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Photo of Dr Timothy Cooper

Dr Timothy Cooper

Senior Lecturer

01326 253760

01326 253760

I am a social historian of modern Britain with particular interests in the relationship between people and nature. My research explores themes of environmental change and environmental disaster understood from everyday persepctives. Methodologically this work is inspired by 'history from below' and life narrative approaches. Everyday environmentalisms can be challenging to uncover, but reveal popular resistance towards the imposition of bureacratised, rationalised natures, and skepticism towards environmentalist ideology. As such, 'everyday environmentalisms' were a third force contesting the shaping of the natural world in modernity. Properly understanding the character of these everyday environmental concerns is critical to effectively responding to the existential crises of the twenty-first century.


Research interests

I am currently working on a number of projects that overlap in rather messy but productive ways. My core intellectual project is an alternative environmental history of modern Britain based on life narrative approaches. To this end I 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 topics like:the Sea Empress oil spill; animal care in twentieth-century Britain; the relationship between popular literature and everyday ideas about the environment; and, most recenly, the dangers of the post-industrial landscape in modern Cornwall. All are united by a consistent interest in the social legacy of environmental change and popular encounters with the environment.

Below is a list of selected recent conference paper which give some sense of how my work is developing:

For more information see:



Research collaborations

Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities

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)
  • Matt Blewett (2018-) Cornwall and Democracy
  • Lena Ferriday (SWWDTP, 2020-) Embodied Experience and Landscape in South West England