Tim BaycroftDr Timothy Baycroft

B.A. (Mt. Allison), B.Phil. (Leuven), D.E.A. (Paris), Ph.D. (Cantab)

Senior Lecturer in Modern History

19th-20th c. France; Modern French history; nationalism


+44 (0)114 22 22568 | Jessop West 3.13

Semester Two 2017-18 Office Hours: Thursdays 10:00-11:00 and 14:00-15:00



Timothy Baycroft joined the History Department in Sheffield in 1996.

Timothy Baycroft is an executive member of the Society for the Study of French History (SSFH) and the Sheffield branch of the Historical Association, and is an active member of the Sheffield interdisciplinary Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies. He was a visiting Professor at the Centre for Border Studies, at the University of Glamorgan in the spring semester 2006.

Professional Roles

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Executive Committee member of the Society for the Study of French History

Executive member of the Sheffield branch of the Historical Association

Book Reviews Editor for the journal French History


Current Research

Timothy Baycroft Folklore book coverCurrently he is working on a project on the Lyon Commune of 1870-71, including a comparison with the Paris Commune of 1871, and contextualising it within the broader movements of the revolutionary Left in France and Europe during the 19th Century.

His research interests lie in the area of identity and nationalism in modern Europe, and modern France in particular. He has publications on commemoration and memory, border identities, colonial imagery in France and European identity. He has received grants from the AHRC and the British Academy in support of this work. He has jointly directed research projects comparing European nationalisms in the nineteenth century, in one case with a view to revising the traditional model dividing nations simply into those which are 'civic' and those are 'ethnic', and in the other to understand the relationship between nationalism and folklore. He is interested in interdisciplinary work, and has engaged in collaboration with musicians in an attempt to come to a better understanding of the relationships between political ideology and changes in music, art and literature.

Research Supervision

Dr Baycroft teaches nineteenth and twentieth-century European history at all levels. His current course offerings include a general history of France 1870-1940, final-year documents based courses on the Nazi Occupation of France during the Second World War and the Paris Commune, and postgraduate courses in the comparative cultural history of Europe in the Fin-de-Siècle period and 19th-century British Broadside Ballads. He supervises research students in several areas of modern French and European History, and would welcome enquiries from prospective students in this area.

Cherie Prosser - A Comparative Analysis of Visual Propaganda in France and Britain during the First World War.

Thomas Jackson (French) - The French Colonial mind: an Insight into the pivotal role of La Loi-cadre Defferre.

Eloise Roberts (Germanic Studies) - Myth-making and National Identity: Heine's Satires in the Context of Public Disclosure on Myths of Nation in 1840s Germany.

Annabelle Grenville-Mathers - Representations of Presidential Power during the Reconstruction Era.

Charlie Thompson - 'Imperialism in Power’: Centralization and its Discontents in America.

Selected Completed PhDs

Bernard Wilkin - Allied Propaganda in Occupied France and Belgium during the First World War.

Tim Brooks - British Propaganda to France, 1940- 1944: Machinery, Method and Message.

Wilfred Jack Rhoden - Caricatural Representations of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, 1848-1871.

Suzannah Rockett - Algeria in France: War and Defeat in Republican Culture.

Jennifer Farrar - The Persecution of Freemasonry under Vichy: A reappraisal.

Hilary Sheffield - National Identity as determined by Response to Immigration Legislation: A Comparative Study of France and Britain 1880-1914.

Lianbi Zhu - National Holidays and Minority Festivals in Canadian Nation Building.

Justin Olmstead - Acquiring America: The Diplomatic Battle for America, 1914-1917.

James Daniel - The 4th Earl of Carnarvon.

Further information on research opportunities within the department.


Full list of Publications


Folklore and Nationalism in Europe During the Long Nineteenth Century edited with David Hopkin. National Cultivation of Culture series. (Brill, 2012).

Baycroft Folklore book coverFolklore and Nationalism in Europe During the Long Nineteenth Century edited with David Hopkin. National Cultivation of Culture series. (Brill, 2012).

The growth of nations, national ideologies and the accompanying quest for the ‘authentic’ among ‘the people’ has been a subject of enquiry for many disciplines. Building upon wide-ranging scholarship, this interdisciplinary study seeks to analyse the place of folklore in the long nineteenth century throughout Europe as an important symbol in the growth and development of nations and nationalism, and in particular to see how combining perspectives from History, Literary Studies, Music and Architecture can help provide enhanced and refreshing perspectives on the complex process of nation-building. With a range of detailed case studies drawing upon archival, literary, visual and musical sources as well as material culture, it raises questions about individual countries but also about links and similarities across Europe.

France: Inventing the Nation (Arnold, 2008).

Baycroft Inventing CoverFrance: Inventing the Nation (Arnold, 2008).

