Professor Clare Griffiths

Professor of Modern History

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

I studied for my BA in Modern History at Merton College, Oxford, and stayed on there for my doctoral studies, supervised by Ross McKibbin. I taught at the University of Reading and spent four years as the Pat Thompson Junior Research Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford, before moving to the Department of History at the University of Sheffield as Lecturer, and later Senior Lecturer.

In 2016 I took up my current post as Chair in Modern History at Cardiff University.

Area of research:

  • Twentieth-century British political and cultural history
  • Main areas of expertise: history of the British Left; the Labour party, organisation and policy; political culture c.1918-1950; rural and agricultural history; land use and land policy; cultural history of the home front during the Second World War; inter-war literature and publishing; commemoration and politicised histories; Englishness and depictions of place; landscape and visual art.

Professional roles and memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Member of AHRC Peer Review College
  • EC member, Agricultural History Society, 2016-
  • EC member, British Agricultural History Society, 2011-

Work as academic referee

  • Member of Wallace Award prize committee, Agricultural History Society, 2017-; member of Fite Prize committee, Agricultural History Society, 2006-9
  • Member of Thirsk Prize committee, British Agricultural History Society, 2017-
  • Editorial board, Journal of Contemporary British History, 2014-; Agricultural History, 2011-16
  • Referee for academic journals including History, Historical Journal, Agricultural History, Agricultural History Review, Contemporary British History, Cultural and Social History, Labour History, Journal of Victorian Culture, Twentieth Century British History, Reinvention, Social Science History, Urban History, Contemporary European History and The Space Between.
  • Reader for publishers including Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Manchester University Press, Routledge, and Palgrave
  • Reviewer of grant applications for Arts and Humanities Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Leverhulme Trust; Wolfson Foundation, and Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen (Research Foundation Flanders).

External examining

  • 2016-               External examiner for Modern History MA and European History MA, King’s College, London
  • 2008-12           External examiner for Modern History MA, Durham University
  • 2008-12           External examiner for Modern History MA, University of Leeds

Administrative roles at Cardiff

  • History subject lead for Cardiff University on South West and Wales AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, 2016-
  • Incoming Director of Postgraduate Research, School of History, Archaeology and Religion (from September 2017)

Main teaching areas:

  • 19th and 20th century British political, social and cultural history; modern historiography; home front and reconstruction policy during the Second World War; literature and the arts, especially c1900-c1960; 19th and 20th century rural history; national identities; history and commemoration; historical fiction; historical writing.

I offer a second-year module on ‘Urban Visions, Rural Dreams: city and country in Britain and the United States, 1850-2000’, and a third-year module on ‘The Arts in War and Peace: culture and politics in Britain, c.1930-1960’. I also contribute to the first-year modules History in Practice, and The Making of the Modern World, and supervise independent research projects on modern history topics for the second-year module Exploring Historical Debate, and the third-year Dissertation.

My teaching at MA level has included modules on preparation for doctoral study, the rural idyll in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the historical novel, as well as running a Historical Writers’ Workshop – a practical module exploring approaches to writing about the past for different audiences.

Research supervision:

I welcome enquiries about doctoral research in any of these areas, and particularly: the history of the Labour party and trade unionism in the 20th century; rural politics and policy; agricultural history and the history of food; landscape and identity; the history of the modern countryside; social, cultural and political history of Britain during the Second World War; reading, writing and publishing c.1900-1960; 20th century visual culture and art history.

Research funding and visiting scholarships:

  • Visiting scholarship, Yale Center for British Art, ‘Transatlantic impressions: Clare Leighton and the practice of wood engraving in Britain and the United States, c.1920-1970’, April 2016
  • Visiting fellowship, Huntington Library, ‘Wood engraving, landscape and modernity: medium and image in twentieth-century American printmaking’, awarded 2015-16
  • Paul Mellon research support grant, 10-2014-G4/11, ‘Clare Leighton: a life engraved’, 2014-15
  • Co-I on ‘The social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic engagement’, ESRC/AHRC Connected Communities programme, 2013-17 – project working with The Hepworth, Wakefield
  • Sir John Higgs Fellowship, Museum of English Rural Life, 2008-9, ‘Heroes of the Reconstruction? Images of British farmers in war and peace’
  • AHRC Research Leave Award, February – June 2008
  • Visiting scholarship, St John’s College, Oxford, 2007
  • Steering committee for AHRC-funded network ‘Landscape and environment in interwar England: an interdisciplinary approach’, 2006-8