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Same-sex desire and National Service – OUTing the Past

10 January 2018 by Kay

two men in army uniform, sat together on a bed

National Servicemen in the Army: R D Clarke, a national service recruit cleaning his boots at the Royal Army Ordnance Depot at Blackdown, Aldershot. © Imperial War Museum

Our second blog post in the run up to our exciting OUTing the Past: The 4th National Festival of LGBT History conference, here at the Museum of Liverpool, 3 February, is from Dr Emma Vickers.

Emma, who is senior lecturer in History at Liverpool John Moores University, will be examining the relationship between same-sex desire and National Service in post-war Britain.

She tells us more –

“My paper will explore attitudes towards same-sex desire in the context of the indiscriminate recruitment of young men and a dwindling supply of regular personnel. It will also consider the wider significance of the discussions that officials were engaged in for what they tell us about post-war Britain and understandings of same-sex desire”.

The full programme for the day can be seen here.

Emma is a senior lecturer in History at Liverpool John Moores University. Prior to this, she was a senior teaching fellow at Lancaster University and a lecturer in History at the University of Reading. Her first monograph, Queen and Country: Same Sex Desire in the British Armed Forces, 1939-1945 (MUP 2013) explores the intersection between same-sex desire and service in the British Armed Forces during the Second World War. Emma has published articles in the Lesbian Studies Journal (2009) and Feminist Review (2010). Her most recent work (with Corinna Peniston-Bird) is Lessons of War (Palgrave, 2017) which takes up the invitation offered by the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War to evaluate how gender history contributes, nuances and challenges existing understandings of the Second World War. She is also working on outputs arising from Dry Your Eyes Princess, a project which uses oral testimony to uncover the experiences of trans* personnel in the British Armed Forces before 2000. Following an award from the Arts Council, Emma worked with the photographer Stephen King on a series of photographs of her interviewees which were exhibited as part of Homotopia in Liverpool and Outburst in Belfast. Finally, she is also part of the AHRC network, Passions of War, a researcher on the European Union funded project ‘Gender citizenship and sexual rights in Europe’ and a member of the Oral History Society LGBTQ special interest group.

Dr Emma VickersEmma has worked with the BBC and collaborated with various museums and external organisations including the Ministry of Defence, Reading Museum and the Historical Association. She is an academic advisor for the National Festival of LGBT History, a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and volunteers for Diversity Role Models. In 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Vice Chancellor’s award for social and economic engagement.

Emma convenes 6022HIST, Queer Britain and contributes to various modules across the undergraduate curriculum. She also teaches on the MRes in History and supervises MRes dissertations and PhD students. She is interested in supervising students interested in any aspect of gender and war, oral testimony and LGBTQ history.

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