Dr Laura King
- Position: Associate Professor
- Areas of expertise: The history of families, emotional relationships, gender, the life cycle and everyday life in twentieth-century Britain; public history and collaborative methodologies in research.
- Email: L.King@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 9626
- Location: 4.31b Parkinson Building
- Website: Twitter
Having completed a BA in Modern History and Politics and MA in Twentieth-Century History at the University of Sheffield, I started a PhD entitled 'Fatherhood and Masculinity in Britain, c.1918-1960'. This was supported by an AHRC Doctoral Award, and awarded in 2011. Following this, I took up a position as Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, where I ran a public engagement project, 'Hiding in the Pub to Cutting the Cord? Fatherhood and Childbirth in Britain from the 1950s to the Present'.
I moved to Leeds in 2012, to take up a position as Arts Engaged Fellow (2012-15), reflecting my growing interest in collaboration with partners and audiences beyond the campus. In September 2015, I took up the position of University Academic Fellow in the History of Health, Family and the Everyday, and in May 2017 became Associate Professor in Modern British History. I'm a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a member of the Social History Society, Women's History Network and Oral History Society. I am also Deputy Director of History & Policy.
My research focuses on the social and cultural history of everyday family life, emotional relationships, health and gender in modern Britain.
Family Men: Fatherhood and Masculinity in Britain, c.1914-1960 (Oxford University Press, 2015)
The book has been reviewed widely, including by Dr Helen McCarthy on Reviews in History.
'Gendered Perspectives on Men's Changing Familial Roles in Postwar England, c.1950-1990', Gender and History 30:1 (2018), pp.70-92 (co-authored with Angela Davis)
'Ties That Bind: Materiality, Identity, and the Life Course in the "Things" Families Keep', Journal of Family History 43:2 (2018), pp.157-176 (co-authored with Liz Gloyn, Vicky Crewe and Anna Woodham)
‘Hiding in the Pub to Cutting the Cord? Men’s presence at childbirth in Britain c.1940s-2000s’, Social History of Medicine 30:2 (2017), pp.389-407
'Experiencing the Digital World: The Cultural Value of Digital Engagement with Heritage', Heritage and Society 9 (2016), pp.76-101 (co-authored with Paul Cooke and James Stark)
'Future Citizens: Cultural and Political Conceptions of Children in Britain, 1930s-1950s', Twentieth Century British History 27:3 (2016), pp.389-411
‘Engaging People in Making History: impact, public engagement and the world beyond the campus’, History Workshop Journal 80:1 (2015), pp.218-233 (co-written with Gary Rivett)
'The Perfect Man: Fatherhood, masculinity and romance in popular culture in mid-twentieth-century Britain', in A. Harris and T. Jones (eds), Love and Romance in Britain, 1918-1970 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp.41-60
‘‘Now you see a great many men pushing their pram proudly’: Family-orientated masculinity represented and experienced in mid-twentieth-century Britain’, Cultural and Social History 10:4 (November 2013), pp.599-617
‘Hidden Fathers? The Significance of Fatherhood in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain’, Contemporary British History 26:1 (March 2012), pp.25-46
I've written book reviews for Twentieth Century British History, English Historical Review, Women's History Review, Journal of British Studies, Journal of Family History, and the IHR's Reviews in History. I've also written an introduction to a published play, Babakas, Our Fathers, and I've written articles for History & Policy, Wellcome History magazine, Dadzclub, Cambridge Adjunct magazine, and Warwick Knowledge Centre. My research has also been featured in the BBC History Magazine, the BBC website, The Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mail, Who Do You Think You Are magazine, Yorkshire Post, Times of India, and The Practising Midwife, amongst others.
Collaboration and Enagement
Throughout my academic career, I have sought to work in collaboration with partners and publics outside higher education. Through my current project, Living with Dying, I am working with a number of different partners to consider how the history of death, dying and the dead might be used today.
I have been involved with and run a number of other projects, including:
- collaboration with the Thackray Medical Museum to co-produce with local parents an online exhibition about the history of childbirth;
- co-founder and co-director of the History & Policy Forum on Parenting;
- 'We are what we keep' series of public activities exploring family archives, as part of the 2015 Being Human festival;
- collaboration with West Yorkshire Probation Services to examine the impact of becoming a father on male service users, and produce resources;
- collaboration with heritage organisations to analyse how the digital influences the value of users' engagement with history and heritage;
- working with the Tetley and a number of volunteers to explore the history of the Brewery in the First World War;
- a partnership with Babakas, a theatre company, in production of their theatre piece, Our Fathers;
- collaborating with Nine Arches Press and a number of fathers to publish a collection of poetry.
I'm always looking for new ways to collaborate with different partners and members of the public - please do get in touch if you think we could work together.
In recent years, I have been involved in the following research projects which are now completed:
- Agents of Future Promise: the ideological use of children in culture and politics (Britain and France, c.1880-c.1950)
- Fatherhood in Britain (1914-1960)
- The Family Archive: Exploring Family Identities, Memories and Stories Through Curated Personal Possessions
- Using digital tools in heritage
- Living with Dying: Everyday Cultures of Dying within Family Life in Britain, c.1900-50
- Men, Masculinity and Maternity in Britain, from the 1950s to the Present
I am able to supervise PhD students focusing on the social and cultural history of twentieth-century Britain, particularly those with interests in gender, family, health and the life course. I welcome all enquiries - please do get in touch.
Eleanor Murray : Learning Parenthood: Family, Schooling and Childhood, 1930-1980
Charlotte Tomlinson : A Million Forgotten Women: Propaganda and the Women’s Voluntary Services in Britain during the Second World War
Lauren Wells: Meanings and Representations of male to female cross-dressing in Britain, c.1870 to 1945
Judy Cox: Representations of women in Chartism: glorious auxiliaries or independent activists?
Miriam White: Rudies and Rastafari: Investigating the significance of reggae and ska in Britain (1975-1981)
Research groups and institutes
- Health, Medicine and Society
- Medical Humanities Research Group