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Chair: Dr Mark Condos, Lecturer, War Studies Department
Speaker: Dr Claire Eldridge, Associate Professor in Modern History, Leeds University
Dr Eldridge specialises in the social and cultural history of France and the French Empire. Her research explores the interplay between empire, memory and migration, particularly in the context of the historical relationship between France and Algeria, focusing extensively on the construction and transmission of memories within the pied-noir and harki communities following their mass migration to France when Algeria gained independence in 1962. Exploring memory activism within both groups as they sought to process their experiences of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962) and to deal with the legacies of this conflict, her work seeks to historicise the current ‘memory wars’ phenomenon whereby different groups in France are seen to be ‘fighting’ for control of the public representation of this contentious past.
This reflects her broader interest in how European societies negotiate competing claims on their national histories and memories in the public arena, particularly with respect to divisive and violent pasts. Her latest research explores the history and experiences of soldiers from Algeria who served in the French Army during the First World War.
After graduating with an MA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of St Andrews, Dr Eldridge went on to complete an M.Litt and an AHRC-funded PhD at the same institution. She then worked as a Lecturer in Modern History at Keele University and as a Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Southampton. She joined the University of Leeds in September 2015 before being promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.
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Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Department of War Studies by Sir Michael Howard, and provides an important opportunity to both reflect and build upon his remarkable achievements and legacy. Sir Michael Howard’s greatest contribution to the history of war was his insistence on moving beyond the battlefield in order to examine the wider political and social contexts in which wars were fought. He also wrote about the legal, moral, and philosophical implications of war, and throughout his distinguished career sought to develop new approaches to understanding the impact of war on society.
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Senior Lecturer in Imperial and Global History
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