Dr Lucy Noakes
Scholarly biography and interests
Dr Lucy Noakes is a social and cultural historian who has worked in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Brighton since 2007. Her research focuses on the British experience and memory of total warfare in the twentieth century with a particular emphasis on gender. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was elected Honorary Secretary of the Social History Society from 2011-2014, hosting the Annual Conference of the Society at the University of Brighton in April 2012. Within the University she was a founding and current member of the Steering Committee of the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories, and is the current Director of Research Initiatives in the School of Humanities. She is Course Leader for two degrees: the BA (Hons) Humanities: War, Conflict and Modernity and the MA in Cultural History, Memory and Identity.
Noakes' 1998 monograph War and the British: Gender and National Identity, 1939-1991 continues to be cited in much current research into the social and cultural history of Second World War Britain and led to some recent research examining the memories of that war recorded on the BBC 'People's War' online archive (see Research Activity pages for details). The ways that war informs British national identity, and its place in popular memory, continue to be central to her work, leading to recent articles in BBC History magazine, work on the website Open Democracy and the organisation of two conferences in 2011: one in collaboration with the Royal Marines Museum entitled War, Silence and Memory in Modern Britain and the other at the University of Brighton entitled The Second World War: Popular Culture and Cultural Memory. This was organised in collaboration with Dr Juliette Pattinson of the University of Kent and Dr Petra Rau of the University of East Anglia and three edited collections based on the conference are published and forthcoming: Noakes L. & Pattinson, J. (eds) Keep Calm and Carry On: Britain and the Cultural Memory of the Second World War Bloomsbury: 2013; P. Rau (ed.), Long Shadows:The Second World War in British Literature and Film. 1943 to the Present Northwestern University Press: 2013; and a special edition of the Journal of War and Culture Studies (Vol. 7, No 3, August 2014), 'Incarceration in the Second World War', edited with Juliette Pattinson and Wendy Ugolini (University of Edinburgh).Noakes, Pattinson and Ugolini co-authored an introductory essay 'Incarcerated Masculinities: Male POWs and the Second World War' for this volume, pp179-90. In April 2014 she was an invited speaker in the LSE/Churchill Archive Cambridge Annual Churchill Debate: 'Churchill as a Political icon'.
Her ongoing interest in war and gender informed her next major piece of work, examining the relationship between gender and the military in 20th century Britain, published as a series of articles and book chapters, and as the monograph Women in the British Army: War and the Gentle Sex 1907-1948 (London: 2006). This piece of research took her to Australia in 2006 where, supported by a British Academy Grant, she worked at Macquarie University, Sydney, tracing the history of ex-Servicewomen migrants from Britain following the First World War. She has recently published two pieces of research in connection with this project: 'From War Service to Domestic Service', in Twentieth Century British History (22: 1, 2011) and 'Our Excess Girls' for BBC History Magazine. In connection with this research she was an invited participant in the AHRC 'Tailored Trades' research network, giving a paper at Exeter University on 'Eve in Khaki' at the fourth workshop. In 2013 she gave the Keynote address at the Women's History Network Regional Conference, University of Worcester, on women in the post-war British army, published in the Autumn 2014 (no 76) issue of the Women's History Magazine.
Noakes is currently working on three distinct but inter-related research projects. The first is a study of death, grief and mourning in Second World War Britain, the final outcome of which will be a monograph published by Manchester University Press. The research sits at the interface between political and institutional history, as it critically analyses the development of public policy surrounding the management of civilian and military death in wartime, cultural memory, in its consideration of rituals of remembrance and commemoration and emotional history, in its investigation of the experience and articulation of grief in mid 20th century Britain. This research has been presented at conferences and research seminars in Britain, the United States, Canada and Italy, and in September 2013 she gave the keynote talk on 'Gender, Grief and Mourning in Wartime' to the 'Lessons of War' conference at the University of Lancaster. A recent output from this research is her article in The Journal of War and Culture Studies (8/1, 2015, pp72-85), 'Gender, Grief and Bereavement in Second World War Britain', She was awarded a British Academy conference grant, with Claudia Siebrecht and Claire Langhammer, both of the University of Sussex, to hold a two day conference at the British Academy in the summer of 2014 entitled War: An Emotional History. In October 2014 she delivered a public lecture and graduate workshop on this research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA in the George L. Mosse 'War and Intimacy' series of talks being convened by the Institute for Research in the Humanities.
The second is an examination of civil defence in Twentieth Century Britain. An article, 'Serve to Save', drawing on this research was published in the Journal of Contemporary History (47: 4, 2012) and a co-authored chapter with Susan R. Grayzel which explores the relationship between gender, citizenship and civil defence since the First World War can be found in A. Carden-Coyne (ed.) Gender and Conflict (Palgrave: 2012). Noakes and Grayzel are recipients of an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Collaborative Fellowship Award 2014-2016 for this work, the final outcome of which will be a jointly authored monograph which traces the shifting relationship between gender, civil defence and citizenship in Britain during the 20th century.
Her final research project is shaped by the centenary of the Great War. She is Co-Investigator in the AHRC Connected Communities 'Gateways to the First World War Centre, based at the University of Kent. As part of this project, she has given numerous lectures and talks at museums, schools, universities and other public institutions on the centenary of the Great War, and is working closely with Heritage Lottery funded community history projects. Part of Noakes' research on the centenary of the war is an international collaborative project examining the memory of the Battle of Fromelles (1916) across Australia, Britain and France, which she is working on with Professor Annette Becker (Paris X) and Professor Bruce Scates (Monash) as part of a wider project funded by the Australian Research Council examining the Australian memory of the First World War. As part of this project, Noakes was an invited participant in the colloqium 'Landscapes of War, Commemoration Strategies and Heritage Management' held at the Academia Belgica, Rome, in 2012. In 2014 she commissioned a Mass Observation Directive which canvassed responses and reactions to centenary commemoration, and she has been invited to present her initial findings on this material at two international conferences in the autumn of 2015. She has spoken widely on issues of war commemoration and the social history of warfare in Britain at a range of institutions and events including, in 2014, Woolwich Arsenal, the Royal United Services Institute, London and the British Embassy, Helsinki, Finland.
She is currently supervising five PhD students working on histories of war, memory, commemoration and gender and welcomes informal enquiries from potential students wanting to undertake research in these or related fields.