My name is Alix Green and I’m Lecturer in History at the University of Essex. I came into academe after a decade in policy and government relations work, finally as Head of Policy in the Vice-Chancellor’s office at the University of Hertfordshire. This blog is a way of bringing together the different aspects of my work and exploring the interfaces and intersections between history, policy, education and public life (and many others besides).
I’ve become particularly interested in how academics understand the ‘public purpose’ of their work and the notion of public scholarship, which challenges perceived divides between pure/applied or rigour/relevance. Historical theory, methododology and historiography have been important areas of enquiry for me, as well as public history and analogue fields such as public sociology and anthropology. In fact, I enjoy roaming widely in the literature, from political science to management studies, philosophy, geography and even a bit of astrophysics recently!
Policy and government have been a focus for me. How can historians ‘think with history’ in the corridors of power? is the prompt for my book, is now out with Palgrave: History, Policy and Public Purpose: Historians and Historical Thinking in Government, but I’m now starting to work on other settings for historianship with a collaborative project on pay at the John Lewis Partnership.
My interests in historical thinking means that I’m always looking for ways to develop students’ sense of the distinctive resources they have as historians and the ways in which they can contribute to contemporary life – public policy being just one of many settings in which they can do so.
I have also been concerned with access to political rights and how the claims to these are presented. Building on my earlier studies, Jewish history is my primary focus here, particularly the Jewish press in Europe and the connections between scholarship, journalism, emancipation and religious reform. Jewish museums and the presentation of the Jewish past to different audiences is a new interest, which has emerged from my engagement with public history. I’m hoping to have some time to turn to this side of my work in the near future.
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