Syeda Ali

PhD candidate in Modern British History
Syeda Ali

Syeda is a mature student who started her PhD after a career in secondary history education, predominantly working in inner city state schools in London, but also internationally. Syeda is strongly committed to promoting diversity within the history curriculum, and championing equality and diversity more broadly in schools. She completed her MA in Queer History at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she first developed an interest in the use of oral history.

Her work is funded jointly by the Cambridge Trust (Vice Chancellor's Scholarship) and Wolfson College.

Syeda is interested in the intersections between education policy and school practice in 1980s Britain, with a particular focus on the regulation of gender and sexuality. She is using oral history interviews with teachers to assess the impact of Section 28 in schools from 1988 - 2003, and within a wider cultural and social context.

Syeda's dissertation will use the findings from new oral history interviews which she is undertaking, in order to investigate similarities and differences in the impact of Section 28 in two major English cities: Birmingham and London.

Syeda has a strong interest in public history and has worked on a number of media projects, including archive research for a recently released documentary film produced by Dr Melanie Chait. She is a regular speaker to school groups, and has been involved in Widening Participation work, giving a talk recently to incoming Peterhouse students.

Syeda is currently a co-convenor of the Cambridge Cultural History Workshop. Cultural History Workshop | Faculty of History University of Cambridge

2022, Michaelmas Term - University of Cambridge.  POL13, The Politics of Europe, (British Politics since 1945).

2022 - Berkeley Summer Sessions, London: British History and Culture.

2022 – University of Cambridge Cultural History Workshop: ‘Haringey’s Sexual Politics in the 1980s’.

2022 – June EUI, Florence, Queer Pedagogies Conference. Presentation ‘Hard Left Education Authorities and Extremist Teachers: Resisting Section 28 From Within’.

2022 – Collaboration with University of Reading Education Department, presentation, ‘Gender and comprehensive education’ to be used in schools for OCR GCSE History.

2021 – Podcast - History Workshop Online, Queer Activisms series – Queer Education.

2021 – ‘Inalienable Right to be gay’. Podcast, Unhetsplained.

2019 ‘1980s Queer History’ for National Theatre Education, to accompany the play Hansard.

Syeda also maintains an active interest in school and public history and gives regular talks on aspects of queer history at UK schools and sixth form colleges. She recently worked with the producer Jesse Lawson on an episode of her podcast series FOMO 'Unfiltered lessons on British History', for young people.

Key publications