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Archaeology and History

Photo of Dr Timothy Cooper

Dr Timothy Cooper

Senior Lecturer

01326 253760

01326 253760


I am a historian of modern Britain. I teach and research the connections between social and environmental history. I have a particular interest in charting the differences between working-class and subaltern concerns about nature in everyday life and elite discourses of 'ecology' and the 'environment' that have come to dominate contemporary institutions of government and education. My work makes use of oral narratives, autobiography, and social survey life-writing, to reconstruct counter-histories of the uses and understandings of nature as viewed 'from-below'.

Short pieces and upcoming talks at Humanities Commons and my blog.

Electronic surveillance at

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My scholarship explores the environmental history of modern Britain as lived experience. I am particularly interested in popular and non-elite understandings of nature and environmental change, how these instersect with social history, and how they may diverge from the dominant elite forms of ecologism and environmentalism. I have written about both the Torrey Canyon and Sea Empress oil spills. For an example of some of this work, see: 'A conversation with Abigail Sidebotham on the Sea Empress Oil Spill of 1996'. I also have worked with poet Ella Frears on a University of Exeter Arts and Culture Creative Fellowship exploring creative interventions in environmental history.

I am also very interested in the political ecology of modern Cornwall. The intertwining of place and lived experience is critical in understanding the power of personal stories in providing a more inclusive environmental history of modern Britain.  An example of some of this work can be seen in my conference presentation:'Fear of Falling: Navigating Cornwall's Post-extractivist Landscape', Literary and Visual Landscapes Symposium, University of Bristol, 2021.

Research collaborations

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I am happy to receive PhD proposals that deal with social and environmental history of modern Britain and/or the use of testimony sources.

Research students

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 |



  • Kresen Kernow. (2022) Wrecks and Rescues.
  • Sidebotham A, Cooper T. (2022) 'A conversation with Abigail Sidebotham on the Sea Empress Oil Spill of 1996'.
  • Cooper T. (2022) Extreme weather and everyday life in late 20th century Britain: the Great Storm of 1987, European Society for Environmental History, Bristol, 4th - 8th Jul 2022. [PDF]
  • Cooper T, Green A. (2022) Fragmentary Time: Memory and Politics in the Wake of the Torrey Canyon, Oral History and the Environment: Global Perspectives on Climate, Connection, and Catastrophe, Oxford University Press, 53-71, DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190684969.003.0004.


  • Cooper T. (2021) 'Fear of Falling: Navigating Cornwall's Post-extractive Landscape', Literary and Visual Landscapes Symposium, Bristol, 9th - 10th Jun 2021. [PDF]






  • Cooper T. (2013) 'The 'litter nuisance' in twentieth-century Britain', Aesthetic Fatigue: Modernity and the Language of Waste, Cambridge Scholars Press, 123-146. [PDF]







  • Cooper T. (2007) 'Politics and place in the working-class suburb, Walthamstow 1870-1900', Urban Life and Politics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Regional Perspectives, Cambridge Scholars Press, 160-172. [PDF]


  • Cooper T. (2006) 'Rags, bones and recycling bins', History Today, volume 56, no. 2, pages 17-18.


  • Cooper T. (2005) 'London-over-the-border: politics in suburban Walthamstow, 1870-1914', London Politics, 1760-1914, Palgrave Macmillan, 211-232. [PDF]

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External impact and engagement

Contribution to discipline

I am a member of the Exeter Marine Steering Committee

I am co-convenor of the Social History Society's Annual Conference Strand on Heritage, Environments,  Spaces and Places.  You can find more details of the strand and how to submit to the call for papers here:

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I teach modern British history mostly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During the 2022-3 Academic Year I taught on the Globalisation programme at the Venice International University for a Semester where I offered the following courses:

Modules taught

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