Beth Bhargava


Department of History

Research student


Thesis title: Teaching British imperial history to children in English secondary schools, 1945-1990




Thesis abstract:

2020 was a year of mass reckoning with the national past and its reflections in the built environment. The backlash against the National Trust’s ‘Interim Report’ on its properties’ colonial ties ranged between denial of the imperial legacy, and expressions of English and/or British national pride in the empire. These circumstances present an urgent need to revisit the National Trust as a key site for the formation and contestation of national identities. This project will explore both the Trust’s own imagining of the nation, and popular perceptions of its connection to ‘Englishness’. It will employ both written and oral sources, placing the Trust’s internal, organisational history in dialogue with lived experiences of heritage. I anticipate encountering contradictions between English and British conceptualisations of national identity, as well as between local, transnational, and national identities.

  • PhD History, University of Sheffield, 2021- present
  • MA Historical Research, University of Sheffield, 2021
  • BA (Hons) History, University of Cambridge, 2017
  • PhD scholarship: AHRC White Rose College of Arts and Humanities
  • Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship 2020-2021
  • James Essay Prize, King’s College, Cambridge
Professional activities
  • December 2019 – February 2020: Research Assistant at the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, working on the ‘Access and Participation Plan: Participatory Action Research Project’
Publications and Conferences
  • Beth Bhargava, ‘Racism Should Have No Place in Publishing, But it Does’, Bad Form, 10 August 2021 (
  • Beth Bhargava, ‘“British Values”: The Colonial Crimes Education Forgets’, Bad Form 3 (2020).
  • Beth Bhargava, ‘Are we Running out of Time? Climate Crisis in Young Adult Fiction’, Bad Form 2 (2020).