Dr Timothy Cooper
I am a social and environmental historian of modern Britain. My main research interests focus on the intersection of society and nature and the ways in which people in everyday life actively produce, represent, embody and contest the thing we have come to call the 'environment'. Much of my work has explored themes of environmental change and environmental disaster in everyday contexts, and is inspired by history-from-below, micro-history, and life-narrative approaches, including using oral histories.
I am currently working on a number of projects that overlap in rather messy but, hopefully, productively intersecting ways.
My core research involves thinking about the environmental history of modern Britain as told 'from below'. This research has a number of different strands to it. So, I am presently completing an oral history of the Torrey Canyon oil spill of 1967. I am also writing pieces that have emerged unexpectedly from this work on related topics such as the Sea Empress oil spill; animal care; the relationship between popular literature and environmentalism; and, most recenly, the post-industrial environment in modern Cornwall. All this work is united by a consistent interest in the social context and legacy of environmental change in everyday life under industial and post-industrial capitalism.
Recent Conference Papers
- 'Fear of Falling: Navigating Cornwall's Post-extractivist Landscape', Literary and Visual Landscapes Symposium, University of Bristol, 2021
I am always keen to discuss possible PhD or Master by Research supervisions across the broad field of modern social, cultural and environmental history. I have supervised students on topics ranging from creative writing and the archive to sociological studies of modern Cornish identity.
As a diverse group of scholars in literary and historical studies, the Department of Humanities at the Penryn Campus offers an outstanding interdisciplinary environment for postgraduate students in the humanities.
- Annabel Banks, Poetry and the Archive (completed 2016)
- Richard Harris, Civil Society in Cornwall (completed 2016)
- Matt Blewett (2018-) Cornwall and Democracy
- Lena Ferriday (SWWDTP, 2020-) Embodied Experience and Landscape in South West England
- Blog commentary on Big Ideas Change the World for Friends of the Earth, Make Tomorrow's World, Today, 2014
- Article for New Left Project, Historical Storytelling and the Present, 2013
- Article for The Conversation website, In Defence of Litter, 2013
- Short contribution on environmental policy and problems of everyday life, FOE Policy Review Submission, 2013
- Blog of the uses of history by the New Home Front Project for History and Policy, A New Home Front, 2011
- BBC History coverage of my critique of the New Home Front Project, Wartime Spirit, 2011
- Interview and report on the history of landfill with The Independent newspaper, Landfill, 2010
- History and Policy Select Committee Memorandum on the evolution and politics of modern techniques of refuse disposal, Waste Strategy for England, 2007