People

Professor Michael Roper

Professor
Department of Sociology
Professor Michael Roper
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873045

  • Location

    5A.317, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Tuesday 1-2 or by email appointment

Profile

Biography

Michael graduated with a BA Hons in History at Melbourne University, and an MA in History at Monash University, before coming to the UK on a Commonwealth Scholarship in 1985 to begin a PhD. Essex opened up many new vistas. His first book, Masculinity and the British Organization Man since 1945 (Oxford, 1994) was informed by his supervisor Paul Thompsons work on life stories, memory and generational change, while Leonore Davidoff sparked an interest in the historical study of masculinity which bore early fruit in an edited collection with John Tosh, Manful Assertions. Masculinities in Britain since 1800 (Routledge, 1991). From the late 1990s his interests increasingly moved from gender to the study of psychoanalysis, biography and personal testimony, resulting in a series of methodological articles in History Workshop Journal, Social History and other journals on the historical study of subjectivity and emotions. These interests have coalesced in a series of recent projects exploring aspects of family life and the First World War. His 2009 book, The Secret Battle. Emotional Survival in the Great War (Manchester) drew on letters, diaries and memoirs to investigate psychological aspects of the conflict in the relationships between young British civilian soldiers and their mothers. Since 2009 his interest centred on the longer-term emotional legacies of the First World War. A project, funded by a British Academy small grant, is investigating the wars impact on concepts and experiences of childhood in Britain between the wars. He is also undertaking a personal history of the aftermath, looking across the twentieth century and three generations of family life in Australia. Essex is part of the AHRC/HLF First World War Engagement Centre'Everyday Lives in War. Experience and Memory of the First World War', and during 2015 and 2016 his colleague Rachel Duffett and Michael will be involved in community events related to personal experiences and legacies of the conflict.

Qualifications

  • BA hons. (Melbourne)

  • MA (Monash)

  • PhD (Essex)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Subjectivity

Psychonalysis

Twentieth century history of war

Family relationships

Transmission of trauma across generations

The history of psychoanalysis in Britain

History of subjectivity

Current research

The Generation Between: growing up in the aftermath of war, Britain 1918-1939.

This research investigates the emotional impact of the First World War on children born in Britain in the 1920s. This was a generation which had no direct experience of the conflict, but whose parents carried its traces in their minds and on their bodies. The project focuses on three aspects of the wars legacy in relation to children. Firstly, oral history interviews with the children of First World War soldiers, now aged in their late 80s and 90s was undertaken. Secondly, investigations in how experts in child psychology, psychoanalysis and child guidance perceived the wars effects on children. Thirdly, Rachel Duffett is investigating the wars legacy in interwar childrens culture, particularly through toys. Our objective is to reconstruct, through family life, expert opinion and childrens culture, the various ways in which the First World War inhabited the lives of the successor generation. The project has received funding from the British Academy and is linked to the AHRC/HLF First World War Engagement Centre at the University of Hertfordshire, 'Everyday Lives in War. Experience and Memory of the First World War' . A video lecture on the research, 'Growing up in the aftermath: Childhood and family relationships between the wars', is available from the British Psychological Society

Conferences and presentations

'Children, Veterans and Domesticity in Britain after the Great War, Annual History of Emotions Lecture, Queen Mary College, November 2014

2014

'Growing up in the aftermath: Childhood and family relationships between the wars', British Psychological Society conference 'Stories of War, 'November 2014

2014

Subjectivities in the aftermath, Monash University, Australia, September 2014

2014

Roundtable, 'War. An Emotional History' conference,British Academy, July 2014

2014

'Child Psychology in Britain between the Wars', Georg Eckert Institute, Braunschweig, January 2014

2014

Keynote lecture, Commemorating the Disabled Soldier, Ypres/University of Leuven, November 2013

2013

The psychological legacy of World War I for children, Emotions and Violence in 20th Century Europe, Max Planck Institute, Berlin, June 2013

2013

The Unconscious Work of Social History, Keynote address, Making sense of past emotions: a seminar on the History of Emotions, University of Copenhagen, May 2012

2012

Wilfred Bion and the Nameless dread of trench warfare, Public Lecture, British Psychoanalytical Society, Applied Section, November 2011

2011

Subjectivities in the aftermath: the generation between in Britain, 1920-45, Keynote address, Aftershock: post-traumatic cultures since the First World War, University of Copenhagen, May 2013

1920

'The Nervous Child and theShell-shocked Soldier: child psychology in the aftermath ofwar, Britain 1920-35',Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism conference, September 2012

1920

Teaching and supervision

  • War and Trauma in the Modern Age (SC387)

Publications

Journal articles (20)

Roper, M. and Duffett, R., (2018). Family Legacies in the Centenary. Motives for First World War Commemoration among British and German Descendants. History and Memory. 30 (1), 76-115

