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David Cowan

David Cowan

Research Fellow, Emmanuel College


My PhD, 'The Politics of the Past in Britain, c. 1939-1990', examined popular memories of the inter-war years in Britain and their political implications. An article based on this research won the 2017 Duncan Tanner Prize and has been published in Twentieth Century British History. I submitted my PhD in September 2019 and passed my viva in January 2020.

I am now a Research Fellow in History at Emmanuel College, where I am beginning work on a cultural history of the rich in modern Britain. 

I completed an MPhil in Modern British History (also at the University of Cambridge), and wrote a dissertation on parenting and individualism in post-war England. An article based on this research is out in Social History

Departments and Institutes

Emmanuel College:

Research Interests

The social, cultural, and political history of twentieth-century Britain. Class, selfhood, and popular politics.


Part I papers 6 (British political history, since 1880) and 11 (British economic and social history, since c. 1880). 

Part II dissertations.

Other Professional Activities

I am on the steering committee of the History of Radicalism series, which meets termly in Cambridge. Please do get in touch if you're interested in contributing a paper. 


  • Economic, Social History
  • Modern British History

Key Publications

'The "Progress of a Slogan": Youth, Culture, and the Shaping of Everyday Political Languages in Late 1940s Britain', Twentieth Century British History, 29, 3 (2018)

'"Modern" parenting and the uses of childcare advice in post-war England', Social History, 43, 3 (2018)