This study of France examines the nation-building process of continual re-creation and re-invention over more than two hundred years. It explores the complex task of creating unity while reconciling diversity, be it regional, religious or cultural, in a nation profoundly divided since the Revolution. Divided into three sections covering the invention of French history, experience and identity, it seeks to integrate more conventional political history with an examination of nation-building from the margins and through manifold images and representations of the nation. Themes such as social conflict, civil war and revolution, identity and difference, gender, colonialism and decolonisation, religion, material and popular culture, and the devastation of war are examined in light of the evolution and continual reinvention of France.
This new study will be of interest not only to students of modern and contemporary France, but also to those who want to understand the ways in which national identities are created and evolve within modern society.

What is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 edited with Mark Hewitson. (OUP, 2006).

Baycroft Nation CoverWhat is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 edited with Mark Hewitson. (OUP, 2006).

This volume analyses and compares different forms of nationalism across a range of European countries and regions during the long nineteenth century. It aims to put detailed studies of nationalist politics and thought, which have proliferated over the last ten years or so, into a wider European context. By means of such contextualization, together with new and systematic comparisons, What is a Nation? Europe 1789-1914 reassesses the arguments put forward in the principal works on nationalism as a whole, many of which pre-date the proliferation of case studies in the 1990s and which, as a consequence, make only inadequate reference to the national histories of European states.
The study reconsiders whether the distinction between civic and ethnic identities and politics in Europe has been overstated and whether it needs to be replaced altogether by a new set of concepts or types. What is a Nation? explores the relationship between this and other typologies, relating them to complex processes of industrialization, increasing state intervention, secularization, democratization and urbanization. Debates about citizenship, political economy, liberal institutions, socialism, empire, changes in the states system, Darwinism, high and popular culture, Romanticism and Christianity all affected - and were affected by - discussion of nationhood and nationalist politics. The volume investigates the significance of such controversies and institutional changes for the history of modern nationalism, as it was defined in diverse European countries and regions during the long nineteenth century.
By placing particular nineteenth-century nationalist movements and nation-building in a broader comparative context, prominent historians of particular European states give an original and authoritative reassessment, designed to appeal to students and academic readers alike, of one of the most contentious topics of the modern period.

Culture, Identity and Nationalism: French Flanders in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries The Royal Historical Society Studies in History Series. (The Boydell Press, 2004).

Baycroft Culture CoverCulture, Identity and Nationalism: French Flanders in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries The Royal Historical Society Studies in History Series. (The Boydell Press, 2004).

This study examines the evolution of national and regional, cultural and political identities in that northern region of France which borders Belgium, over the two centuries which followed the French Revolution. During that time the region was transformed by the development of the industrial economy, population shifts, war and occupation, and numerous changes of political regime. Through an analysis of a wide range of issues, including language, regional and national political movements, educational policy, attitudes towards immigrants and the border, the press, trade unions, and the church - as well as the attitude of the French State - the author questions traditional interpretations of the process of national assimilation in France. At the same time he illustrates how the Franco-Belgian border, originally an arbitrary line through a culturally homogeneous region, became not only a significant marker for the identity of the French Flemish, but a real cultural division.

Nationalism in Europe 1789-1945 (CUP, 1998)

Baycroft Nationalism CoverNationalism in Europe 1789-1945 (CUP, 1998)

Nationalism in Europe 1789 - 1945 analyses nationalism in Europe from the French Revolution to the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of examples, Timothy Baycroft explains what characterises modern nations, what the theoretical roots of nationalism are, and what interaction there has been with other significant theories. The book also presents reasons for the overwhelming importance of nationalism in the development of modern European history. The result is a concise description of the ways in which nationalism spread through Europe and its consequences for European civilisation. Nationalism in Europe 1789 - 1945 contains a selection of primary and secondary sources.

Book Chapters

‘Images of France and the French: Political Identities in the Nineteenth Century’, in Poetry, Politics and Pictures: Culture and Identity in Europe 1840-1914. , eds. Ingrid Hanson, Wilfred Jack Rhoden and E. E. Snyder. Oxford: Peter Lang (2013), pp. 93-118. ISBN: 9783034309813.

'National Diversity, Regionalism and Decentralism in France', in Region and State in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Nation-Building, Regional Identities and Seperatism. eds. Joost Augusteijn and Eric Storm. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2012), pp. 57-68. ISBN: 9780230313941.

Journal Articles

'Nationalism, National Identity and Freemasonry', Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism 1,1 (2010), pp. 10-22.

'Border regions and identity’ with David Laven, European Review of History/Revue européenne d'Histoire 15, 3 (June 2008), pp. 255-75.

'The Versailles Settlement and Identity in French Flanders’, Diplomacy and Statecraft 16 (2005), pp 589-602.

