Dr George Severs

Former PhD student, supervisor
George Severs

I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at Birkbeck, University of London on the SHaME project. Between 2017-2021 I was a PhD student researching a history of HIV/AIDS activism in England c. 1982-1997. My work recovered the history of radical AIDS activists, such as the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in England, as well as exploring the ways in which the broader AIDS movement functioned. In doing so I examined its intersections with the women's health, student and workers' right movements in late twentieth-century England. These case studies produced a history of broad and diverse 'communities' engaged in HIV/AIDS activism, and told a new history of political responses to the virus. I am currently in the process of turning my dissertation into a book. Before this, I studied for an MPhil in Modern British History with a thesis exploring the Church of England's responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I have continued to explore the religious history of HIV/AIDS in my doctoral work, and in 2019-20 I was a Holstein Doctoral Fellow in Queer and Trans Studies in Religion in the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. My previous work examined the British National Party (BNP)'s opposition to gay men (c. 1982-1999) by employing a sociological analysis of the party's 'homohysteria' to more accurately identify the party's anti-gay attitudes. I am an active oral historian, serving as Secretary to the Oral History Society's LGBTQ special interest group (or 'SIG'), and as a Public History Editor on the Editorial Board of Oral History.

Post-war British history Religious history Queer/LGBTQ history Oral History Radical history/histories of activism The history of the emotions British fascism

University of Cambridge: Part 1, paper 11; Historical Argument and Practice: gender (and sexuality); memory. Anglia Ruskin University: 'Protest and Activism'; 'Inequality and Class'.


Tags & Themes


Selwyn College

Grange Road




Key publications

'Review: HIV Survivors in Sydney: Memories of the Epidemic. By Cheryl Ware', Oral History Review, (online, 2020).

'Reticence and the queer past', Oral History, Vol. 48, No. 1 (2020), pp. 45-56.

Editor with Amy Tooth Murphy, Emma Vickers and Christine Wall, Oral History: LGBTQ+ Lives: History, Identity and Belonging, Vol. 48, No. 1 (2020).

'The 'obnoxious mobilised minority': homophobia and homohysteria in the British National Party, c. 1982-1999', Gender and Education, Vol. 29, No. 2 (2017), pp. 165-181, reprinted in in Nigel Copsey and Matt Worley (eds.) ‘Tomorrow Belongs to Us’: The British Far Right since 1967 (London: Routledge, 2018), and in Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Hilary Pilkington (eds.) Gender and the Radical and Extreme Right (London: Routledge, 2018).