Dr Julie Gottlieb
B.A. (McGill), M.A., Ph.D. (Cambridge)
Reader in Modern History
20th Century British Political history; Women's history; British fascism; history of race & ethnicity.
+44 (0)114 22 22606 | Jessop West 3.04
Semester Two Office Hours: Tuesdays 14:00-15:00 and Thursdays 12:00-13:00
Julie Gottlieb completed a Joint Honours BA in English and History at McGill University (Montreal) before coming to Britain where she completed an MPhil and a PhD at the University of Cambridge. After completing her studies at Cambridge she was a lecturer at the University of Manchester and at Bristol University, before starting at Sheffield in September 2003.
She was visiting Professor at the University of Paris VII-Diderot in 2011, and again in 2015, and visiting Professor at the University of Toulouse in 2016.
Julie Gottlieb's research interests are, broadly in:
Her most recent book examines women's participation and their representation in British foreign affairs between the wars; women's political activism in a range of internationalist, feminist and pacifist organizations; women’s contribution to resistance to fascism at home and abroad; and the gendering of the appeasement in the late 1930s. "Guilty Women: Gender, Foreign Policy and Appeasement in inter-war Britain" was published in 2015 and is forthcoming in paperback.
She is currently working on a number of projects concerning women's politicisation in Modern Britain; people's histories of international crises; and the emotional fallout of the Munich crisis.
She has been awarded a Wellcome Seed Award for the project "Suicide, Society and Crisis" (2017-18).
Liam Liburd - Race and Gender in the Far Right in Britain, 1930s-1960s (University of Sheffield Research Resource Scholarship)
David Page - The Rise and Demise of the New Britain Movement, 1932-1935. (completed 2016)
Lucy Brown - Men and Women in Love: Marriage, Sexuality, and Emotional Intimacy in Britain c.1955-1975. (secondary supervisor)
Sarah Kenny - Youth Culture in the North of England: A Study of Sheffield and Manchester, 1962-1985. (secondary supervisor)
Steven McKevitt - What Happened to The Future: Did we Sacrifice Lives of Leisure for a Tyranny of Consumption?.
Ross Paulger - Gendering the Sexual Revolution: The Role of the Anglo-American Quality Press, 1960-1980. (MPhil)
'"We were done the moment we gave women the vote": The Female Franchise Factor and the Munich By-elections, 1938-39', in The Aftermath of Suffrage, ed. J. Gottlieb and R. Toye (2013).
This chapter focuses on a few months in the autumn and winter of 1938-1939, the Munich Crisis and the subsequent by-elections, when the press and politicians certainly believed that pro-Chamberlain women and anti-appeasement men were on a collision course in deciding the nation’s destiny. The Munich Crisis and the history of appeasement have been largely neglected by gender historians. Likewise women, both individual figures and the female half of the polity, have been almost entirely ignored by historians of appeasement. This essay argues that women represented an important if unknown franchise factor in the Munich by-elections, while the representation and the experience of the Munich Crisis was starkly gendered. It would thus be against this backdrop of deep sex antagonism and distrust of women’s political judgement on matters of war and peace that women themselves reflected upon their own achievements two decades after they were enfranchised. It was also in this context of the perceived alienation between the sexes that the nation entered the Second World War.
'Femmes, Conservatisme et Fascisme en Grand-Bretagne: Comparisons et Convergences', in A Droite de la Droite: Droites radicals en Franceet en Grande-Bretagne au XXe siècle [translated from the English] (Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2012), ed. P. Varvaecke.
This essay addresses two central themes: the relationship between the ‘moderate’ conservative Right and the Extreme Right in the form of British Fascism; and, second, the importance of women in setting out the common ground between the two. The collaboration and collusion between these two contingents of women was highlighted by the frequent political journey travelled by so many from Conservatism to Fascism. But there was also much that separated them. By comparing and contrasting Tory and Fascist women’s attitudes towards foreign affairs, their understandings of ‘peace’ politics, and their respective positioning in the appeasement debate, the essay argues that each movement was successful at forging its own very different female political identity. Due in part to the frequency of defections from the Conservative Party to the BUF, women brought with them their experiences and expectations as formed in the Conservative Party into the fascist movement, especially concerning the appropriate the roles for women within the political organisation, effective strategies to mobilise female support, and the feminisation of central ‘conservative’ ideological tenets.
'Varieties of Feminist Anti-Fascism', in Varieties of Anti-Fascism: Britain in the Inter-war Period (2010), eds. Nigel Copsey and Andrzej Olechnowicz.
Did the responses of British women to the rise of fascism differ from those of men? Were their political responses colored and conditioned by their sex? During the 1930s, were there feminine and Feminist interpretations of fascism that contributed to the ideology and the practice of anti-fascism? The answer to all the above questions is in the affirmative, and this chapter explores and analyze the interesting diversity of women’s and Feminist understandings of what fascism represented for the progress of their own political concerns and for the peace of the world more generally. Furthermore, given women’s continued political marginality vis a vis the parliamentary system, within each party, and in the higher echelons of political journalism, women often resorted to new and more innovative genres to express their fears and their despair at the rise of fascism. Therefore next to publishing articles in newspapers and journals and producing monographs, the novel, and the dystopian novel in particular, became an important Feminist anti-fascist genre.