Commemorations of the Revolution of 1848 and the Second Republic’ in, Modern & Contemporary France Vol. 6 No. 2 (1998), pp. 155-68. Reprinted in the collection 1848: The Year of Revolutions, Wilson, ed. (Ashgate, 2006) ISBN: 0754625699.


Module Leader

France 1814-1889: Nation Building and Social Transformation, HST234

France 1814-1889: Nation Building and Social Transformation, HST234

This module aims to introduce students to French History between the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the resulting bloody revolutionary uprising known as the Paris Commune of 1871 until the complete collapse of the French Republic following their crushing military defeat by Germany in the Second World War. The first defeat and the Commune brought about the fall of the Emperor Napoleon III, and ushered in a new Republic and the beginning of an era of nation building. The emphasis in the course will be on the social and political construction of the French nation during this period, and in particular the ideological struggle(s) over the nature of the French state: should it be a republic or monarchy? Along the way, other questions to be explored include the development of French attitudes towards democracy and the nation, the rivalries between republican and right-wing nationalisms and between the church and the state, antisemitism and the Dreyfus Affair, the rise of socialism, the labour movement and mass protest, French militarism and colonialism and their place within the French nation, national economic and social transformations, the domestic impact of the First World War, subsequent economic collapse, French 'fascism' and the Popular Front during the 1930s, leading finally to the reasons behind the French defeat and the fall of the Republic in 1940.

By the end of the module, students will have gained and understanding of the particular characteristics of modern French society and politics, the ways in which nations are built up and constructed, and will have developed their analytical skills through seminar discussions and written work.

Course Assignment, HST2091/2092

Course Assignment, HST2091/2092

This is an extended essay written alongside either a Document Option in semester one (HST2091), or one of your semester two Options (HST2092). You will nominate the module to which you will attach your Course Assignment in the module allocation process towards the end of Level 1. It is an opportunity to undertake detailed independent study on a topic emerging from your work at Level Two, with collaborative feedback and support both from a supervisor and from a group of students exploring similar subjects.

Dissertation (short), HST398

Dissertation (short), HST398

This module develops a student's skills in research, usually, though not exclusively, involving critical analysis of primary source materials, alongside advanced engagement with secondary literature. It requires students to demonstrate their ability in constructing a scholarly argument and sustaining discussion at greater length and at a more detailed level than in other points in the course.

Dissertation (long), HST399

Dissertation (long), HST399

The dissertation is normally linked to the special subject. It is more unusual to choose a free-standing topic, unconnected to modules being taken at level 3, but this may be possible, where supervision can be arranged within the department. The dissertation builds on study and presentational skills developed through the course assignment at level 2.

The Paris Commune, HST3107/3108

The Paris Commune, HST3107/3108

This module evaluates the origins, achievements and significance of the Paris Commune, examining its context in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, the objectives of the communard revolutionaries, the structure of the government they created, the legislation they passed, and their defeat by the French army, culminating in the `bloody week´ in May 1871. Although short-lived, the Commune became an important symbol for the French (and European) Left, and consideration will be given to the lessons drawn from it by various groups within France, and the ways in which these were expressed in art, journalism and in political writing.

The Fin-de-Siecle, HST6003

The Fin-de-Siecle, HST6003

Given the relatively recent turn of the millennium, the last few years have seen a huge wave of scholarly attention focusing on notions of the fin-de-siècle, and the end of what was then the previous century - the nineteenth century - in particular. The object of this course is to gain an understanding of the phenomenon of the fin-de-siècle in Europe, and its cultural and literary manifestations, through an analysis of a variety of sources, including novels, poetry, theatre, science and scientific writing, art, architecture, private correspondence, non-fictional prose and criticism - all dating between roughly 1880 and 1910. This interdisciplinary course will draw upon the methodologies of both History and Literature while reflecting upon these sources. This was a period of great instability in respect of norms of conduct and comprehension in respect of gender, sexuality, psychology, class, nationhood and race – responses to such concerns will feature heavily in the chosen literature. In literary terms, the period marks a period of stark transition, and the beginnings of modernism.

Research Skills for Historians, HST6801

Research Skills for Historians, HST6801

This module is designed to equip students with the generic research skills necessary for independent investigation and further study in History. Students will attend classes on libraries and archives; bibliographies and their use; ITC skills (database management, the use of web-based resources, advanced bibliographical management tools); handling and managing research data; and history and its audiences. The focus of the module will be on identifying and evaluating research materials, particularly primary source collections.

Public Engagement

Public Engagement

Timothy Baycroft has given a series of lectures and seminars in schools, sixth-form colleges, local and national history associations, as well as working with professional musicians giving lecture-concerts, and participating in panel discussions of films at the Sheffield Showroom.

In The Media

To Follow

Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Staff representative on the University Court