Gregory Billam

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Billamg@edgehill.ac.uk

My PhD investigates the construction of an alternative national culture in the Communist Party of Great Britain in the post-war period. It seeks to analyse the legacy of the ‘Popular Front’ policy – adopted by Communist Parties in the mid-1930s – and how it was then re-appraised, reworked, and remembered in the later ‘national roads to socialism’ era. Of particular interest is how the CP alongside other English-speaking Dominion Parties, including the Communist Party of Canada and Communist Party of Australia adapted to this post-war period of “acclimatised internationalism” with the ever-increasing impact of the Cold War. The research will seek to gauge the Party’s understanding of history – as a cultural artefact and political device – and how it evolved over time, as the influence of the Historians’ Group and the Party’s cultural work began to impact their day-to-day understanding of social progress. To achieve these research aims, the project utilises various archival collections, particularly those located in the CPs own archive. Moreover, the numerous journals, pamphlets, and other material published by the Parties at the time will be crucial in gauging how the Parties constructed and transmitted the legacy of the Popular Front in a period of “individual roads” to socialism.

Alongside my project work, I have published two articles for the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) on the class dimension of the coronavirus pandemic and have presented a research paper at the Central European University’s Undergraduate Conference, Faith and Power, in 2016. During the second year of my PhD, I will be hoping to develop my teaching experience further with the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCTHE).

Research Interests:

  • British Communism
  • Social, cultural and political history of the Left in Britain.
  • National Identity and memory

Qualifications:

  • MA by Research History, University of Huddersfield – For Country, For Class: Nationalism, Empire and Identity in the Communist Party of Great Britain: 1935-1945.
  • BA Honours, History and Politics – University of Huddersfield.
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