Photo of Dr Timothy Cooper

Dr Timothy Cooper

Head of Humanities Penryn, Senior Lecturer

01326 253760

01326 253760

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.

Research interests

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.

See also:


Recent Presentations:

Research Funding:

  • 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

Research supervision

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.

Research students

  • Annabel Banks, Poetry and the Archive (completed 2016)
  • Richard Harris, Civil Society in Cornwall (completed 2016)