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Susan Bishop

University of Leicester

Thesis title:

Mixed Race Relationships in Post-war Leicester: multiculturalism and the emotional complexities of female agency

Current working title: How Dare She? Using inter-cultural romantic relationships in later twentieth century Leicester to investigate female agency and the origins of multiculturalism

The thesis examines the experiences of heterosexual women who formed long-term inter-cultural romantic relationships in Leicester some time between the late 1950s and 1991. It examines whether the women’s romantic choices might take them beyond what was socially and culturally appropriate and whether the women were aware of this. The study uncovers how and where couples met, how their relationships developed and how they used personal and public space. It outlines where women found support for the relationships, and the strategies they employed to mitigate familial, social and political animosity. The project also considers how romantic mixing across national and ethnic boundaries has contributed to the evolution of cultural identities in the British city. The thesis is placed at the intersection of, and extends, British twentieth century histories of post-colonialism, race and immigration and female socialisation. It builds onto the existing History of Emotions, with specific lines of enquiry around love, and daughter/parent feelings of shame, guilt and anger.

Research Area

Publications

Upcoming 2020 - Book Review of Brown Babies by Lucy Bland for Local Population Studies

Winter 2018 - Book review of Mixing It by Wendy Webster for the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

July 2018, British Library's 'Sound and Vision' Blog, 'Dangerous Oral Histories: Risks, Responsibilities and Rewards'







Conferences

2020 - 'Uncovering Daily Lives through Oral Histories: Romance and Racism in later twentieth century Leicester'. Online presentations to the New History Lab at University of Leicester and as part of the research relay at the Midlands Four Cities 2020 Digital Research Festival

2019 - 'Should I love him, or should I love him not?' The emotional turmoil of inter-cultural dating' at the second biennial conference, entitled 'Emotions in Conflict', of the Society for the History of Emotions (SHE)

2019 - 'Oral History and the emotional socialisation of young women in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century' as part of the Research Relay at the Midlands Four Cities 2019 Research Festival

2019 – Invited to present, 'Redefining the Domestic Politics of British 'Blackness'? 'Mixed' Black Caribbean and white British romantic relationships in postwar Leicester', at the What's Happening in Black British History? conference organised by the University of Leicester in partnership with Institute of Commonwealth Studies

2019 – ''Inner city' space: a useful lens through which to study the history of inter-ethnic romance?' at the Community, Culture, Crisis: The Inner City in Post-war Britain conference, at the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester, and the University of Leicester, History, Politics and International Relations' Third Annual Postgraduate Researchers' Conference

2019 – 'Oral History and the emotional socialisation of young women in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century, as part of the Research Relay at The Midlands Four Cities 2019 Research Festival

2018 - 'Emotional Danger: Risk and Reward in a Study of mixed relationships in Leicester between 1960 and 1985' at the Dangerous Oral Histories: Risk, Responsibilities and Rewards Conference of the Oral History Society (OHS) and the Oral History Network of Ireland (OHNI)

2018 - Examining toleration of inter-ethnic romance in post-imperial Britain, 1960-1985' at the Birkbeck History Research Students' Forum conference, 'Testing Toleration in Britain's Imperial and Post-imperial World'

2018 - 'How might emotions inform an evaluation of historical change in attitudes to romantic mixing in post-war Leicester, 1948-1985?' as part of the Research Relay at The Midlands Three Cities 2018 Research Festival

2018 - Member of the four-person committee that organised the University of Leicester's School of History, Politics and International Relations Postgraduate Researchers' second Annual Conference

2017 - 'Get Up, Stand Up….'? Women in mixed Black Caribbean and White British relationships in Leicester between 1948 and 1979, at the University of Leicester's History, Politics and International Relations Department's 2017 Postgraduate Researchers Conference 


Public Engagement & Impact

2018/2019 - Media promotion of project and collection of oral histories collected from 21 women who had long-term, heterosexual inter-cultural romantic relationships in Leicester at some time between the late 1950s and 1991

2018/2019 – Leicester Universities Volunteer Coordinator for RAF Stories, a collaborative project with RAF museum collecting memories of 100 years of the RAF

2016/2017 - Media promotion of projects and collection of oral histories collected from 12 women who had experiences of long-term Black Caribbean and white British romantic relationships in Leicester between 1960 and 1985 and 16 people with memories of German Prisoners of War who were held in camps across Leicestershire between 1944-1948

2016/17 - Initial public engagement and archival research to scope feasibility of project looking at local public opposition to the construction of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Generating Station in Nottinghamshire during the early 1960s (employed by Unitemps)

2015 - Managed team of volunteers to produce a podcast telling a history of Shady Lane Arboretum, part of the History of Leicester's Parks project (employed by Unitemps)


Memberships

Member of The Oral History Society

Member of The Social History Society

Member of The Society for the History of Emotions