'Peace at any Price: the Visit of Nazi Women's Leader Gertrud Scholtz-Klink to London in March 1939 and the Response of British Women Activists', Women's History Review, Issue 2 (2016)
In early March 1939 the Nazi women's leader (Reichsfrauenfühererin) Gertrud Scholtz-Klink made a little-known visit to London at the invitation of the Women’s League of Health and Beauty and the Anglo-German Fellowship. Taking place against the background of intense efforts to maintain peace, and growing expectations of war, the visit prompted a variety of responses from British women activists. Through analysing these responses, as well as examining why this visit has been overlooked in historical writing, this article sheds new light both on women’s particular contribution to appeasement and on the gendering and feminising of internationalist activism in the aftermath of the First World War more generally. The German intentions behind accepting the invitation, the protests by a small number of London-based anti-fascist women and the reason why even some pro-appeasement women like Nancy Astor refused to meet Scholtz-Klink, are also explored.
Neville Chamberlain's Umbrella: 'Object' Lessons in the History of Appeasement, 20th Century British History (2016) 27 (3), pp. 357-388.
Neville Chamberlain's umbrella was ubiquitous during the Munich Crisis and in its aftermath, as material object, as commodity, and as political emblem that came to represent the temperament and character of the ‘Man of Peace’ who had brought relief to the world by striking a 'gentleman's peace' with Hitler on 30 September 1938. This culminated in the damning portrayal of the Prime Minister as the 'Umbrella Man' in 'Cato's' Guilty Men (1940). Throwing the spotlight on the material object of the umbrella can illuminate the popular dimension of these highly charged diplomatic events, and offer some insight into how foreign policy was lived across the social spectrum and across borders. We can chart dramatic fluctuations in both mediated and visceral public opinion in the changing symbolic uses of the umbrella, by politicians, by journalists, by cartoonists, and by consumers themselves. The study of appeasement has been stuck in certain methodological ruts, and has not hitherto taken the cultural turn, nor paid much attention to popular responses to the prelude to the People’s War. By blowing the dust off Chamberlain’s old umbrella, this article suggests an alternative perspective on the politics and culture of appeasement, evoking the sights, sounds, textures, feelings and tastes of a crisis that was played out at the level of diplomacy but also very much as a 'People’s Crisis'.
'The Women's Movement Took the Wrong Turning': British feminists, pacifism and the politics of appeasement, Women's History Review (2014).
Introduction: 'flour power' and feminism between the waves, Women's History Review (2014).
The history of foreign policy and especially the Munich Crisis of 1938–1939 have been viewed from various angles but never from the points of view of gender and feminism. This has been a significant oversight in the scholarship, especially as there were many prominent women politicians who were heavily invested in the appeasement debate, and because the majority of feminist organisations became increasingly preoccupied with foreign affairs and the specific effect of dictatorship on women. This article explores how British feminists responded to the policy and the fallout of appeasement in the late 1930s; how the British branch of the most prominent transnational feminist pacifist organisation, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) made the transition from peace, to Crisis, to war; before focusing on two intertwined biographical case studies of Kathleen Courtney and Maude Royden. There were various responses and dramatic fluctuations in positioning in the years leading to the world war, with many feminists struggling to come to terms with the intellectual, emotional and psychological shift from feminist-informed internationalism and pacifism to a rejection of appeasement and support for the war effort. Both Courtney and Royden had spent the two preceding decades in the forefront of the feminist pacifist movement, and the rise of Nazi Germany, the international crisis and then the Second World War itself forced each to resituate herself and make psychologically and ideologically wrenching decisions.
'"Broken Friendships and Vanished Loyalties": Gender, Collective (In)Security and Anti-Fascism in Britain in the 1930s', Politics, Religion and Ideology (2012). (Special issue - ‘Women, Fascism and the Far Right, 1918-2010’, ed. Julie V. Gottlieb)
The study of women’s adherence to fascist movement and regimes is now widely developed, and much has been done to rectify the reductive view that women who supported Britain’s Fascist movements suffered from false consciousness or, on the other hand, were merely the victims of fascist sexism and misogyny. But what about those women who resisted fascism, women who were both actively and temperamentally opposed to the British Union of Fascists and who dedicated even more energy to opposing Fascism and Nazism abroad? We know that the names of many political women appeared on Heinrich Himmler’s Black List for Invasion of Britain, yet there were no organisations that successfully united like-minded anti-fascist women. This article is particularly concerned with the various ways in which women organised against fascism but also how their investments in pacifism and particularly the League of Nation’s panacea of collective security acted to reign in a more concerted anti-fascism. It examines how anti-fascism was and was not reconciled with pacifism, and more specifically how women-- represented as the world’s natural peace lovers-- worked through these ideological and emotional dilemmas during the course of the 1930s.
'Body Fascism in Britain: Building the Blackshirt in the Inter-war Period', Contemporary European History (2011).
