Dr Timothy Cooper
Head of Humanities Penryn, Senior Lecturer
I am a social historian of modern Britain. My research explores the changing relationship between society, nature and the environment in twentieth-century Britain, and the expression of this relationship in culture and politics. I use a range of methodological approaches to these issues, including the use of oral history. Much of my work tries to blend empirical historical practice and social theory.
My current research is grappling with the problem of how the environment relates to everyday life. My previous research has studied urban change and popular politics in nineteenth-century London, and the historical political ecology of waste as both a material and an ideological issue in modernity.
I am presently Head of the Discipline of Humanites at the Penryn Campus.
I am presently researching the social histories of nature and the environment in modern Britain. I am particularly interested in the interractions between the experience of everyday life and discourse of environmental concern. My most recent work has used oral history to explore the relationship between environmental consciousness and popular memories of the Torrey Canyon oil disaster.
I have also worked on the historical political ecology of waste, and the entanglement of technology, ideology and everyday life in the historical development of ideas of environmental risk.
- 'Time, Memory and Environmental Activism', University of Paris-Sorbonne, 2017
- 'The Oral History of the Torrey Canyon Disaster', University of Valencia, 2016
- 'Popular Scepticism of Science in Modern Britain', Technology, Environment and Modern Britain, UCL, 2016
- 'An Oral History of the Torrey Canyon Disaster', Historical Association, Plymouth University, 2016
- 'Narrating Catastrophe: Oral and Fictional Histories of the Torrey Canyon Oil Disaster', Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, University of Cambridge, 2015
- 'Boffins and Bureaucrats: Contested Environmental Knowledge in the Torrey Canyon Disaster', Oral History Society Annual Conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2015
- 'Capitalism and the Antinomies of Everyday Environmentalism: The Case of the Torrey Canyon', Capitalism and the Environment, University of Chicago, Paris, 2015
- 'The Contradictions of Victorian Sustainability', BAVS Annual Conference, University of Kent, 2014
- 'Wasting, Urban Rhythym and Everyday Environmentalism in Modern Britain', The Urbanisation of Nature, TU University, Darmstadt, 2014
- 2010-2011, 'Refuse Tipping, Exposure and Risk in Twentieth-century Britain, 1919-1939', Wellcome Trust
- 2012, 'Expertise and Environmental Justice: Technological Change and the Politics of Waste Disposal in Twentieth Century Britain', British Society for the History of Science
- 2011-2013, 'Catastrophe, Community and Environment: The Impact of the Torrey Canyon Oil Disaster on Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly', British Academy
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)