Duffett, R. and Roper, M., (2018). Making Histories. The Meeting of German and British Descendants of First World War Veterans in ‘‘No Man’s Land,’’ Bavaria, 2016. The Public Historian. 40 (1), 13-33

Roper, M., (2018). The Bush, the Suburbs and the Long Great War. A Family Memoir. History Workshop Journal. 85

Roper, M., (2017). Private Lives, Public History. Australian Historical Studies. 48 (2), 310-311

Roper, M., (2016). From the Shell-shocked Soldier to the Nervous Child: Psychoanalysis in the Aftermath of the First World War. Psychoanalysis and History. 18 (1), 39-69

Roper, M., (2015). Remembering Leonore Davidoff: Subjectivity in Thicker than Water. History Workshop Journal. 80 (1), 329-334

Roper, M., (2014). The Unconscious Work of History. Cultural and Social History. 11 (2), 169-193

Roper, M., (2014). Discourses Surrounding British Widows of the First World War. WAR IN HISTORY. 21 (3), 382-384

Roper, M., (2012). The Letters The ‘Spear Head of an Advance’: Bion's Wartime Letters to Rickman. Psychoanalysis and History. 14 (1), 95-109

ROPER, M., (2011). NOSTALGIA AS AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE GREAT WAR. The Historical Journal. 54 (02), 421-451

Roper, M., (2011). Nostalgia as an emotional experience in the Great War. The Historical Journal. 54 (02), 421-451

Roper, M., (2010). The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force, 1939-1945. The English Historical Review. CXXV (514), 778-780

Roper, M., (2007). Between the Psyche and the Social: Masculinity, Subjectivity and the First World War Veteran. Men's Studies Press. 15 (3), 251-270

Roper, M., (2005). Slipping Out of View: Subjectivity and Emotion in Gender History. History Workshop Journal. 59 (1), 57-72

Roper, M., (2005). Between Manliness and Masculinity: The “War Generation” and the Psychology of Fear in Britain, 1914–1950. The Journal of British Studies. 44 (02), 343-362

Roper, M., (2005). History on the couch. Essays in history and psychoanalysis.. AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES. 37 (125), 154-156

Roper, M., (2003). Analysing the analysed: transference and counter-transference in the oral history encounter. The Journal of the Oral History Society. 31 (2), 20-32

Roper, M., (2001). Splitting in unsent letters: Writing as a social practice and a psychological activity. Social History. 26 (3), 318-339

Roper, M., (2001). Masculinity and the Biographical Meanings of Management Theory: Lyndall Urwick and the Making of Scientific Management in Inter-war Britain. Gender, Work and Organization. 8 (2), 182-204

Roper, M., (2000). Re-remembering the soldier hero: The psychic and social construction of memory in personal narratives of the great war. History Workshop Journal. 50 (1), 181-204

Books (4)

Roper, M., (2010). The Secret Battle: Emotional survival in the great war. Mancherster University Press. 9780719083860

Ashplant, TG., Dawson, G. and Roper, M., (2004). Commemorating War: The Politics of Memory. Transaction Publishers. 9780765808158

Roper, M., (1994). Masculinity and the British Organization Man Since 1945. Oxford University Press (OUP)

Roper, M. and Tosh, J., (1991). Manful Assertions. Masculinities in Britain since 1800. Routledge

Book chapters (4)

Roper, M., (2016). Subjectivities in the aftermath: Children of disabled soldiers in Britain after the great war. In: Psychological Trauma and the Legacies of the First World War. 165- 191. 9783319334769

Roper, M., (2013). Psychoanalysis and the making of history. In: The SAGE Handbook of Historical Theory. 311- 325. 9781446247563

Roper, M., (2012). Beyond Containing: the First World War and the Psychoanalytic Theories of Wilfred Bion. In: History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past. Editors: Alexander, S. and Taylor, B., . Palgrave Macmillan. 9780230113367

Roper, M., (2004). Maternal relations: moral manliness and emotional survival in letters home during the First World War. In: Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History. Editors: Dudink, S., Hagermann, K. and Tosh, J., . Manchester University Press. 295- 315

Grants and funding

2017

Everday Lives in War: First World War engagement Centre

Arts And Humanities Research Council

2016

Meeting in No Man's Land: German and British Elders Exchange Family History from the First World War

Arts And Humanities Research Council

Children, play, and the legacies of the Great War in Britain

Leverhulme Trust

2013

Central and Eastern England Regional Centre for Exploring the First World War

Arts And Humanities Research Council

2012

The Generation Between: growing up in the aftermath of war, Britain 1918-1939

The British Academy

Contact

mrop@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 873045

Location:

5A.317, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Tuesday 1-2 or by email appointment