In our own time, the expression “body fascism” is commonly used in the mainstream media and in popular cultural discourse, having become part of the modern English lexicon. It tends to denote an infatuation with the body beautiful at the expense of substance, a celebration of physical fitness, muscular self-control and slavishness to style to the detriment of intellect and spiritual self-awareness. Notwithstanding the current usage and the slippage of the term, an actual cult of body fascism existed in Britain in the 1930s, an embodied fascism to which adherents dedicated themselves body and soul. This article returns to the roots of the culture of body fascism, puts some evidenciary meat on the by now distorted and deformed linguistic bones, and examines the politics of the British fascist body and the deployment of bodily metaphors in the language of the British Union of Fascists. The movement’s gender constructions and body cult needs to be seen in the context of their own time, and as significant, if politically marginal, responses to the gender disorder that accompanied political, economic and cultural crisis in the interwar years.
'The Marketing of Megalomania: Celebrity, Consumption, and the Development of Political Technology in the British Union of Fascists', Journal of Contemporary History (2006).
This article explores the ways in which inter-war British fascism marketed itself, and how it developed distinctive, and at times innovative, political technology to convey fascist propaganda and leader-lust. It examines how dictatorial power was conceived; how individual personalities– Mosley especially– left their imprint on the design of the BUF’s political technology; and how a persuasive aestheticized politics, which is typical of fascism generically, was staged in the theatre of British political life. It also shows that in all these aspects– in the fascist philosophy of political leadership, in the form and marketing of fascist political technology, and in the distinctive spectacles that the BUF mounted to attract potential recruits– the reigning leitmotif was the construction of a racialized hyper-virility. Although the BUF was strongly influenced by continental manifestations of fascism in all these respects, this article argues that the movement’s political discourse and language, its rhetorical and visual representations of Mosley’s leadership, and its trademark pomp were each a response to concurrent developments in the culture of British party politics and also in British popular culture in this period.
Public Engagement and in the Media
Julie Gottlieb has shared her research through international conferences, as well as public appearances in the wider community. She has reached regional, national, and international audiences on radio and television, including BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, The Sunday Politics, and Sky News. She has shared her work with the wide readership of the BBC History Magazine, recorded a number of podcasts, and contributed to First News to interest children in the links between the news and history. She has blogged for The Huffington Post, The Conversation, History Matters and The PSA Political Insight.
In Sheffield, she has appeared a number of times on BBC Radio Sheffield, spoken to the Time Well Spent luncheon group on "Suffrage — What Happened After the Vote was Won?", and presented at Off the Shelf. In addition, she has spoken to primary and secondary school audiences, and a range of community and faith groups.
Gottlieb was an impact case study for the Department of History REF 2014, and she continues to seek opportunities to make an impact with her current research projects.
Especially since the summer 2016, she has been in the media, commenting on and offering historical contextualisation for the fallout of the EU referendum, the feminisation of British politics and the ascendency of women in Conservative and Right-wing politics.
She has been interviewed by a number of news outlets, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Yorkshire Post, BBC Magazine and Kristeligt Dagblad. She was interviewed about 'Guilty Women' by Jakub Drábik for Historyweb.sk, and he book has been widely reviewed, including in the Times Literary Supplement, the American History Review, and TCBH.
She has organised a number of conferences that have excited public and media interest:
With Prof. Richard Toye (Exeter University), she organised an international conference on "The Aftermath of Suffrage" at the University of Sheffield, 24-25 June, 2011. Delegates included students and those from outside academia, with a total of 50 in attendance.
In June 2015, she organised a conference on "Rethinking Right-Wing Women: Gender, Women and the Conservative Party. 1880s to the Present", together with Dr Clarisse Berthezene and the Conservative Party Archive, Oxford. She created a Storify page documenting the conference and associated research before, during and after. Gottlieb also edited a series of History Matters blogs on "Rethinking Right-Wing Women".
In September 2016, she organised "The Battle of Cable Street 80 Years On: Political Movements, Memory and Meaning," and edited a special series of blogs for History Matters on the theme. This was an event open to the public, and organised in collaboration with the Sheffield Hist Soc.
She is the organiser of "Gendering Peace in Europe", IHR, University of Sheffield, 20-21 January, 2017. This is an international conference funded by the Max Batley Legacy and a Journal of Contemporary History Conference Grant.
Beginning in 2017 Julie took over as chair of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Equality and Diversity Committee, and she is a member of the Women@TUoS NETwork standing Development Committee.
Department of History Exams Officer 2016-17
She has previously been on Research Committee, the Teaching Committee and the Post-graduate Committee. In 2011 Julie chaired the Level I Teaching Sub-Committee to lead reform of our curriculum by integrating research-driven teaching at level I, and this committee designed the first version of "The History Workshop", an innovative module adopted by the Department in 2013-14.
Julie has been Level II Tutor, a student-centred role, in which she introduced new time-efficient, rationalized procedures. She has also served as Course Assignment Co-ordinator, and CILASS representative, responsible for developing CILASS workshops, and responding to student concerns.