Professor James Mark

Research interests

My work has a number of strands. My D.Phil. research, based primarily on oral history, concerned the experience of Hungarian middle class under the Communist state. My current research (which was funded by an AHRC Research Leave Award and has been published as a monograph with Yale University Press) deals with how major political transformations produce new public histories through which social groups may re-imagine their own pasts. For more details, see It addresses the  re-remembering the past in seven countries of the former eastern bloc, in a wide range of settings: political debate, history commissions, Institutes of National Remembrance, museums, memorial sites, and in everyday life, using oral history to examine how individuals' very autobiographies are shaped by the pressures of a new political system. I also have an ongoing project on the memory of the second world war in Hungarian and Romanian communities in Transylvania, which was piloted as part of an ESRC one-year postdoctoral fellowship.  I have been involved in an AHRC funded project, 'Around 1968: Activism, Networks, Trajectories': a team project which has sought to tell the story of 1960s and 1970s activism from a pan-European perspective, incorporating the personal experiences - drawn from over 500 oral history interviews - of activists from the socialist bloc and southern European dictatorships alongside the 'western core'. For more details, see I am also a National Committee Member of the Oral History Society.

I am currently working on a book (with Dr. Péter Apor) on  the impact of the politics of decolonisation, peaceful co-existence, anti-imperialism, and market socialism on official and unofficial activist culture in late socialist Hungary, and an edited collection entitled 'The Limits of Transnationalism in Europe 1950s-80s' (with Dr. Maud Bracke). As part of this research, I organised a conference on ‘The Limits of Transnationalism’ in 2010.

I am currently running (with Emily Lygo in the Department of Russian) an interdisciplinary ‘Communism and Communist States Research Group’, which aspires to bring together academics and postgraduate students dealing with Communism from a range of departments. If you wish to be put on the group's mailing list, please email me:

I have worked as a specialist expert to review grant proposals for the AHRC and the ESRC.