocaust”? Changing perspectives on the Holocaust in contemporary British culture(s)’, School of Theology, Philosophy, and History Research Seminars, 2009 
  • ‘”We should do something for the fiftieth”: remembering Auschwitz, Belsen and the Holocaust in Britain in 1995’, paper delivered at conference on Britain and the Holocaust – Remembering And Representing War & Genocide: The Impact of WWII & the Holocaust on Today’s Britain, University of Leicester, May 2009
  • ‘”Remembering for the future, remembering to forget”: responses to the Holocaust in post- war British culture’, Plymouth University Public Lecture series, March 2009
  • 'Assessing to promote student learning: remodelling an assessment strategy for undergraduate historians', Paper presented with Claire Norton, HEA History Subject Centre, History in Higher Education Conference (April 2008)
  • 'The Holocaust and narratives of Britain's 'good war'', 'Post World War II / Post Holocaust Memory', University of Leicester, May 2007
  • 'Integrating subject-based research and teaching', St Mary's Staff Development series, July 2006
  • 'Write the book, teach the module: integrating historical research and teaching', HEA History Subject Centre, History in Higher Education Conference (April 2006)
  • 'Sex, Shopping and Swinging London: re-reading sixties Britain', School of Theology, Philosophy, and History Research Seminars, 2005
  • 'The British Music Press in the 1960s', Institute of Contemporary British History, Institute of Historical Research (July 2001)
  • 'The Myth of the Blitz', Birmingham University, October 2001
  • 'Hollywood and the Depression', Guildford Institute, Surrey, February 2000
  • 'Labour's return to power 1955-1964', Guildford Institute, Surrey, November 1995
  • 'Labour politics and the affluent society 1951-1964', Institute of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, June 1994 

Research Publications:


  • Liberating Histories: truths, power, ethics, (co-authored with Claire Norton), Routledge, forthcoming 2016
  • Doing History (co-authored with Claire Norton), Routledge 2011
  • Sixties Britain: Culture, Society and Politics, Longman, Pearson, 2005
  • Britain in the Second World War, Routledge, 1999

Recent peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in edited books:

  • ‘The siege, the book and the film: Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)’, in Alex Macfie (ed) The Fiction of History, Routledge 2014
  • ‘Should We Do Something for the Fiftieth?’ Remembering Auschwitz, Belsen and the Holocaust in Britain in 1995’, in Caroline Sharples and Olaf Jensen (eds) Britain and the Holocaust, Palgrave, 2013
  • The burden of historians’: Hayden White and the historiography of sixties Britain, in Molly O’Brien-Castro and Trevor Harris (eds) Blowing Up the Sixties, forthcoming, Palgrave 2014
  • ‘Wholly Communion: truths, histories and the Albert Hall Poetry Reading’, Framework, 52/1&2, 2011

Recent shorter articles:

  • Barry Miles, London Calling: A Countercultural History of London since 1945, London: Atlantic 2010, for The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 4:2, 2011
  • Patrick Finney, Remembering the Road to World War Two: International History, National Identity, Collective Memory, London: Routledge, 2011, for International Network for Theory of History, 2013
  • David Cannadine, The Undivided Past: History Beyond Our Differences, London: Allen Lane, 2013, for Patterns of Prejudice (forthcoming)
  • 'Write the book, teach the module: integrating historical research and teaching', Case study published on HEA History Subject Centre website, 2006:

Recent reviews:

  • Entry on 'rationing' for Encyclopedia of Europe 1914-2004, Charles Scribner's Sons, USA 2006
  • 'Vatican II and the "long sixties"', The Pastoral Review, vol. 1, issue 6, November / December 2006
  • 'No Christianity, No Elvis Presley', The Pastoral Review, vol. 3, issue 5, September / October 2007
  • John Welshman, Churchill’s Children: The Evacuee Experience in Wartime Britain, Oxford: OUP, 2010, for Journal of Social Policy, 40: 3, 2011
  • Callum Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation 1800-2000, 22:2 2010
  • Dominic Sandbrook, White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties, London: Little Brown, 2006, for BBC History Magazine, Sep 2006 

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