Biography

I joined Keele in September 2012, having previously taught at the University of Gloucestershire, and the University of Manchester. My research training was also at Manchester, from where I gained my MA in 2007 and PhD, on turn-of-the-century cultures of mountain leisure in England and Germany, in 2011. Much of my work revolves around the interaction between people and their environments in the modern era, with a particular focus on outdoors leisure as a generator of place, the use and appropriation of space for recreational purposes, the intersection of my work with bottom-up heritage and community projects, and embodied environmentalism. My first book, Cities, Mountains and Being Modern in fin-de-siècle England and Germany was published in 2020 by Palgrave Macmillan.
 
In 2018, I was a 'New Generation Thinker', taking part in a scheme run jointly by the BBC and AHRC to recruit public humanities speakers for the future. Since then, I have made a series of national broadcasts on radio 3, and hope to do many more.

Research and scholarship

My research is broadly focussed on the relationships between people and the environments of which they are a part, and I am particularly interested in how the ways that people interact with the world around them influences their ideologies, beliefs or political positions, with a particular focus on the European twentieth century. I welcome PhD students in any cognate areas.
 
1. Histories of leisure, tourism, landscape change and rural/urban interaction. 
This was the topic of my PhD and monograph, Cities, Mountains and Being Modern in fin-de-siècle England and Germany, which argued that urban citizens took part in the many different forms of outdoors leisure that came to prominence in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth Century Europe in order to be modern. The contests, and different definitions of what being modern might entail amongst the many women and men involved form the backbone of the book, with specific, and innovative attention paid to the role of local people, socialist, working class mountaineers, the spaces of the city, and the politics of the mountains. I am currently working on additional projects regarding the history of trespass and off-road cycling. 
 
2. Twentieth-century Carbon Culture and Twenty-first century heritage.
I am currently PI on two interrelated projects, funded by the AHRC through the NERC's 'Changing Landscapes' programme: 'Decommissioning the Twentieth Century' and 'Planning Creativity'. Together, these projects seek to transform the process through which large-scale industrial facilities become large-scale heritage sites. This is timely, as one result of the UKs zero-carbon targets, most of our most iconic industrial landmarks - cooling towers, chimneys, oil refineries etc - will cease production. Though derided as an eyesore when they were first built, many of these structures are now cherished by local residents and visitors alike as important features of their nearby landscape, and evoke deep feelings of pride and attachment. Our projects seek means to capture these meanings and present them in a way accessible to planning modellers and decommissioning experts, as well as neighbourhood planners, so that they can inform processes of decommissioning even before they begin. 
As a part of the project, we are developing an innovative 'mash-up' of crowd-sourced digital heritage and 3D modelling: watch this space!
 
3. Commons management and landscape appropriation.
I have led (or been closely involved in) a growing chain of workshops, events and other activities related to my work on landscape appropriation and its application to local communities in Stoke on Trent, often with a co-creative or co-productive ethos. This has included the SEAMS project, the Feral Futures project with Feral State, Brownfield Land and Social Justice with Urban Wilderness CIC, and Claybody Theatre's Dirty Laundry: Airing the Issues. In addition, I am interested in models of commons-style management as applied to history, and in how we might exploit new digital technology to help us ask new questions of the past. 
 
4. Late-twentieth century embodied environmentalism.
I'm developing research on how people's experiences of 'nature' and the environment contributed to new understandings of existential threat in the late-twentieth century. More specifically, I am developing projects into the history of Ultraviolet light and relationships between topics such as sunburn, skin cancer, medicine and the Montreal agreement.
 

Teaching

In general, I teach on all aspects of Modern European Teaching. Modules vary, but I have taught:

  • HIS10034 - Histories of the Extraordinary and Everyday
  • HIS10029 – Modern History.
  • HIS20067 – Sources and Debates.
  • HIS20075 – Right-Wing Movements in Interwar Europe.
  • HIS20078 – Power in the Modern World.
  • HIS20091 - Natural Cultures: Humans and their Environments Since c. 1700.
  • HIS30103 – Dissertation for History.
  • HIS30118 – Urban Lives in Modern Europe, 1890-1914.
  • HIS30119 – Urban Lives in Modern Europe, 1918-1939.

I also teach modules and seminars at MA and MRes levels.

 

 

Recipient of the 'Sport in History Article Prize 2014' for Partnership or Co-operation? (see below).

Recipient of the 'European Society for Environmental History Article Prize 2013' for The Construction of an Alpine Landscape (see below).

Book: Modern Natures: Mountain Leisure and Urban Culture in fin-de-siècle England and Germany (Palgrave MacMillan, Forthcoming 2017).

Ben Anderson, Cities, Mountains and Being Modern in fin-de-siècle England and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

 

Selected Publications

  • Anderson B. 2016. Alpine Agency: Locals, Mountaineers and Tourism in the Eastern Alps, c. 1860-1914. Rural History: economy, society, culture, vol. 27(1), 61-78. doi> link> full text>
  • Anderson B. 2014. Book Review: The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment by P.H.Hansen. doi>
  • Anderson B. 2013. Partnership or Co-operation? Family, Politics and Strenuousness in the pre-First World War Co-operative Holidays Association. Sport in History, vol. 33(3), 260-281. doi>
  • Anderson B. 2012. The construction of an alpine landscape: building, representing and affecting the Eastern Alps, c. 1885-1914. Journal of Cultural Geography, vol. 29(2), 155-183. doi>
  • Anderson B. 2011. A liberal countryside? The Manchester Ramblers' Federation and the "social readjustment" of urban citizens, 1929-1936. Urban History, vol. 38(1), 84-102. doi>

Full Publications List show

Journal Articles

  • Anderson B. 2016. Alpine Agency: Locals, Mountaineers and Tourism in the Eastern Alps, c. 1860-1914. Rural History: economy, society, culture, vol. 27(1), 61-78. doi> link> full text>
  • Anderson B. 2013. Partnership or Co-operation? Family, Politics and Strenuousness in the pre-First World War Co-operative Holidays Association. Sport in History, vol. 33(3), 260-281. doi>
  • Anderson B. 2012. The construction of an alpine landscape: building, representing and affecting the Eastern Alps, c. 1885-1914. Journal of Cultural Geography, vol. 29(2), 155-183. doi>
  • Anderson B. 2011. A liberal countryside? The Manchester Ramblers' Federation and the "social readjustment" of urban citizens, 1929-1936. Urban History, vol. 38(1), 84-102. doi>

Other

  • Anderson B. 2014. Book Review: The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment by P.H.Hansen. doi>